Sight and Sound - 03/01/1994
"...SHORT CUTS is a logical triumph, certainly; a masterpiece of orchestration....Comic touches...biting irony and delight in observation..."
Variety - 09/13/1993
"...Robert Altman has made his most complex and full-bodied human comedy since NASHVILLE in SHORT CUTS..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1993
"...SHORT CUTS splices together a world of gummed-up connections, of lives overlapping in an awesome plaid of chance encounters and terrible accidents..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/22/1993
"...Altman is fascinated by the accidental nature of life....He likes the messiness and coincidence of real life, where you can do your best, and some days it's just not good enough..."
Empire - 02/01/2008 5 stars out of 5 -- "SHORT CUTS paints a lonely picture of modern Los Angeles, capturing the idiosyncrasies of human behavior amid the uncertainty of everyday existence."
Uncut - 03/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "An A-grade cast offer some of their best work ever: Jack Lemmon gives one of his most affecting late performances..."
Total Film - 01/01/2011 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] tragicomic ensemble epic."
Using the short stories of Raymond Carver as a jumping-off point, American maverick director Robert Altman weaves a tapestry of interlocking tales set against the seedy backdrop of contemporary middle-class Los Angeles. Tracking the various stages of denial, rage, and despair in the lives of several couples--a philandering cop and his masochistic spouse (Tim Robbins and Madeline Stowe); a helicopter pilot who gets revenge on his ex by trashing her house (Peter Gallagher and Frances McDormand); a man and woman whose perfect life falls apart when they lose their son in a hit-and-run accident (Bruce Davison and Andie MacDowell); a pool cleaner who listens in mounting frustration to his wife performing phone sex each day while tending her brood of children (Chris Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh); a wealthy couple who are haunted by an incident from the past (Matthew Modine and Julianne Moore); an aging jazz singer and her suicidal daughter (Annie Ross and Lori Singer); an alcoholic limo driver and his waitress wife (Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin)--Altman reveals their common threads of family dysfunction and marital discord in the unforgiving glare of the Southern California sunlight. The result is a sweeping motion picture that also stands as an important sociological artifact of late 20th century Los Angeles life.
Description by Image Entertainment:
The visions of two great American artists merge in Short Cuts, maverick director Robert Altman's kaleidoscopic adaptation of Raymond Carver's short stories. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the lives of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh--all giving fearless performances in one of Altman's most compassionate creations. Now available from Criterion at a specially reduced price.
Character Study |
Essential Cinema |
Short Stories |
SHORT CUTS was inspired by the voice and some of the characters in the short stories written by Raymond Carver. Altman even began referring to the film as "Carver Soup."
SHORT CUTS was the opening film at the 31st New York Film Festival October 1, 1993.
The film was the co-winner along with Krzysztof Kieslowski's BLUE of the Golden Lion Award at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, and it also won a Golden Globe for Special Achievement for its ensemble's performances.
SHORT CUTS won three Independent Spirit Awards at the Independent Feature Project (IFP); Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
The film also screened at the Virginia Festival of American Film, Friday, October 29, 1993.