James Franco’s incandescent performance as the young Allen Ginsberg is only one of the pluses in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s ecstatic re-enactment of the controversy surrounding Ginsberg’s eponymous monumental poem -- published in 1956 and put on trial for obscenity in San Francisco, of all places. Franco (Pineapple Express, Milk, Date Night) plays Ginsberg as the tenderest of tenderfeet, a holy wandering poet railing against the conformist Fifties. Best of all are artist Eric Drooker’s glorious animated sequences from the epic poem itself. On hand as Ginsberg’s various antagonists and allies are David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, and Mary Louise Parker. Epstein and Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk) obviously see Ginsberg as a gay rights icon, but there’s a world of meaning in his poetic protest and this film captures a great big gorgeous slice of it. Exec-produced by Gus Van Sant (90 min.).
Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Producer: Elizabeth Redleaf, Christine Walker, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Gus Van Sant and Jawal Nga
Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola, Todd Rotondi, Jon Prescott and Aaron Tveit