Parents' Guide to

Guest Artist

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Self-important character study has drinking, pot use.

Movie NR 2020 75 minutes
Guest Artist Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 10+

A family movie!

PG: drinking usages and smoking
age 18+

Questionable humor=a bad movie

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The introductory text at the beginning of the movie is the most interesting part of an otherwise tiresome exercise in self-importance. It says: "Based on an incident which became a play which became this film." Now, that's juicy. Too bad the resulting film is so boring. The plot of Guest Artist comes from something writer/star Daniels experienced not long after he started his Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, Michigan. He'd commissioned playwright Lanford Wilson to write a piece for this small-town company and, when he went to pick up Wilson from the train station, found him drunk and empty-handed. But it's hard to believe that Daniels' real experience unraveled as the film does.

Watching a drama in which the lead character is drunk is rarely interesting (comedies can be different), and it seems nearly impossible to believe that an actor as seasoned and award-laden as Daniels would portray an alcohol addict as constantly pouring entire bottles down his throat, basically bypassing his mouth. It's so overdone, as is every other moment of the film. Daniels, director Timothy Busfield, and Melissa Gilbert produced the movie to encourage a love of the stage, and it's definitely playing to the back row. But a writer ranting about the sad state of theater these days is such an overdone cliché. It may be true, but that doesn't make it an entertaining subject. Moreover, it's unlikely that the film will work as a spark to improve theater offerings. There's an audience for Guest Artist, but many are likely to find it an exhausting waste of time. That said, since the film says an artist should never say he's sorry, Daniels won't be apologizing for that.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate