The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense

Jesse Eisenberg joins a karate dojo after being attacked on the street in this dark comedy from writer-director Riley Stearns (Faults).

After joinining the local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola, American Hustle), he uncovers a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it.

2019Rating: R16, Violence, cruelty & offensive language104 minsUSA
ComedyFestival & Independent

Streaming (1 Providers)

The Art of Self-Defense / Reviews

IndieWire

IndieWire

The Art of Self-Defense manages to clarify the filmmaker's intriguing vision by stuffing it into a remarkably unnerving character study.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

In a movie that often observes male dysfunction with some ironic distance, Eisenberg brings the satire closer to the bone.

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San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

Stick with it... The Art of Self-Defense goes to interesting places.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

A wobbly sort-of satire...

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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

Riley Stearns's uneven satirical film has insight, bite, and a surprisingly candid turn from Jesse Eisenberg.

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BirthMoviesDeath

BirthMoviesDeath

No comedy this nuanced could ever succeed without absolute consistency in the cast, and Stearns marshals his cast to subtle and uniformly excellent comic performances.

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Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

Writer-director Riley Stearns gets in a few good licks at toxic masculinity before odious comparisons to David Fincher’s masterpiece blunt the film’s comic and dramatic impact.

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Boston Globe

Boston Globe

Mannered and remote, the movie throws a lot of punches but hardly ever connects.

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The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

The film's calm brutality is effective...The satire is a spinning wheel kick I didn't see coming. Black belts all around.

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Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Bold but inconsistent, outrageous but not all that shocking...

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Film School Rejects

Film School Rejects

Starring Jesse Eisenberg as you've only seen him before.

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Variety

Variety

"The Art of Self-Defense" may be presented as an absurdist satire, but like the best American comedies... it doubles as a keen critique of our national character.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

While the beats of its plot may be nothing very new, the tone, language and performances here make Self-Defense its own beast.

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