Storytelling (film)

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DVD cover
Directed byTodd Solondz
Produced by
Written byTodd Solondz
Music by
CinematographyFrederick Elmes
Edited byAlan Oxman
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • May 12, 2001 (2001-05-12) (Cannes)
  • January 25, 2002 (2002-01-25)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Spanish
Box office$1.3 million[2]

Storytelling is a 2001 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Todd Solondz. It features original music by Belle & Sebastian, later compiled on the album Storytelling. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


The film consists of two stories that are unrelated and have different actors, titled "Fiction" and "Non-Fiction". College and high school serve as the backdrop for these two stories about dysfunction and personal turmoil.


"Fiction", starring Selma Blair, "Vi", is about a group of college students in a creative writing class taught by a black professor (Robert Wisdom).


"Non-Fiction", starring Paul Giamatti and John Goodman, is about the filming of a dysfunctional suburban New Jersey family as their teenage son (Mark Webber) goes through the college application process, and faces the trials and tribulations of late teenage years.


The original version of the film featured a third story entitled "Autobiography", concerning, among other things, a closeted football player (James van der Beek). The main character has an explicit sex scene with a male partner (Steven Rosen); the entire story was cut from the final version.[4]




Storytelling premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2001 before receiving a limited North American theatrical release on January 25, 2002.

Red box controversy[edit]

During the sex scene in the Fiction entry, a "red box" was added for the American version of the film, blocking the audience's view of a rough sex scene between Blair and Wisdom. This was used to bend the rules of the MPAA's rating system, allowing the film to obtain the R rating instead of NC-17.[5] The box is not present in the international version of the film, although in the American DVD release, both options are available.[citation needed]

Box office[edit]

The film earned $73,688 in its opening weekend in a mere four venues, ranking number 42 in the domestic box office.[6] By the end of its run, on March 28, 2002, the film grossed $921,445 domestically and $397,500 overseas for a worldwide total of $1,318,945.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 53% of 89 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 5.59/10.[7] On Metacritic, the film has a 50 out of 100 rating based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]


  1. ^ "STORYTELLING (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 3, 2001. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Storytelling (2001) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Storytelling". Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  4. ^ Fierman, Daniel (February 6, 2002). "Kindest Cuts". Entertainment Weekly.
  5. ^ Hubbell, Anne (January 11, 2002). "'Storytelling' at Sundance with Todd Solondz". CNN.
  6. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for January 25-27, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 28, 2002. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "Storytelling (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Storytelling". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 30, 2015.

External links[edit]