The Art of Self-Defense (2019) - Comedy, Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



After being attacked on the street, a young man enlists at a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei, in an effort to learn how to defend himself from future threats.

IMDB: 6.7
Director: Riley Stearns
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola
Length: 104 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 57 out of 252 found boring (22.61%)

One-line Reviews (135)

It was just too slow paced, boring, overall stupidly and few funny moments and surprising twists just can't save it.

Waste of time.

Jesse Eisenberg, as bland and expressionless and one-note as ever, gets a thrashing, then goes to a dojo for self-defense lessons, run by a demented Sensei who takes a real shine to him.

The first part of the movie is definitely more satisfying however, holistically the movie works and I really enjoyed it and I was shocked to learn that it hasn't won any awards it definitely deserves it.

As is the case with films of this style, Art's insistence on being strange at every given chance makes it hard to find a character to root for and there are one too many moments of unearned character decisions and motivations that begin to make Art's payoffs rather unsatisfactory when it feels at times as though its headed for some really exciting and loaded developments.

The parasitic relationship between fear and violence is a fascinating concept.

all in all, even getting the "inside" jokes and having a few laughs, its still a bit dark and feels abit slow.

This is the worst movie ever.

The film is always entertaining and fun.

Not sure it's worth it, except to see what an unwatchable movie really looks like.

This film was very pretentious, unfunny and predictable.

terrible and pointless .

This is boring to the very end.

I saw the trailer on YouTube and really thought I would like this movie, turns out it was kind of slow paced and very monotonous.

It's weird and pointless.

Jesse Eisenberg is in a very familiar role in this film, being the awkward guy we've seen him play many times before, but there is a darkness in him that plays throughout the movie and makes this character very unpredictable.

The film blends comedic elements-sometimes light, sometimes dark-with character study and sociology in a 'Karate Kid' meets 'Fight Club' mashup that is delightfully entertaining the entire way through.

Unfunny & Pointless .

Good cast and story but the storytelling and how the movie begin is boring.

Big waste of time .

Some of it catches you off guard, quite a fun thrilling entertainment at least mostly.

Save your money and your time.

Casey ends up in intensive care only because (Poots) had some humanity otherwise he was going to be killed at the beginning of the film.

The Sensei character is also so entertaining.

Boring .

Watch paint dry, instead.

Dull, Pointless...

It simply bore no effective humor what so ever.

This is a complete waste of time and life.

However the writing and gender roles are getting a bit old to see this obvious slant of trying to convert chicks into acting like men and to top things off - actually giving them the title of main sensei at the end which is so predictable.

I didn't find it preachy at all, actually I thought it got it's point across in the best way possible - by being funny and entertaining.

I was unsure about the closing stages of the film but it is certainly a remarkably entertaining and unique time.

The characters assume their superficial societal roles in an absurdly matter of fact way that often leads to situations that are as hilarious as they are intense.

Overall, TAOSD is a slow movie with good performances and good screenplay.

He is single, he has a boring job where his colleagues bully him, and he is physically weak.

which is unnecessarily saying things they are thinking in a monotone way.

At the beginning I thought the movie was similar to the karate kid, but it ended up being a really boring movie and the plot didn't make sense it also ended being a very graphic movie for example there where scenes where a man is beaten up and was kicked in the head.

Too slow, not funny at all!

No dramatic music, no dramatic turn, no characters that makes you put your emotion into the movie, to me it was overall mundane.

Compelling start, dissappointing and unrealistic finish.

It's nothing special, but really entertaining.

Boring, Not (in the least bit) Funny .

One of the worst movies I have ever watched!!!!

this is a disjointed, disoriented, perverse excuse for a "karate" movie.

Took a surprising turn, overall an entertaining dark comedy.

Fans of dry humor are likely to enjoy this, but those who only laugh at broad slapstick will probably call it boring and stupid.

Another unfunny movie with pointless "male" nudity.

Absolutely worth watching .


It was enjoyable and unconventional to say the least.

And I understand the whole point was to deliver it in such a heavyhanded, meatheaded way, but sometimes sticking too loyally to your guns can just make a film borderline unwatchable.

Don't waste your time or money on this loser, there's a reason the ratings are in the cellar!!!!!

or even more precisely weirdly pointless.

Leaves the viewer wondering whether the protagonist is already a repressed psychopath, but there's little character development to inform the viewer on how or why the protagonist is placed in a mid-30s mundane life of loneliness and fear of confrontation to begin with.

This is one that, given the reactions I'm seeing here, will probably achieve minor cult status, but overall, it's a witty joke with a good punch delivered in a droning monotone that goes on longer than it should.

It is actually a great think piece and quite entertaining.

Definitely not what you expected, but truly entertaining.

The film can very from extremely engaging to quite dull, it can very from very interesting and impactful to simply (as the film itself often stated) 'borish' and quite slow.

This movie is very slowly paced and odd.

An outstanding job of acting, coupled with a nicely written story really made this enjoyable.

It's all a gloriously relentless slow burn to the circle of fire climax.

The dog food bag is empty.

worst movie ever .

The plot is predictable and loosely ripped off from fight club etc.I don't know what else to say to be honest, it was strange and weirdly unnecessary.

How the hell could Jesse Eisenberg be involved in such a waste of time?

Slow, boring, and offensive .

We also know this isn't what Casey really wants, his desire to become what intimidates him doesn't fit, his battle to find a balance is fascinating to watch.

From the opening, the film is witty, comedic and downright entertaining.

A dark comedy that has twists and unexpected turns.

Waste of money .

Boring, ugly, uncomfortable, predictable, not at all funny .

Enjoyed it from the beginning to the end, where it turns from being extremely funny to super dark and creepy towards the end!

Good start, but predictable by mid-stream .

Personally I don't like movies with gratuitous violence, however you might appreciate the unexpected story twist.

A very very quirky movie that fits that Eisenberg style, but entertaining throughout.

This is easily one of the most fun, bizarre, unpredictable films I've seen all year and I adored it.

Entertaining dark comedy well worth the watch .

While the topic is somewhat interesting, misconceptions of masculinity/security through the misunderstanding of martial art principles, the delivery was quite poor, and at times it felt it was actually a directorial choice: predictable plot (from the opening 10min), kind of cardboard acting (even from actors that usually deliver)...

I'm not a fan of any of the cast, but the movie was an unexpected pleasure.

If you are curious about this movie then it is worth watching just to satisfy your curiosity.

And while the plot itself is often predictable, the story plays out with such commitment to its own ridiculousness that it's still easy to appreciate.

A little more gruesome than I'm used to, but I still enjoyed it.

Norton's character, as a cure for insomnia, regularly attends encounter groups, absorbing other people's pain, oftentimes, people with terminal illnesses, because he needs a good cry, a hug; and most of all, he needs an outlet to talk, to open up and share his feelings the way women do.

A little slow at times and at least three scene could have been deleted with no ill effect.

As long as they leave him alone for the most part, he's happy to go on with his frighteningly boring routine.

One of the most pointless and stupid films...

I hate slow paced films, and from the start up until 3/4 of the way, I was loving the conceptual story, but was cursing and swearing the slow dragged out pace that made the 104 min runtime feel like an eternity.

If you have any inclination to Kafka, you'll find this movie enjoyable.

Very funny, odd and totally worth the watch.

Boring, not a dark comedy more of a dark joke.

Pointless weird .

The sensai was bland and boring and Imogen Poots was wasted in this.

There is much confusion over how to be a man in today's world - what it means, how to act, how to control sparks of aggression, how to prevent the misuse of power.

Dull mashup .

Slow, boring, and just a horrible depiction of the martial art world, Don't waste your time.

A witty, delightful and engaging fun-film.

Was I missing something as this movie was very unfunny very boring and very stupid and very hard to watch due to how boring and slow it was

This is a total waste of money and was painful to complete watching - kept thinking it would improve!

Good acting, that kept it from being a total waste of time, except that that probably made the unease I felt worse.

It was just slow, and really depressing.

The humour in this film is extremely dark, I'm talking as dark as it comes, and it reminded me of how enjoyable it can be when a filmmaker knows what they're doing that respect.

The night classes are much more intense and Jesse discovers more than he bargained for as secrets of his sensei and fellow students come to light.

The Art of Self Defense (2019) - 7.2Act 1 - 6.7Act 2 - 7.4Act 3 - 7.5 Jesse Eisenberg plays Casey, a very reserved and meek manCasey is attacked by a group of unknown men and this leads him down a new path of karateHe decides he needs to be more manlyI like the film grain and the look of the filmFilm takes shots at gun owners with facts and statistics which is greatDialogue and performances are very dry and straight forwardMovie exposes problems with toxic masculinity and makes fun of them in an over the top mannerMakes fun of fighting, guns and music choice as a sign of masculinityA few brutal momentsFilm starts getting darker as he joins the night classes and more bad things start to happen to CaseyCasey has been manipulated by SanseiFilm also attacks gender inequalityIt is revealed that Senesi and some of his students are responsible for the muggings and attacks that have been going on thus furthering Casey's internal conflictCasey kills a cop during one of the muggingsCasey then decides that he will challenge Sensei to a fight to the death but ends up shooting Sensei which is greatCasey takes control of the dojo and gets revenge for his dogCasey hands over the dojo to Anna a female who has been put down the whole filmFilm is void of laughter with a deadpan and cold feel in the charactersMovie hits home the nonsense of gender inequality for certain situationsFilm makes its point while also being entertaining and making senseWell made film that accomplishes its goal

And an intriguing framework (in the form of what might be a little too obvious but nonetheless engaging, circular plot arc) is also in place.

I found the first 15 minutes of the movie to be really intriguing.

I enjoyed the movie , however, I wanted something more original from a premise like that , towards the end of the movie I felt something was off , I think the screenplay could have been way better , but anyway an entertaining movie that had its unforgettable moments.

Sure, there were some funny moments, about four in the hour and a half, but the dark humor that comprised the utterly predictable last half of the was completely without irony and in the end, just meaningless.

Cruel, uncensored, unpredictable and realistic MASTERPIECE .

If Mr. Miyagi doesn't climb over the fence and make quick work of these brainwashed fighting machines, would the Jersey kid end up in an intensive care ward like Casey?

On top of that and even more fascinating is night class student and daytime children karate instructor Anna (Imogen Poots).

The audience at south by Southwest left about 1/3 smiling and 2/3 of the audience looked just bored.

So if you're sick and tired of all the mainstream movies - with a censored scenes, a defined line between a good and a bad and a predictable action scenes, then I strongly recommend you this one because is the opposite .

Very Dry Comedy.

It's sick, cruel, unpredictable and realistic.

Sadly my title says it all, some good actors but given just ok material, at to slower pace.

Not a Oscar-winning piece, but a very entertaining dark comedy around the trope of the peaceful/wimp character turned badass.

All I can say is that it was fairly predictable and made me really uncomfortable.

This is a terrible movie with a terrible premise and predictable plot.

So far removed from anything you've seen before in a plot sense, Art may start out in a seemingly straight-forward enough fashion as we are introduced to Eisenberg's socially awkward and odd Casey but once Casey's mundane and rather sad life is turned upside down by an unprovoked mugging and attack, Art begins to show its true colours as a film that doesn't intend to conform to any particular type of rulebook that has come before it.

At the title states, we found this movie slow moving, boring, and offensive.

' Jesse plays a boring bookkeeper with no friends besides his pet dachshund.

But then the movie strays from poking fun at toxic masculinity into wholesale feminist propaganda.

I always skipped out on watching this movie because of the reviews that called this movie "pointless" and "unfunny" and I regret it.

I enjoyed it thoroughly!!

Whatever humor was there was out-weighted by the boring story line.

But the way he rises out of it is why the movie goes from boring Wes Anderson fantasy to kick-ass Fight Club absurdity.

The performances were intentionally dry which is fine but left me very bored.


It's an entertaining black comedy...

It starts off slow, very slow, with your run of the mill underdog nerdy loner suffering the same predictable ills and unjust.

Casey continues to take lessons until he is invited by the sensai to start going to the night classes, this is where the movie dives into a dark, intense film that we can expect from writer/director Riley Stearns.

Slow, depressing, and not funny.

One of the most boring movies I have ever seen, please give me my 2 hours back.

It is disturbing, but engaging as well.

There is something about how blunt it is that makes it incredibly entertaining.