"'Every hipster is a potential criminal,' warns a student communist in Valery Todorovsky's musical period piece Hipsters," writes Karina Longworth in the LA Weekly. "These 'hipsters' are, in style and substance, the polar opposite of today's artfully disheveled gentrifiers: In a postwar Moscow where consuming Western products is considered a form of treason, their insouciant fetishization — and charming lost-in-translation misinterpretation — of American jazz culture are legitimate forms of political rebellion."
"Although Hipsters has its share of deliciously absurd break-into-dance numbers, candy-colored outfits, and outrageous hairdos, all perfect contrasts to claustrophobic Soviet pastels, it's a prohibited love story that stitches the film together," writes Diego Costa in Slant. "Mels (Anton Shagin), whose name is an acronym for Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, is a shy 20-year-old 'square' originally part of the fashion police who falls for one of the hipster girls and promptly switches sides. Here identity is a drag, clothing is costume, and fierceness is contagious, requiring much less of a surveillance apparatus in order to reproduce itself."
At GreenCine Daily, Vadim Rizov notes that Hipsters was "Russia's 11th-highest grossing film of 2008" and adds that it's "as bizarrely constrained in its lyrics as any of the weird, officially sanctioned Communist musicals excerpted in the 1997 documentary East Side Story. Where once chirpy Youth Brigade members sang about meeting their production quota and searching for the housing superintendent, here history (not censorship) dictates the lyrical subject matter and guides it along the same channels: for perhaps the first time, a youth Communist party meeting expels a member in song. Over two lengthy hours, the film rises and falls on the strength of its musical numbers, which occasionally rise to tour-de-force status, culminating in a dreamy, non-literal shot of Mels triumphantly striding down Moscow's present-day streets, jumping 40 years of history as a crowd of mohawked punks, slovenly ravers and other future hipsters cheer him down the street. It's a foolishly jolly leap from one sanitized past to an even more sugar-coated present. An instant kitsch classic, Hipsters layers schlock on top of painful history to often disorienting effect."
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