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Richard Lawson head shot - Vanity Fair

Richard Lawson

Richard Lawson is the chief critic for Vanity Fair, reviewing film, television, and theatre. He lives in New York City.


The Gray Man Lets Ryan Gosling Have a Little Fun

A lighter turn from an often brooding actor enlivens a standard action film. 

A Modernized Persuasion Isn’t Very Convincing

Netflix’s contemporary spin oversimplifies Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Where the Crawdads Sing Is a Dull, Boilerplate Adaptation

The film version of one of the best-selling novels of all time is a by-the-numbers watercolor.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Is the Summer Vacation We Need

Lesley Manville shines in this wistful fashion fantasy. 

Apple TV’s Black Bird Is Too Invested in Its Gory Details

Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser star in a thriller that explores the mind of a suspected serial killer.

The Marvel Machine Breaks Down in Thor: Love and Thunder

Director Taika Waititi’s second outing with the godly hero is a major fall from grace.

Westworld Season 4 Is an Upgraded Model

HBO’s sometimes beguiling, often maddening series is on the rebound after a muddy third season.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On Is a Poignant Summertime Surprise

Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp’s viral video sensation finally has his own movie.

Lightyear Cynically Blasts Into Familiar Territory

A movie based on a toy in a movie is about as appealing as that description sounds.

Emma Thompson Gets Her Groove Back in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

A two-hander dramedy about sex and aging is a terrific vehicle for the venerable star. 
Year in Review

The Best Movies of 2022, So Far

At the year’s midway point, Vanity Fair chief critic Richard Lawson lists his favorite 2022 films to date.

Adam Sandler Hits a Layup in Hustle

The comedian turned serious actor gamely blends those two halves in Netflix’s new basketball drama.

Jurassic World: Dominion Refuses to Learn Its Own Lesson

A movie about not messing with the past does just that.

The New Queer as Folk Gets Bogged Down in Tragedy

Peacock’s updated version of the pioneering gay TV show has trouble locating its humanity. 

Fire Island Is a Trip to Gay Heaven—or Is It Hell?

Comedian Joel Kim Booster and Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang lead a Jane Austen-inspired queer romcom.
Cannes 2022

The Best and Worst of Cannes 2022

Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up was a highlight; Claire Denis’s Stars at Noon was a letdown.
Cannes 2022

Art Isn’t Easy for Michelle Williams in Showing Up

The actor’s latest collaboration with Kelly Reichardt finds the sublime in mundanity.
Awards Insider!

Austin Butler Captures the Lions Share of Oscar Buzz at Cannes

Despite a wide range of excellent international films to discuss, the awards season potential at this year’s festival seems limited— for now, at least.
Cannes 2022

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker Enters the Gray World of the Black Market

The director of Shoplifters turns his eye to South Korea’s illegal baby trade.
Cannes 2022

Austin Butler Is the Only Thing That Works in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis

Turgid and shallow, the film costarring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker adds little to our understanding of an icon.