‘The Vanishing of Sidney Hall’ is Better Lost Than Found

GameStop, Inc.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

In director Shawn Christensen’s drama The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, the events follow a young and brilliant author in three important moments in his life – his life as a high school outcast, his life as an acclaimed author, and finally his life as a reclusive genius who has shunned the spotlight in order to live as a wanderer, riding the rails and setting fire to his past works in libraries along the way. As hard as it tries – and, oh boy, does it try – The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is a film of artistic flourishes looking for a story it has no real clue how to tell. This is a meandering and painful film to sit through as it bounces between its story threads for two hours before reaching its underwhelming conclusion.

When we first see Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman), he’s a high school student reading his provocative essays in front of the class even though its risqué subject matter gets him in trouble. Then the film ping pongs around. There’s a mysterious bearded stranger setting fire to books in libraries and the dogged detective work of The Searcher (Kyle Chandler) attempts to reveal his identity. There’s also the pressures of success facing a weary and older Sidney Hall, his works having become acclaimed best-sellers. Then the film also flashes back to high school, where Sidney befriends the popular quarterback of the football team Brett Newport (Brody Jenner) and eventually meets who will become his future wife Melody (Elle Fanning). Other people that are in and out of the life of Sidney Hall (depending on what point the film is covering at any given time) include his drunken mother (Michelle Monaghan), his assistant Gina (Janina Gavankar), his literary agent (Nathan Lane), and his mistress (Margaret Qualley) – all of whom are egregiously wasted in this schizophrenic film.

Shawn Christensen and co-writer Jason Dolan take their time in presenting the audience with the connectivity that binds these threads together. All the while they refuse to provide the audience with any information that would make these fragments the least bit interesting. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall at its heart is aiming to be a mystery but this really isn’t the kind of story that needs to be withholding information for effect. It means that a lot of stuff happens with little rhyme or reason for much of the film’s running time before it races to piece it all together at the end. Once the puzzle has been completed, it’s like you just watched a full-grown adult take two hours to put together a 12-piece jigsaw puzzle.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is more an endurance test than anything, daring you to just turn it off before its next ridiculous reveal or time jump. This is a movie that wants to be taken seriously, so deadly seriously in every facet of its being. What it all amounts to is a series of non-linear contrivances, matters of life and death that are only capable of eliciting a yawn instead of an emotional response. It’s impossible to take the events of this film seriously when you’re forced to watch poor Logan Lerman donning the most laughably awful fake beard I’ve seen outside of a low budget sketch comedy show.

No matter how hard you try, it’s just impossible to find the redeeming value of The Vanishing of Sidney Hall. No matter how hard its stars try, they can’t make the material come to life. It’s a film that carries itself with heaping loads of unearned gravitas, demanding that you stare at the screen in solemn contemplation at how a little non-linear storytelling is somehow going to make an array of clichés seem fresh and original. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is a poorly written movie about a supposedly great writer. It attempts to make a simple drama a complex mystery that never captivates. There’s only one gripping mystery here: Who in the hell thought this should be a mystery?

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall
  • Overall Score


A mystery that bumble through three threads of the life of its main character, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is an endurance test as it meanders about its absurd and unengaging story.

Anytime Costumes

One Response

  1. JH September 25, 2020 Reply

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...