Da_Bill’s review published on Letterboxd:
I could blame it on the fact that I've read too many extremely positive reviews.
I could blame it on the fact that I thought Gosling would have a lot more screen time.
Ultimately though, I have to say this film is just too long and meandering.
The opening and the first third are very strong. Gosling is excellent as always and Mendes really impressed me. The story is emotionally powerful, highly gripping and well structured.
Then Cooper arrives and it all goes horribly wrong.
But it isn't his fault. In fact, Cooper also does a really nice job throughout the rest of the film and it's nice to see him tackle something a little deeper than being hungover.
My problem is that the whole central section feels unnecessary, predictable and dull. It's a story that we've seen a dozen times before, it adds nothing to the overall narrative and serves only to illustrate how Cooper's career progresses.
Maybe I missed something but that whole section could have been cut and I really don't think it would make much difference.
The final third suffered from the admittedly excellent performance of Emory Cohen - This kid is such an annoying little shit that within 30 seconds of him opening his mouth I just wanted to beat the crap out of him. That's why I think it's such an excellent performance - It really affected me.
Unfortunately, it also meant that every time he was on screen I felt angry and uncomfortable and that is why this gets 4 stars, because although it didn't do it for me, I can't deny that it is a very well filmed and acted movie - it just suffers from structural issues.