Sep 03
2019

After yesterday’s world-premiere of “The Laundromat” at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, most outlets have posted their review on the film. The critics consensus is embracing, but not exactly masterful. While many have enjoyed its dark comedic style for such a bleak issue, most of the critics seem to agree that “The Laundromat” is well suited for Netflix and not an Oscar-frontrunner. A selection of reviews can be found below:

Variety, Owen Gleiberman (September 01, 2019)
Steven Soderbergh’s drama about the Panama Papers is ‘Traffic’ lite – an exposé of the global financial elite that’s at once wonkish and prankish. The funny thing is, Soderbergh has staged “The Laundromat” as if it were the dramatic equivalent of a series of shell companies. We think, at first, that Ellen is going to emerge, in her schlub-in-a-windbreaker way, as some unlikely Erin Brockovich heroine; but no, that’s not what happens. Each of the tales Soderbergh tells is a kind of deflection, an illustration of hanky-panky that isn’t, in itself, very significant but that fits into a larger mosaic of corruption and deceit.

The Guardian, Xan Brooks (September 01, 2019)
Steven Soderbergh’s wickedly entertaining romp loosely based on the uncovering of the Panama Papers is an effective mixed wash of truth and fiction. The film’s prize asset, though, is Meryl Streep, playing the role of Ellen Martin, an elderly widow on the trail of her late husband’s insurer. Ellen chases the paper trail from one shell company to the next, determined to hold someone to account, until she finally finds an address for the corporation’s head office. This turns out to be a safety deposit box on the seafront out in Nevis. “Now is the time for action,” vows Ellen, which is all well and good. But viewers hoping for a Hollywood happy ending or even a clear-cut resolution won’t find it here.

The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy (September 01, 2019)
Despite the filmmaker’s obvious smarts and oft-proven skills, there’s a kind of off-putting effrontery about Soderbergh’s approach here that rather sours the whole experience. The tone is brittle, the attitude arch, the performances by a savvy and diverse cast uneven. As is her wont and all-but-inevitable way, Streep keeps things interesting as a woman whose last big chapter in life turns on two spins of a dime from blissful retirement with her mate to confounding victimhood to determined truth-and-justice seeker, albeit one without the usual puffed-up Hollywood sanctimoniousness. Tonally unsteady as the film may be, it still seeks justice in the same way the director’s Erin Brockovich did two decades ago, with a woman leading a lonely fight against shady, obfuscating tricksters.

IndieWire, Eric Kohn (September 01, 2019)
Streep’s complex screen presence is such a natural fit for Soderbergh’s tonal high-wire acts it’s a wonder it took this long for the pair to work together. This is the sort of deadpan performance Streep can do better than anyone — fierce and innocent at the same time, angry with the system and dwarfed by its many moving parts. “The Laundromat” finally gives up all of its artifice and hands the mic to Streep, as she turns the words of the Panama Papers whistleblower known only as John Doe into a galvanizing monologue about the nature of democracy. In her capable hands, the moralizing cuts deep. “The Laundromat” may be blunt, and the humor hit-or-miss – but it swings wildly at a worthy target, and eventually hits its mark.

Time Out, Phil de Semlyen (September 01, 2019)
Put simply, ‘The Laundromat’ is a rare Soderbergh misfire; a semi-parodic skew on the other financial crisis so bumpy, surely not even Meryl Streep could win an Oscar for it. And is it unfair to say that ‘The Laundromat’ kernels its disdain for its fraudulent lawyers and grifting bankers with just a glimmer of admiration for their ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-ish chutzpah? Maybe, but it definitely can’t resist the cinematic sizzle of the trappings of their wealth: the fast cars, azure pools and Gatsby-sized mansions.

Time Magazine, Stephanie Zacharek (September 01, 2019)
Soderbergh isn’t always the most visually dynamic director, and here he’s more interested in crisp dialogue and the interplay between characters. But he’s enlisted a roster of delightful actors to play small but engaging roles (they include Sharon Stone, Matthias Schoenaerts and Jeffrey Wright), and Streep herself plays more roles than one—but to describe the others in any detail would spoil the effect.