News and Reviews


GADFLY OF THE 60'S GETTING HIS DUE by A.O. Scott  | The New York Times, October 18, 2011

“Paul Goodman Changed My Life” pays tribute to a man — poet, teacher, social critic, guru without portfolio — whose name was once a household word and whose books were talismans of intellectual seriousness and social concern. His current obscurity is something this documentary, directed by Jonathan Lee and including eloquent testimony from friends, family and admirers, is determined to overcome."


PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE by Roger Ebert  | Chicago Sun-Times, December 21, 2011

““Paul Goodman Changed My Life“ is a documentary about a man who changed mine. Now Largely forgotten, Paul Goodman (1911-1972) was an omnipresent influence on young people in the 1960s. His book Growing Up Absurd (1960) a radical critique of how America raises its young men, was an improbable best-seller from the day it was published, predicting and influencing the SixtiesGeneration.”


GETTING TO KNOW PAUL GOODMAN by Harvey Blume | The Arts Fuse, January 4, 2012

“Unlike some reviewers of this fine documentary (Roger Ebert, for one) and quite a few participants in it (including Living Theatre co-founder Judith Malina, and Susan Sontag, who calls Goodman a role-model), I can’t say that Paul Goodman (1911-1972) changed my life. I grew up absurd without the consolation or counsel reading him might have afforded.”


PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY  LIFE by Mark Holcomb | The Village Voice, October 19, 2011

“The most influential 20th-century thinker you’ve probably never heard of.... As bluntly humanist and free-ranging as its subject.... There’s more of a need for Paul Goodmans than ever.”


FREE RADICAL by Jacob Silverman | Tablet Magazine, October 19th, 2011

"In the 1940s and ’50s, the writer Paul Goodman struck a peculiar figure in the world of the New York Intellectuals. With a corncob pipe, horn-rimmed glasses, ever-furrowed brow, mop of brown hair, and sharp iceberg of a nose, he didn’t look to be much out of place. (Geoffrey Rush could play him in a biopic.) But Goodman was also openly bisexual, a fiercely independent spirit whose commitment to democratic values and sympathy for young people’s concerns made him an oracle to the New Left. Though largely forgotten today—most of his more than 40 books are out of print—Goodman was not only a seminal figure in 1960s radicalism but also one of the country’s most galvanizing social critics, a minor celebrity, a novelist, poet and avant-garde dramatist, and a stirring orator. He may also have been a kind of genius."


RECOUNTING FORGOTTEN MAN ON THE ATTACK  by Richard B. Woodward | The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2011

"In his fascinating documentary, "Paul Goodman Saved My Life," opening Wednesday for two week at Film Forum, first-time director Jonathan Lee attempts to remedy the present amnesia about this provocative, maddening, complex and divisive figure. The tagline puts it well: "a film about the most influential man you never heard of."


FILM REVIEW: PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE by David Noh | Film Journal International, October 18th, 2011

"How one wishes those determined but somewhat directionless Wall Street protesters (as of this posting) could be all shown Paul Goodman Changed My Life ...

In the opening scene, a clip from William F. Buckley’s television show “Firing Line,” that lofty pundit describes his guest, Goodman, as among other things, “a pacifist, a bisexualist, a poverty cultist, an anarchist.” Goodman expresses an objection only to “poverty cultist,” but the man was in fact so much more."



"Once upon a time, there was something called a “public intellectual,” and writer/pacifist/political radical/bisexual Paul Goodman was practically its template. Brilliant and witty, a New Left guru and regular TV presence on shows like William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, Goodman was particularly famous thanks to his enormously influential 1959 book, Growing Up Absurd, in which he argued that society was so morally corrupt, youthful rebellion and disaffection actually signified mental health."


ABSURD 60'S THINKER GETS HIS DUE by V.A. Musetto | New York Post, October 18th, 2011

"Lee’s well-thought-out documentary combines vintage and new interviews with the activist’s fans, relatives and lovers. Lee also gives Goodman’s detractors room to complain about his shabby treatment of his family and his condescension toward women. But no matter what people say about the abrasive intellectual, who was 60 when he died of a heart attack in 1972, there’s no denying that he had an vast influence on public discourse in the ’60s."


GROWING UP ABSURD: THE PAUL GOODMAN STORY by Dan Callahan | The L Magazine, October 11, 2011

“[Paul Goodman is] worth connecting or re-connecting with.... it is this cheering idea of him as utopian sexual and societal prophet that Lee’s film brings back most seductively.”


WHO WAS PAUL GOODMAN? by George Robinson | Jewish Week, September 5, 2011

“In the end, Paul Goodman Changed My Life is a bittersweet film, freighted with a melancholy not unlike its protagonist’s, hoping and working for a better world, but uncertain of a future run by fallible human beings. If Lee seems to be actively urging his audience to bring Goodman’s writings and thought back into the forefront of public debate, that’s not at all a bad thing. As an old movie ad campaign said the year after Goodman’s death, boy do we need it now.”


PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE by Ronnie Scheib | Variety, August 15, 2011

“Philosopher, poet, sociologist, pacifist, psychologist, writer, anarchist, open bisexual and spokesperson for a generation, Paul Goodman ranked among the most influential thinkers in the latter half of the 20th century. In his biodoc "Paul Goodman Changed My Life," helmer Jonathan Lee interviews a slew of artists and literati for whom Goodman stood as a seminal figure, while showcasing his famously intransigent personality in excerpts from his public appearances. Skedded to bow at Gotham's Film Forum in October, the docu will reawaken interest in a fascinating, multifaceted figure when it makes the arthouse rounds."



I was thrilled to see a new film on one of my heroes (and I am a woman of few heroes, it must be admitted), the great writer and thinker Paul Goodman, who died in 1972. Watching Jonathan Lee’s Paul Goodman Changed My Life was like spending an hour and half in the company of an open flame, radiating verbal brilliance. Goodman’s incandescent intelligence knocks me off my feet every time I encounter his writing; to see so much of the man and his times on film adds immeasurably to the blaze.


A REPORT BACK ON THE MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL by the Lowell Film Collaborative | July 18, 2011

“A detailed and personal look into the fascinating and complicated life of poet, writer, activist, and anarchist Paul Goodman.”



"The planet needs more horny Jewish intellectuals like Paul Goodman, who chased great numbers of men and women throughout the United States from 1911 through 1972, acted post-gay before most people were even talking about "gay," and unabashedly lived a married-but-polyamorous life long before polyamory became edgy."


DOC A NOD TO 'PAUL GOODMAN' by Jim Slotek, QMI Agency, in the Toronto Sun | Dec 9, 2011 

"There are documentaries that flesh out people you've already heard of. And then there are the more problematic ones, about once-influential personalities who are all but forgotten." 


ANARCHIST IN TWEEDS by Rick Levin, in the Eugene Weekly | Dec 8, 2011

" A new documentary by Jonatha Lee, Paul Goodman Changed My Life, is a lovely introduction to an utterly unclassifiable individual who served as an early icon for those who rejected the conformity, coercion and corruption of post-war consumer America. An inspiration to the New Left and co-founder of Gestalt Therapy, an early voice against the Vietnam War and a proudly out bisexual, Goodman was one of his generation’s most charismatic and polarizing figures."






BEYOND THE PALE | WBAI, October 9, 2011

Marilyn Neimark interviews director Jonathan Lee.


"Zeitgeist Films has acquired North American rights to “Paul Goodman Changed My Life,” a documentary by Jonathan Lee about one of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers ... A fall premiere at New York’s Film Forum is scheduled. A national release will follow."