Storytelling (film)

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DVD cover
Directed by Todd Solondz
Produced by
Written by Todd Solondz
Music by
Cinematography Frederick Elmes
Edited by Alan Oxman
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates
  • May 12, 2001 (2001-05-12) (Cannes)
  • January 25, 2002 (2002-01-25)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
Country United 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 an album of the same name. 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, is about a group of college students in a creative writing class taught by a professor (Robert Wisdom), who has affairs with his students.


"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.


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 5.6/10.[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 2009-10-23. 
  4. ^ Fierman, Daniel (Feb 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. Flixster. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Storytelling". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]