Will Smith's 'Emancipation' receives mixed reviews so far | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ receives mixed reviews so far

/ 08:47 AM December 02, 2022

Apple TV+’s 2022 slavery drama “Emancipation,” actor Will Smith’s first film since his famous slap of comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, has received mixed early reviews from film critics.

The movie has scored a 59% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 14 out of 24 reviewers applauding the film as of Thursday afternoon.

The movie, directed by Antoine Fuqua, is based on the true 1863 story of a former slave named Gordon, called Peter, in the film, and the photographs taken of his battered back that depicts the brutalities of American chattel slavery. It is scheduled to arrive in theaters on Dec. 9.

Will Smith's 'Emancipation' receives mixed reviews so far

Ben Foster and Laura Prepon attend a premiere for the film “Emancipation” in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The first batch of reviews has earned “Emancipation” the rotten label, as many reviewers voice their disappointment in the historical action film’s execution.

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“Emancipation devolves into a confused jumble of messages,” Lovia Gyarke from The Hollywood Reporter wrote.

Several critics, however, applauded Smith’s performance as the lead. Johnny Oleksinski from the New York Post praised Smith’s “rich emotionality and laser-focused intensity.”

Will Smith's 'Emancipation' receives mixed reviews so far

Will Smith gestures as he attends a premiere for the film “Emancipation” in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Smith had already completed filming of “Emancipation” when he walked onto the Academy Awards stage in March and slapped Rock for making a joke about the hairstyle of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The “King Richard” star, who won the best actor shortly after the assault, was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, but he remains eligible for nominations and awards.

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During the Los Angeles film premiere on Wednesday, Reuters asked Smith how it felt to be back in public at a Hollywood event. “So far, so good,” he said.

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