Pictures From Home Reviews
Vulture- Somewhat Recommended
"...The most tantalizing thread of all is the notion that there’s something self-infantilizing in Larry’s whole process. He keeps going to see his parents, ostensibly to capture them as they really are but also reverting to a childish petulance, recapitulating the same arguments they’ve all been having for years — and getting some pleasure out of doing so."
New York Theater- Somewhat Recommended
"... “Pictures from Home” the stage play is put together by Broadway pros, led by gifted Tony winning director Bartlett Sher, and starring some of the best actors the theater has to offer. It mixes dialogue, direct audience address, and copious projections of Sultan’s actual photographs. The result is sometimes entertaining, thanks largely to Nathan Lane. But I’m afraid I ultimately side with Irv. However much a hallmark achievement the book was as a work of photography, the stage adaptation feels less hallmark than at best harmless. Its attempts to replicate the book’s subtexts about aging and mortality, intimacy and facade, art and truth, feel underdeveloped — and they overburden the story."
"...Nice acting and sensitive direction characterize “Pictures From Home,” the starry new Broadway production of Sharr White’s meh family drama based on the photo-memoir by Larry Sultan."
Entertainment Weekly- Recommended
"...Signature images from Sultan's book, projected widely onto the rear wall of the stage, do a lot of the work of evoking feelings that the somewhat sitcom-ish rhythms of Sharr's text don't reach. Remote fathers, nurturing but evasive mothers, old emotional wounds and papercuts: None of this new, or particularly specific in his hands. "You act as if you're the only child in the world. And as if we're the only parents," Jean tells her son with exasperated affection."
Washington Post- Somewhat Recommended
"...And then, in the final movements of the play, as everyone ages and a sentimental reflection on mortality kicks in, it all gets a bit icky. “Pictures From Home” is a far richer experience when it doesn’t shift into soft focus.'
Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended
"...“Pictures From Homes” has its bumps and unusual choices and the shared narration is occasionally weird; it’s never entirely clear why the audience is in the living room, if that is where we are. All that you have to look past."
Time Out New York- Recommended
"...Larry Sultan’s photo memoir Pictures From Home, shot over the course of the 1980s and published in 1992, captures his aging parents in saturated color as they putter and bicker through their golden years in a comfortable California tract house. It is also an implicit self-portrait: The images reflect his perceptions of his parents and his relationships to them, and perhaps also his desire to keep them—and, by extension, himself—from changing. “I realize that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally,” Sultan wrote in describing the project. “To stop time. I want my parents to live forever.”"
"...This is most blatant when the characters speak directly to the audience, pleading their cases in ways photographs cannot. White gives a fair shake to all three, as he did in his political drama The True. His script is further enhanced by fleshy and relatable performances, which make clear what this play is really about: Not abstract ideas about art and truth, but inevitable mortality. A still photograph cannot hope to capture all the messy and beautiful contradictions of a human family, but Pictures From Home gets awfully close."
Daily Beast- Somewhat Recommended
"...The actors are half-performing to us, and half-interacting with each other. It means we do not really buy into them as a family; and who are we meant to be anyway? The characters are not in a theater, but supposedly, mostly in the Sultans’ home. The dramatic set-up makes no sense, and keeps getting in the way of the play as a piece of theater."
Broadway News- Not Recommended
"...Also lost in this theatrical adaptation is the “everyman-ness” of Sultan’s subjects. With megawatt star Lane as Irving, there is nothing common about this common man. Lane punctuates dialogue with his signature crotchety sarcasm, though — for what it’s worth — the schtick works. His performance pulled laughs, but such a seasoned actor’s overreliance on sardonicism in moments of exasperation and shouting in moments of conflict grows tiresome."
Theatrely- Somewhat Recommended
"...While Lane is handed (and perfectly handles) the bulk of the play’s laugh lines and emotional beats, Wanamaker is sadly relegated to the background for most of its runtime. It’s a shame, given that, looking pantsuit-glamorous in Jennifer Moeller’s perfect costumes (never has a jewel-toned blouse communicated so much about kitsch as an affirmation of self) she strikes a powerful, memorable presence."