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HD   NR Closed Captioning

Gary Hustwit

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Plot Summary

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type. Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day. Interviewees in Helvetica include some of the most illustrious and innovative names in the design world, including Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, Lars Muller, and many more.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 17
  • Fresh: 15
  • Rotten: 2
  • Average Rating: 7.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Overlong but fascinating, Gary Hustwit's documentary posits Helvetica, a sans-serif typeface developed in 1957. – Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: Even viewers who've never given a serif a second thought are in for an exclamation point of joy from such a well-designed doc. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Helvetica keenly distills the eternal aesthetic battle between the classical and the baroque and explores what happens when a revolution goes mainstream. – Julia Wallace, Village Voice, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: By rounding up a great group of eloquent obsessives eager to explain their feelings about a font, Hustwit has come up with 80 unexpectedly blissful minutes. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Exceptionally Good Documentary

Glad this one finally made it to iTunes; it was an underground flick for quite some time. An essential purchase for anyone working in the design industry and it has plenty of information for the layperson too. You'll never look at the world the same way again--guaranteed.

Just a bunch of interviews

I wanted to love this movie. I am interested in design and typography, so I found the information presented interesting. However, as a film, it is mediocre. Gary Hustwit simply stitches together a bunch of interviews without any narrative to tie the whole thing together. It isn't really a film, it's just a series of interviews. Most of the raves for this film are for its subject matter and not for its presentation.

A Movie About Design That Anyone Can Enjoy

I'm not a font geek, but this movie completely changed the way I look at type and design.

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Customer Ratings

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