After meeting in a San Francisco acting class, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) befriends the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). They decide to move to Los Angeles to try to break in to the acting industry. After several years with little (or no success in Wiseau’s case) success, Wiseau decides to make his own movie.
James Franco does a great job portraying Tommy Wiseau. While he does nail Wiseau’s strange mannerisms down to a T, Franco also manages to humanize him despite his many flaws as a person. If this film was directed by someone other than Franco, Wiseau would have been a caricature. The film manages to capture the odd yet believable friendship between Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. The audience gets to see their friendship develop throughout the film’s duration. James and Dave Franco have such a great chemistry with each other, it is easy to forget that they are brothers in real life.
This film could be a considered a spiritual successor to Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, which also dealt with a giftedly bad movie director. While the film has a very comedic tone, it surprisingly also has some heartfelt moments throughout its runtime. Just like Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist is also a pro-artist film. It is easy to dismiss Wiseau as an eccentric, but the film shows him as a go-getter who would pursue his goals no matter what obstacles are in his way. The film also has a more grounded approach to the “follow your dreams” moral. However, the film also shows the less-than-flattering aspects of Wiseau’s personality. For example, Wiseau treated his cast and crew poorly during the filming of The Room because of his delusions of grandeur as a director. As I have mentioned before, Franco manages to show both the good and bad sides of Wiseau’s personality.
The Room has a devoted cult following amongst cinephiles as a “so-bad-it’s good” movie because of its nonsensical nature. The good thing about this film is that you do not need to watch The Room (or read Sestero’s book of the same name) to enjoy it. However, it will enhance the experience as a lot of the humor relates to The Room.
Just like Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist is a great film about a giftedly bad director. Franco manages to humanize the otherwise alien Wiseau. He also manages to show the odd friendship between Sestero and Wiseau. Franco deserves an Best Actor Oscar nomination at the very least for his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau.