A memoir by the controversial, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter about his privileged New York upbringing, volunteering for combat, and his struggles and triumphs making such landmark films as Platoon, Midnight Express, and Scarface.
... turns out to be a surprisingly sober and cleareyed portrait of a rabble-rouser as a young man. It’s sure to tick off some people, like the actor James Woods, who likely won’t be thrilled with the bit about his constant whining on the set of Salvador. But for the most part the Oliver Stone depicted in these pages — vulnerable, introspective, stubbornly tenacious and frequently heartbroken — may just be the most sympathetic character he’s ever written ... For a screenwriter, Stone has a notably languid and elegant prose style — at times downright novelistic — even if some passages can be rough to read ... What’s more unexpected, though, is how engaging a tale he spins out of his early family life in Connecticut and New York, particularly his odd-couple parents ... of course, the real payoff here, particularly for movie buffs, is Stone’s account of his early struggles as a filmmaker ... Although he doesn’t delve too deeply into his drug use or sexual adventures (he writes about his ex-wives with warmth and respect), he doesn’t whitewash his excesses either ... His decision to end the memoir on Oscar night 1987 does feel a bit abrupt — there’s just so much more one wants to read about ... neatly sets the stage for the possibility of that rarest of Stone productions: a sequel.
... extravagant ... [Stone's] biggest, boldest book yet ... No matter what he makes, Stone is always in your face, whether 'you' are the moviegoer, the reader, or the observer watching his wild antics in the mass media that has helped to make him the celebrity he is today ... Namby-pambies might not want to read Stone’s autobiography. Those who don’t want their cages rattled might also aim to avoid it. But troublemakers might find Chasing the Light precisely the kind of book that will energize, embolden, and arm their spirit ... Stone is big enough and self-confident enough to include the comments of his severest critics ... Stone has poured his own oversized contradictions into his autobiography ... When he describes the actual creative process he can be exceedingly helpful.
Stone knows how to grab a viewing audience—and readers ... Stone recounts his life of ups and downs well; besides being an accomplished screenwriter, he’s also a fine prose writer ... In the often tacky world of movie memoirs, Stone’s will stand out for its hard-earned insights, integrity, and grace.