Thursday, May 5, 2005

All the Real Girls

Amazing.  I really liked this film.  First off, the director, David Gordon Green is remarkable.  He has his own unique style, and his thoughts on moviemaking coincide with my own.  He doesn’t try to do the traditional Hollywood thing of having a smooth beginning, middle, and ending wrapped up neatly in a nice bow.  He presents real emotions and shows beautiful imagery and leaves his audience with something to think about.  A challenging director, perhaps, to some circles, but I think he accomplishes something special.  His first film George Washington blew me away.  It’s simple, yet so different.  There really isn’t a strong narrative, but more so montages of the lives of a group of rural kids.  Green doesn’t use all trained actors and actresses in his cast, either.  He likes to use real people because their conversation is more realistic in that there are pauses, mistakes, and moments of awkward silence.  He utilizes this technique again in All the Real Girls.

The movie itself deals with a young man named Paul (played by Paul Schneider) who falls for his best friend’s younger sister Noel (played exceptionally well by Zooey Deschanel).  Paul and Noel begin spending more time together, but Noel’s brother Tip is worried that she’ll get hurt creating a bit of a volatile situation between the three parties involved.  Much like his first film, Green uses his scenes like montages.  We’ll go from Paul and his buddies sitting around a diner ordering food, to an intimate scene in bed between Paul and Noel, to Paul’s mom dressed as a clown dancing for hospitalized children.  We’re even occasionally shown random shots of scenic beauty, like the sky above or water flowing in creaks, and an especially memorable shot of a two-legged dog walking under the hot sun.

When the relationship takes a turn for the worst, the movie picks up.  Things get ugly quickly, and the actors did a fine job of showing the emotions involved when someone gets hurt.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a few scenes of love (including a personal favorite involving a hot tub) between the two that are played with a youthful enthusiasm that is infectious.  The chemistry between the two characters is engaging.  One particular supporting character named Bust-Ass (played comically by Danny McBride) is a lot of fun.  Overall, the movie itself is really solid.  The central love story is involving, and the background characters are absorbing as well.  Green’s style of filmmaking isn’t for everyone, his love for real people and rural landscapes isn’t exactly commercial, but he has a genuine talent at his craft.  I strongly recommend giving this film a try, especially for anyone who’s ever been involved in young love, which is most of us.  I think it accurately depicts some of the sacrifices, confusion, anguish, and exultant joy of being young and finding yourself amidst finding love.

There’s real warmth in the way Green does his films.  It seems like he has a lot of heart, and he seems intent on sharing these rural stories not typically given airtime.  There are some running themes in his work, a lot dealing with the inherent good inside people.  He likes showing working class people and rural environments, and celebrates them.  Coming from a small town myself, I can sympathize and relate to a lot of the characters and scenarios in this film.  I think it’s about time a fresh new voice in cinema ushers in a different and bold type of film, and I believe David Gordon Green is capable of just that.

The DVD itself is a pretty good package.  There’s a short documentary called “Improv and Ensemble: The Evolution of a Film” that features some interview clips and scenes.  I found it informative, learning a bit about how the story got started by two college seniors discussing heartache and pouring it into a script.  David Gordon Green also speaks a lot, and gives some of his views on the movie and filmmaking, which are insightful into his perspective.  There are some deleted scenes, too.  My favorite is when Bust-Ass tries to get his cousin to marry him, and then he propositions her for sex after bringing her a drink at a bar.  There’s a trailer for the film, as well as a trailer for Love Liza.  Ending out the special features is a commentary track featuring some entertaining antic dotes.  In closing, I think it’s a pretty deep film with some human qualities, and is a lot more realistic in comparison with most Hollywood romances.  Bravo to David Gordon Green on another well-done film.  I look forward to his future works.

Overall Grade: A+ 

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