Why Uncut Gems Was Not The Movie For Me


Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems. Photo via GabboT.

Lara Spijkerman, News Editor

Rotten tomatoes: 92 percent.

IMDb: 8/10.

Empire: 5/5.

Lara Spijkerman: 4/10

If you’re unaware of the basic premise of the movie Uncut Gems, here it is: Adam Sandler plays a jeweler named Howard Ratner who owns a jewel shop in New York. He’s quite entrepreneurial, yet he has a gambling addiction and is in debt to loan sharks for $100,000. At the beginning of the movie, Ratner receives a rare black opal from Ethiopia and uses this, his connections to famous basketball players (especially Kevin Garnett) and gambling to attempt to make the $100,000 back.

Before I trash the movie, I will make some concessions before I dive in. While I didn’t enjoy the movie, Adam Sandler’s performance is phenomenal. It’s remarkable how Sandler has built his career in the realm of comedy, with a large part of his audience being children, and is able to embody the character of a screw-up jewel dealer, who uses several curse-words every sentence, so well. No matter how much I disliked the movie, I can’t take this away from the man. Idina Menzel, the voice of Elsa in Frozen, plays Sandler’s ex-wife, and I enjoyed seeing a Disney princess use cuss-words as

Kevin Garnett also stars as himself in Uncut Gems. Photo via enelem.

well. In fact, all of the actors are spectacular. Their performances are believable and I have no qualms with any of them. The actors playing mobsters are believable mobsters. The actors playing children are believable children. Even Kevin Garnett, a former basketball player for the Boston Celtics, delivers a believable performance.

The movie also has an incredible plot-twist ending that was incredibly tempting in making my rating a 5/10; however, even the plot-twist doesn’t make up for the plot.

I enjoyed the acting; I enjoyed the ending; I just couldn’t get over how incredibly frustrating the plot is. I wouldn’t consider myself an overly-uptight person. I like taking risks as much as the next person; however, Howard Ratner has a problem. Ratner is an intelligent character, very charismatic and has friends in high places. He could do very well for himself, yet the plot of this movie just chronicles Ratner digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself with his gambling addiction for 135 minutes. In the rare occurrence that Ratner does win something in this movie, it’s quickly followed by Ratner losing everything again. In this respect the plot is very realistic in chronicling the life of a gambling addict. Ratner’s losses don’t just affect him but also his girlfriend, his ex-wife, his kids and his family. It’s not just upsetting that Ratner’s losing; it’s upsetting that everyone around him loses too. In order for a movie to be successful, the audience must have a relationship with the characters. Whether this is intense hatred or love, the audience needs to care about what happens to the characters. I care about Howard Ratner and that’s why the plot made me feel so angry. It’s like watching someone you care about going into a downward-spiral right in front of you.

If what I just described doesn’t bother you then I recommend you see the movie. It’s not a poor piece of cinema. However, if seeing the misfortune of others due to continuous poor decisions on their part frustrates/annoys you then I recommend you skip it.