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The Vanishing Of Sidney Hall

After publishing a bestselling novel, controversial writer Sidney Hall finds himself catapulted to unexpected fame. But when his life begins to fall apart, he disappears without a trace.
Shawn Christensen
Logan LermanElle FanningMichelle Monaghan
English [CC]
Audio Languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Kyle ChandlerNathan LaneJanina GavankarBlake JennerMargaret Qualley
Jonathan Schwartz
A24 Films
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices

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4.3 out of 5 stars

84 global ratings

  1. 65% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Schrödinger's CatReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 January 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a great movie. Case closed.
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This is a complex and multilayered story of dysfunctional childhoods leading into dysfunctional adulthoods. It's a powerful story and the acting is superb. I'm glad I didn't read other reviews or synopses or watch trailers – I just went straight into it. I now see that the jury is split on this movie and the critics largely didn't like it. There are some imperfections in the film-making process – particularly the ageing of the young actors – but if you put this aside, it's a terrific movie. Nowadays, we're all so used to big budgets and special effects that we forget the time, not long since, when the viewer had to make do with what limited effects and make-up the film-makers had and use their imagination, as one does when one reads a book. Don't be put off by the naysayers and give this one a go. It's a great story made into a great movie. Case closed.
8 people found this helpful
WinterpantsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 January 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
He was never really there
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A thoughtful narrative of an author going off the rails. There are myriad strands of the young writer's journey to oblivion, slipping seamlessly back and forth between three epochs his life; his academic life, his success & subsequent troubles, and his life as a hermit on the road. At times, all of the threads can overwhelm the story as the scriptwriters try to interlink every detail into a Chinese puzzle that only reveals itself in the embers of the film (and I say embers because burning is also a recurrent theme here).
The film shouts Young Adult Fiction through and through; there are the usual nods to teen culture bastions: Hunter S Thompson, music by the Pixies and the questions posed mostly by younger people immemorial; "Will someone fall in love with me? Why do parents suck so much? Will my genius be recognised by my teachers? Will I be famous?" The writer's book inspires a tragedy, which compels our author to burn his own books. This is reminiscent of Anthony Burgess' reaction to his book, the GCSE syllabus favourite, A Clockwork Orange after it inspired a sexual assault (Burgess wanted it banned). Sidney's novel, which he titles "A Suburban Tragedy", is about a teen suicide, a recurrent theme in books favoured by edgy teens (e.g. The Bell Jar). It's title echos 'In Cold Blood. Sidney's alienation is a homage to Catcher in the Rye. I was half expecting a Hobbit to turn up.
There is a danger of this disappearing up its own backside. Sidney's wife, Melody, tells him that he's only interested in himself and is a depressing figure. She has a point...for all his empathy with the downtrodden, he is a self absorbed character who sucks light from the room. When Sidney has had the chance to do the right thing by others he is oddly slow to do so. Additionally, his success comes as a schoolboy and he never seems to age that convincingly thereafter. Even as a bearded and shaggy vagrant towards the end, he looks about 15 years old. He is drawn largely from cliches about troubled geniuses that have been shown umpteen times before (alcoholism, troubled relationships, affairs, misunderstood, self criticism, obsession, depression) so that he never quite develops into his own creation. When the end comes, although dignified, it isn't redemptive, neither for Sidney nor the film because no amends are made - there is only self pity, a desire to hook up with his ex wife and a sudden urge to leave documentation of his genius to future generations. If there was an intention to make a film about the destruction wreaked by (early) success, then it is swallowed by this more shallow ambition.
There are also too many pretentious moments that sometimes make the film look silly; after first hooking up with him, Melody calls Sidney up one night to tell him she wants to take things more seriously. His reaction? Sidney reads a slew of stream-of-consciousness lines magically appearing in front of him then pours his booze over his typewriter and sets light to it. Girls, man! They come along and fall in love with me and ruin my intellectual freedom! No one understands my pain!
Having said this, there is an attention to detail, the pace is good and there's an investment in the production and story that makes this film worthy of a viewing and it's the kind of film you remember a year from now. If you can get past the cliches, this is a film I would recommend if only to see how all the strands get woven together.
One person found this helpful
GollumReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth a watch...
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The story is about the life of a (fictitious) author and is split into a number of threads centered around different parts of the author's life. Whilst I was initially irritated by the switching between the different threads, the structure was necessary to enable all the threads of the story to reach their emotional climaxes at the end of the film. I agree with some of the other reviewers about the aging of the main characters which didn't seem to be very well done, but putting these things aside, i thought it was a great film and worth a watch...
One person found this helpful
MookyzookReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 October 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Finally a movie with a story
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As usual the people with a short attention span didn't like this movie, not enough car chases, action sequences and CGI I guess. Instead we have an actual story and some great acting and a beautifully crafted plot. If you like getting into a film and love a bit of an emotional rollercoaster this is for you. OK it's much easier to make actors look younger with a bit of CGI but in the reverse they didn't bother too much. But his doesn't detract from a powerful storyline with a few little reveals as it goes along, I would definitely recommend it.
One person found this helpful
Shane BrownReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 June 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Flawed but Intriguing
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Well, this one is something of a mystery, in that the critics have actually panned it, but many viewers have given it good reviews (see the blu-ray release for those). Personally, I thought it was a really well-made, intelligent movie for the most part. Kyle Chandler plays a man in search of the title character, an author who went missing five years earlier. We follow Chandler's search at the same time as a number of flashbacks, both from when Sidney Hall (Lerman) was at school and a few years later when he was a famous author. In other words, the story plays out in three different time periods concurrently, switching back and forth, and sometimes not even in chronological order. Chandler is really very good in his role, and it makes you wonder why we don't see more of him these days. But Lerman is the star here, playing Hall as a 16 or 17 year old, a man in his early twenties, and a man in his early thirties. I'm guessing this may be the last time we see him as a teenager on film - he's now in his mid-twenties himself - and that's a shame in itself. As so often with Lerman, whenever he's on the screen you can't take your eyes off him. There are moments when the movie missteps or misjudges - occasionally it is pretentious, and the last ten minutes (with Lerman looking like he has come straight out of King of Kings) is somewhat unfortunate, but there is much to enjoy here,and certainly a film to visit more than once, I feel.
4 people found this helpful
Black CatReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 February 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Quite a special little movie
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If you are looking for good acting, script and drama, then this could be for you. If you are looking for super heroes, car chases or gun fights, then this is probably not for you.
All in all, a really decent movie. Glad I ignored the poor reviews and gave it a chance.
4 people found this helpful
nicola thompsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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I really enjoyed this film, so many emotions and it was heartbreaking in moments but overall I was glued to the very end. Brilliant acting, brilliant story
5 people found this helpful
Logic WorksReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 January 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Amazing movie
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Wasn't expecting much but was totally blown away by this movie.
Superb directing, excellent casting and well-composed soundtrack.

5 stars ladies and gentlemen!
5 people found this helpful
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