“The Apprentice is Woefully Bad” Critics React to Film on Trump Amid 2024 Elections

 “The Apprentice is Woefully Bad” Critics React to Film on Trump Amid 2024 Elections

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Amid the 2024 presidential elections and the Hush Money trial, the release of a film on Republican front-runner Donald Trump titled The Apprentice has further bolstered the politician’s dominating media presence. The Apprentice offers an account of Trump’s life before his Make America Great Again (MAGA) era, focusing on his rise as a renowned New York businessman.

Although the film received an 8-minute standing ovation at the Festival de Cannes, critics have had varied reactions. While some journalists praised the film for its brilliant performances and transformations, others criticized it for rehashing familiar narratives. In a now-deleted post, New York Times editor Karl Delossantos tweeted, “The Apprentice is woefully bad — and worse, pointless. A melange of Wikipedia plot points mixed with Donald Trump sound bites we’ve heard a thousand times that feel forced in,” according to Yahoo!.

On the other hand, Jason Gorber, a film critic for That Shelf, had more positive remarks about the film. He described it as “an origin story for the Orange one, the relationship between Master and Student revealed with a darkly comedic bent and Shakespearean tragic scope. Beautifully acted, terrific production design, a deep and provocative film that still manages to humanize.”

Another film critic, Brother Bro, was impressed by lead actor Sebastian Stan’s portrayal of Trump, stating, “Really liked The Apprentice! Sebastian Stan’s performance exceeded my expectations. Left feeling like this was a truthful dive into the ethos that guides Trump and corruption in general. Kinda spoon-feeds you, but it had a strong thesis and was well done.”

Reactions on social media were mixed as well. @ScreenSlate compared the film to a 2016 Johnny Depp project, commenting, “The Apprentice is like the 2016 Johnny Depp Funny or Die Trump thing but worse and 2 hrs long.” Meanwhile, @henchman21 advised, “A reminder, you don’t have to see every movie or even talk about every movie. This is about The Apprentice.”

Criticism continued with @filmwithyas, who pointed out the film’s lack of depth given the current political climate: “If you are going to make a film like The Apprentice during an election year it better be brave enough to dive into the deep end, this is not. Sebastian Stan does well to evade a caricature-esqe performance & gets better by the minute. Editing & sound-mixing are evidently rushed.”

Despite the divided opinions, Jeremy Strong’s portrayal of Roy Cohn received widespread acclaim. @FerideMercury praised, “The Apprentice is just too shallow to be taken seriously but my man Jeremy Strong once again overdid the assignment. He’s like this hardworking kid who writes 20-page essays for a simple homework.” @thethirdhan echoed this sentiment, adding, “The Apprentice: just because you’ve cast Jeremy Strong doesn’t mean you need to rip off the Succession score!!!!”

The Apprentice debuted at the 77th Cannes Film Festival to multiple standing ovations. However, shortly after the premiere, the Trump campaign threatened a defamation lawsuit against the film’s production. This threat was conveyed in a statement to Variety by Trump’s spokesperson, Steven Cheung, adding another layer of controversy to the film’s release.

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