‘The Apprentice’ Trump Biopic Splits Critics: Reactions Range From ‘Pointless’ to ‘Provocative’ With a ‘Strong Thesis’

One viewer out of Cannes enthuses that Sebastian Stan’s performance as the former president exceeds expectations

"The Apprentice" (Credit: Festival de Cannes)

The Donald Trump biopic “The Apprentice” landed at Cannes on Monday, tracking the former president’s rise the former president in the New York real estate world, and critics and journalists had a lot to say. Some applauded the film for its strong performances, while others felt it was a lackluster flick that spoon-fed its audience old information about the former president.

“‘The Apprentice is woefully bad — and worse, pointless,” New York Times editor Karl Delossantos tweeted on X (formerly Twitter). “A melange of Wikipedia plot points mixed with Donald Trump sound bites we’ve heard a thousand times that feel forced in. SNL was a more incisive portrayal of Trump. A frankly embarrassing effort.”

That was one takeaway from the journalist community, while That Shelf film critic Jason Gorber had more positive words for the film, describing it as an “Origin story for the Orange one, the relationship between Master and Student revealed with a darkly comedic bent and Shakespearean tragic scope. Beautifully acted, terrific production design, a deep and provocative film that still manages to humanize.”

Film critic Brother Bro said “The Apprentice” provided more perspective on Trump’s background and personality.

“Really liked The Apprentice! Sebastian Stan’s performance exceeded my expectations,” he wrote on X. “Left feeling like this was a truthful dive into the ethos that guides Trump and of corruption in general. Kinda spoon-feeds you, but it had a strong thesis and was well done.”

“The Apprentice” was written by Gabriel Sherman and directed by Ali Abbasi. It takes a look into the the life and career of Donald Trump working as a real estate businessman in New York during the 1970s and the ’80s, supported by lawyer Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong). The cast includes Stan, Strong, Maria Bakalova and Martin Donovan.

Check out more of the responses to the film below:


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