Cat's Meow

1 h 53 min2002PG-13
As Hearst and his lover, set sail early one Saturday morning, hosting a small group that includes the brilliant but self-absorbed Charlie Chaplin, film pioneer Thomas Ince, ambitious gossip columnist Louella Parsons and the eccentric British Victorian novelist Elinor Glyn, it quickly becomes clear that although witty repartee is theorder of the day, deceit and deception are also on the menu.
Peter Bogdanovich
Kirsten DunstEdward HerrmannJennifer Tilly
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Cary ElwesEddie IzzardJoanna Lumley
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

263 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 12% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

@laudpattyReviewed in the United States on March 8, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
I love this movie!!
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Ok: Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, Cary Elwes, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Tilly, Edward Herrman. This cast is *chock full* of actors I love, and nobody was phoning it in! Stellar performances all around.
Set in the "roaring 20's," which is one of my favorite historical eras, the story speculates as to what actually happened on a short private pleasure cruise hosted by William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, with Hollywood and press VIPs of the day in attendance.
One of the guests died under very suspicious circumstances, and not a word of it was printed in the press, all owned by WRH. The family never sought to press charges, and the obituary obfuscated cause of death. These are the true facts this story was based on. "The Cat's Meow" proposes to fill in the blanks of this event, in an interesting and entertaining way. Highly recommended.
9 people found this helpful
DrStonewallReviewed in the United States on November 21, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A little History, an enigma, good music, smart script.
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The Cat's Meow, a film by Peter Bogdonovich, that stars a number of moderately known actors, including Kirsten Dunst and Jennifer Tilly. It follows this group of starlets and directors and writers as they take a weekend cruise on William Randolph Hearsts Yacht. It gives the viewer one man's vision of how life for extremely wealthy people goes during the early 1920's. I won't put in a spoiler. There's a murder. It surprises everyone. There is quite a bit of extra-marital sex going on and being discussed. There is really great music from the era. The reason I rate it as highly as I do is due to the script and directing. I thought it was a smart script and Bogdonavich did a good job getting such a large group of actors to tell a story in a coordinated way that makes sense, has tension and makes the viewer think about those characters that are featured. The last 3 or 4 lines of the movie are especially incisive. I loved the movie. I know people who would get bored with it because of the amount of detail, and the tempo of the movie. I recommend it. The movie is entertaining, and it asks the viewer to look past the superficial lives of most of these characters and see the helpless and existential nature of the life these characters are living. The last few lines by the Narrator says it best: "But I'm watching how ridiculous everyone else looks....Then I see that in fact, I too look like a fool. Yet it's so much fun none of us can stop. If we stopped, we'd have nothing."
9 people found this helpful
Rita Meter MaidReviewed in the United States on May 9, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Disappointing, neither a comedy nor a drama
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It's clear it was made at the tail end of Bogdanovich's meteoric career. It's lazy, crammed with cliches, and made on a shoestring budget in Greece and other foreign locales. Hollywood was done with him and he saw a chance to make a film somewhere and took it. It was a complete missed opportunity to make something remarkable given the real characters and the setting.
3 people found this helpful
M. JacksonReviewed in the United States on May 24, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Hearst and 1920s Hollywood
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Based on a true story about W.R. Hearst and his relationship with Marion Davies and other Hollywood folk, this is an intriguing 1920s period piece worth watching. However, Jennifer Tilly enters the picture and proclaims herself to be Louella Parsons. She is completely miscast and nothing like the real person she is portraying. Eddie Izard as Charlie Chaplin isn't very much like the actual man either, but he passes.
2 people found this helpful
Landers68Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not Bad, But Not What It Can Be
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I just can't see anyone play Chaplin the way Downey Jr. played him, and that's what spoils it for me. Nothing against Izzard, but if you're going to play such a volatile, colorful and complex man, you'll have to have some appeal. I don't feel it with Izzard.

Also, Dunst was stellar. She makes all her characters interesting subtly, which shows great talent. I just enjoy watching her, and the other characters were interesting (on varying levels). But Chaplin was miscast. So this movie gets a 3.
FitzzzReviewed in the United States on May 16, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Missed the mark
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In the right hands this could have been brilliant, but there are so many negatives with this film
Jennifer Tilly as Louella Parsons, very bad casting
Sets and costumes are way off, they look cheap
There are several almost good performances, but they got overshadowed
2 people found this helpful
Lola LasloReviewed in the United States on December 2, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent Movie! The exesses and silliness of the era on full display...
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It's almost eerie. My father had just died, and I found an old book about Hollywood mysteries while I was boxing up his things. I took a break and thumbed through it. I settled on the story of William Randolph Hearst's doomed yacht excursion, where a man was found fatally shot on board, yet nobody was forthcoming about the details. After reading, I boxed up my father's books and that same weekend, put on the TV while I was wiping shelves. The Cat's Meow was playing! I'd never even heard of this story less than twenty-four hours before and now I'd read the story and the movie was on the very station I'd tuned into! The excesses and silliness of that era are on full display in this film. Edward Herrmann is at his finest as he portrays William Randolph Hearst, the tycoon of a great newspaper dynasty; a man that America, its people and political leaders listened to. (I'd also recommend reading the book by Patty Hearst, William Randolph Hearst's granddaughter.)
5 people found this helpful
Clarence W. PotterReviewed in the United States on August 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bogdanovich's Best
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This is my favorite Bogdanovich film. It's obvious that he loves the subject matter and that makes the film a pleasure to watch. He also uses two of the most 'fun' actresses- Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Tilly. The DVD is fine except the subtitles are very slow and not in time with the audio.
One person found this helpful
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