Susan Sarandon Slams New York Times Review of Son's Film: "So Unprofessional"

Jack Henry Robbins  inset of VHYES-Getty-H 2020
Rick Kern/Getty Images; Courtesy of Oscilloscope

The New York Times review of Jack Henry Robbins’ latest film, VHYes, opens with a dig — “barely 72 minutes long, but that’s just one reason this outlandish picture barely qualifies as a feature … it’s almost halfway through before anything approximating a story emerges; even then, it’s such a pale, sickly thing you’d be forgiven for thinking you had imagined it” — and the cuts only get deeper.

But it’s the ending that caught Susan Sarandon’s attention.

Reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis questions how “a collage of meaningless nostalgia” ever found its way into a movie theater in the first place before answering her own question: “Though I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that two of its actors, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, are also the director’s parents.” Not so fast, says Sarandon.

“This woman was so unprofessional and obviously knows so little about the business,” the proud mother told THR Jan. 30 during shoe designer Roger Vivier’s fete for his brand’s third short film Abracashoes! at Chateau Marmont. “I have a film that couldn’t get distribution. Tim has a film that couldn’t get distribution. She obviously doesn’t know anything about how this business works. But also it was very mean.”

Though it’s unclear what films of the famous former couple are still up for grabs, Sarandon’s Blackbird from director Roger Michell has not U.S. release date despite premiering at 2019’s Toronto International Film Festival, while the Tim Robbins-directed documentary 45 Seconds of Laughter never found a home despite festival showings in Venice and New York.

Sarandon was quick to point out that her son “has a good sense of humor” about the bad ink: “He’s framing it just to keep them humble in the future.”

He could create a gallery with the positive ones. VHYes is currently sitting at 79 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and during its opening weekend run Jan. 10-12, his film — which received praise from THR critic John DeFore for its nostalgic feats that beg for midnight-movie consumption — sold out every showing at downtown L.A.’s Alamo Drafthouse. “I’ve been very happy for him because it was such an original idea and it’s so much fun. I am always happy to do anything [with him]. I was in his student films. The most wonderful thing you can do is to do any kind of a creative thing with people that you love.” 

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.