Critic Reviews



Based on 45 critic reviews provided by
This movie’s strength lies in its gentleness just as its wisdom lies in its willingness to get extravagantly silly. Richard Linklater is one of the best directors going, and Last Flag Flying shows his talents in the full flower of their maturity.
Above all, Last Flag Flying illustrates a fascinating link between Ashby and Linklater, two filmmakers from different eras who both explore American society’s capacity to alienate the same people contributing to its identity. That gloomy proposition finds a fresh tone in Linklater’s hands, where angry, disillusioned people still manage to find room to laugh.
Slant Magazine
Last Flag Flying is colored by how time reshapes our sense of self, embracing some memories while occluding others, and the film ingeniously folds the viewer into a similar state of reflection and uncertainty about previous eras of false optimism about national values.
In its deeply affecting final moments, where Linklater beautifully folds the movie’s threads and themes, Last Flag Flying coalesces into a poignant portrait of honor, the bonds of brotherhood and coming to terms with mortality.
It’s in the uncertainties and dissonances of Last Flag Flying that Linklater’s humanism really expresses itself. Three men of vastly different values and temperaments come alive in the shared understanding that their losses were for nothing. And that shared understanding is something.
When playing into Linklater’s significant strengths as a director of actors, the film is able to entertain and evoke sincere feelings from its audience.
There are plenty of truths to be found in Last Flag Flying, and a great deal of sincerity as well. But regrettably, there is not much in the way of understatement.
Despite poignant moments, particularly in the performances of Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, the weave of somber introspection, rueful reminiscence, irreverent comedy and sociopolitical commentary feels effortful, placing the movie among the less memorable entries in Linklater's canon.
The central reason that Last Flag Flying fails to take wing is that its characters don’t ring true. Not really. You never feel, in your bones, that you’re watching battle-scarred veterans.
We don’t fully buy into the connection between these men and as a result, we care little about what happens to them. Nothing here feels lived in or real, it’s mere construct.

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