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7.9
/10
9,223 Ratings

Barton Fink

Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
United States, 1991
Comedy, Drama, Mystery

Synopsis

A satirical tale of a 1940s playwright who accepts an offer to write movie scripts in L.A. Struggling with writers block while staying at the eerie Hotel Earle, an incongruous series of events continues to distract him.

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Barton Fink Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1991 | 3 wins including: Palme d'Or

Academy Awards

1992 | 3 nominations including: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Although Barton Fink fuses together these and a range of other influences and historical touchstones, including the mercurial fate of celebrated writers like William Faulkner and Clifford Odets in Hollywood (and with whose stories the Coens take supreme, even libellous liberties), it is also a singular and nightmarish fusion of character and environment: a man in a room battling against his inner demons and the oppressive mise en scène of his terrifyingly expressive surroundings.
March 28, 2017
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With hindsight, we can now appreciate BARTON FINK as the first of many Coen films that lean on a deeply-researched milieu, only to turn around and gleefully tarnish that fastidiousness by presenting heavily fictionalized, perhaps libelous, renditions of the real people that inhabited that world. The consistency of this Coen formula should vitiate the usual charge of mere clumsiness or adolescent flippery.
July 08, 2016
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Some of these competing tones work better than others: As Barton’s dead-end hotel becomes a kind of metaphor for his mind, and his relationship with Goodman’s average-guy working stiff feeds his attempts at screenwriting, the film becomes an offbeat portrait of the creative act. But a lot of the ribbing of Hollywood falls flat, and the out-of-left-field finale — while notable for its sheer, hellish WTF-ery — is so odd that it reduces the rest of the film’s power.
February 05, 2016
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