Chris Pine Poolman
Chris Pine in Poolman, Vertical

Yeah, Chris Pine has read the reviews for his directorial debut Poolman, and he knows they aren’t glowing. But he’s not letting the haters get him down.

“I watched my film. After the reviews in Toronto I was like maybe I did make a pile of s—,” Pine said Thursday on the Happy Sad Confused podcast hosted by Josh Horowitz. “I went back and watched it. I f—ing love this film. I love this film so much.”

The movie, written, directed by and starring Pine, arrives in theaters Friday. It follows him as a Los Angeles pool cleaner named Darren Barrenman who is approached by a beautiful and mysterious woman to help expose corruption in a shady business deal.

In addition to Pine, other cast members including Danny DeVito, Annette Bening, DeWanda Wise, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Arian DeBose, and Clancy Brown.

Judging from the trailer alone, it’s full of some zingers:

“I’m climbing a tree into a canopy of lies, Diane,” Pine’s Darren tells Bening’s character.

What Did the Critics Say About Chris Pine’s Poolman?

But critics didn’t all love it. The New York Times‘ recent review is titled “In the Sun Too Long,” if that gives you a sense of the vibe — and it adds that the film was “savaged” when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. It has a dismal 19% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.

Also Read: Ethan Hawke Tells Young People to Watch Old Movies: ‘It’s on Your Damn Phone, Watch It!’

IndieWire‘s TIFF review called it “disastrous” and boldly declared that “Pine’s paranoid noir satire will likely go down as one of the worst films to play at any major festival in recent memory.”

But Pine has decided that, despite what critics say, he still likes his movie and will continue to stand by it.

“When the film came out at Toronto and just got f—ing panned … I tried to make a joyful film,” Pine said on the podcast. “With so much joy behind it, to then be met with a fusillade of not-so-joyous stuff … the cognitive dissonance there was quite something.”

Still, he’s found a way to be grateful for the bad reviews.

“It’s ultimately been the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” he added. “It’s forced me to double down on joy and really double down on what I love most about my job, which you kind of forget, it’s fundamentally about play. You become children for hours a day and make believe. There’s an impish quality that I don’t want to lose.”

He continues: “In the reframing of it … one of my favorite quotes is in Latin and it’s ‘vigor grows from the wound,’” Pine said. “In everything that feels like a setback, yes there is the hurt of the cut, but as the scar tissue forms and the healing process happens you do benefit from a growth in resilience.”

Pine’s Latin phrase reminds us of that pigeon Latin term in The Handmaid’s Tale: Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum.

Being so wrapped up in the film left him feeling “utterly naked,” he added.

“Criticism as an actor is just a part of the game, but there’s a lot of stuff to hide behind. There’s the director and the writer and the release pattern, etc.,” Pine said.

“As an actor, you come on set and you do your dance and you go off and by the time the film comes out you’ve done X amount of other projects. The closest thing I would imagine this is like — co-writing, directing, and starring in — is a stand-up comedian on stage feeling utterly naked. It’s been a real come-to-Jesus moment to seeing how resilient I am. I fully own the deep hurt of that process.”

Poolman arrives in theaters on Friday.

Main Image: Chris Pine in Poolman, Vertical