Several years late to this ep but just watched the film and feel the spirit stirring within. Essentially I think the arguments for the suckiness of the film boil down to:
First, many taking offensive about Oldman's casting as a dwarf. Second, a cluster of complaints with a similar source:
1) Incoherent transitions; 2) Arbitrary, barely connected Dinklage/Arquette story; 3) Poor song, score, foley, etc. selections; 4) Most of all, no throughline to a plot. Add in 5) Disconcerting, apparently unearned and inexplicable endpoint.
The first, I would hazard this answer to, though with a professed ignorance about dwarfism and little person cultural standards. The film argues strenuously that dwarfism is a type of identity centered around negotiating a) real physical difference, including genuine biological suffering that may entail pain up to and including premature death; and b ) a cultural aspect of combating ignorance/prejudice/discrimination. So the question: Can no actor play a character outside their physical characteristics? And can no actor play a character outside their cultural grouping? I've never heard complaints about Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown, or Russell Crowe as John Nash (in the former category); I' don't recall much fuss about Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, or Donovan Jr. as Hedwig, etc (in the latter category). I found the performance very sensitive and empathetic; like the above mentioned perfomances by others, that goes a long way to deterring charges that it is in someone a variation on "blackface"--which explicitly means to mock, belittle, undermine and otherize.
Second: The terrible flaws of the film, in my mind, are the second group. They make it look beyond amateurish but incompetent at points. What do they all have in common? Post-production. Editors who are morons, or who are controlled by moron producers, would be the ones to pin these problems on, especially since we know the director was removed from the process.
There are really tremendous performances here. Everyone mentions Oldman but I have to wonder if the people who decided to give McConaughey a second chance circa 2009-2010 hadn't seen this, because he did not display much ability in his other films of this period. Beckinsale, also, impressed me. Terrible at first but by the end, probably the best work I've seen her do. (I will agree Dinklage was out there and could have used a few notes on Maurice). That said, the strong scenes are little islands in a sea of incoherence.
I read that Dinklage says the director's cut was gorgeous. I believe it. I bet somewhere on a shelf in Bright's study are a few great cans of film (hard drive?). It's frustrating to get so many tantalizing tibdits of it, embedded in a lumpy gelatin mold. Here's hoping the real thing gets out to us someday.