A portrait of a renegade artist breaking down barriers to find love and redemption, HOWL follows the young Allen Ginsberg (James Franco) on an imaginative ride through the creation of the prophetic masterpiece that rocked a generation, the poem "Howl." Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, "Howl" is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Jon Hamm) argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams and Alessandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban). (Note adapted from Oscilloscope Laboratories.) DIR/SCR/PROD Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman; PROD Elizabeth Redleaf, Christine K. Walker. U.S., 2010, color, 85 min. RATED R
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