The film was entered into the Cannes Film Festival. A war of words then erupted between Gallo and film critic Roger Ebert , with Ebert writing that The Brown Bunny was the worst film in the history of Cannes, and Gallo retorting by calling Ebert a "fat pig with the physique of a slave trader.
In response, Ebert quipped that watching a video of his colonoscopy had been more entertaining than watching The Brown Bunny. He also conceded to finding Ebert's colonoscopy comment to be an amusing comeback. The new version was regarded more highly by some, even Ebert, who gave the new cut three stars out of a possible four. In a column published about the same time, Ebert reported that he and Gallo had made peace. And in the process he transformed it. The film's form and purpose now emerge from the miasma of the original cut, and are quietly, sadly, effective.
It is said that editing is the soul of the cinema; in the case of The Brown Bunny, it is its salvation. The site's consensus states "More dull than hypnotic, The Brown Bunny is a pretentious and self-indulgent bore.
Neva Chonin of the San Francisco Chronicle called it "a somber poem of a film sure to frustrate those who prefer resolution to ambiguity When you see the film, it makes more sense. It's an art film. It should be playing in museums.
It's like an Andy Warhol movie. A source there reportedly said, "The scene was one step above pornography , and not a very big one. William Morris now feels that her career is tainted and may never recover, especially after rumors began circulating about the even more graphic outtakes that didn't make it into the actual film. Despite the negative backlash toward Sevigny's involvement in the film, some critics praised her decision.
New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis said: But give the woman credit. Actresses have been asked and even bullied into performing similar acts for filmmakers since the movies began, usually behind closed doors.
Sevigny isn't hiding behind anyone's desk. She says her lines with feeling and puts her iconoclasm right out there where everyone can see it; she may be nuts, but she's also unforgettable.
There are a lot of emotions. I'll probably have to go to therapy at some point. But I love Vincent. The film is tragic and beautiful, and I'm proud of it and my performance. I'm sad that people think one way of the movie, but what can you do?
I've done many explicit sex scenes, but I'm not that interested in doing any more. I'm more self-aware now and wouldn't be able to be as free, so why even do it?
The billboard featured a black-and-white image taken from the fellatio sequence,  drawing complaints from residents and business owners. The image showed Gallo standing with Sevigny on her knees, but did not show any explicit sexual content. It was eventually removed nonetheless.