Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
All the Real Girls
Love is a puzzle. These are the pieces.
In a small North Carolina town, Paul, a womanizer, meets Noel, a confused intellectual returning home for the first time in years since she left for boarding school. The film depicts the typical romance of a good girl and a bad boy, in an interesting way.
"If anybody smiles at me ever again, I'm going to freak out."
Where as George Washington is about being a child, All the Real Girls is about being in love. It is a simple film that deals with all the complexities that come with being in love. The performances by everyone are superb, with Zooey Deschanel giving the best performance she has ever given. Her role here is a far cry from what she is doing now, and I cannot imagine the (500) Days of Summer Deschanel every doing a role like this. It is too bad that she didn't continue on the course of being a serious actress, as I bet she would have a little golden man sitting on her mantel by now.
Anyway, I love hanging with the characters in this film, I love watching David Gordon Green's direction, and I just love spending time in this world.
So Zooey Deschanel can act. I mean, she's not mind blowing in this, but there wasn't a goddamned quirk in sight. I'm pleasantly surprised. It's weird to watch this now as three of its leads have all been significant parts of recent sitcoms, for better or worse, yet they are giving more or less decent dramatic performances here. (A fourth lead is featured in a major HBO drama that I don't watch and thus can't much comment on, but I think his character's dead at this point.)
Anyway. This sort of hit a couple too many stereotypical romance points on its way to a fine ending, but it executed most of them well enough. I worried for a bit that…
This is how you start off a new year. DGG is rocketing up my list of favorite directors. There's something about this movie.. it kind of floats around like a dream from scene to scene, at times without quite making sense how we got there, but at the same time it all feels so real. No iron lock could keep the truth in here contained. It seeps through cracks all over the place and you just know it's real.
I'd only ever seen one of David Gordon Green's film, Your Highness, a film so full of knob jokes I could feel my IQ dropping as I watched it. This film from 2003 however had a good reputation despite the presence of self-styled "manic pixie dream-girl" Zooey Deschanel.
A refreshingly honest account of a young girl's first brush with love, this is a slow-burning film with plenty of intimate scenes that for once prove that Deschanel really can act. When her brother's best friend shows an interest in her after she returns to their North Carolina small town, there is more said with looks than with words. Her virginal good girl who falls for a small town womanizer starts well…
Does anyone have the phone number for The Criterion Collection?
I dunno. David Gordon Green's (good) films just cast a spell over you. At least for me they do. David Wingo, the guy behind the soundtrack, definitely helps with that too.
But my god.
"All The Real Girls" is a simple, profound film, if that even makes sense.
It basically is the definition of love. If they added another number to the word "Love" in the dictionary, the definition would just be "All The Real Girls". Seriously. It captures it beyond comprehension.
Maybe even better than the "Before" trilogy. And when I say that, I mean this film covers the complexities and ins and outs of love much deeper than the "Before" films do. However I think the 1st and…
Not sure about real girls, I didn't feel that anyone was real in this strange rom-com. As I watched it my main thought was "what a load of tosh", which is fairly inarticulate but my brain feels fried after sitting through that so I shall leave it there.
Sort of like George Washington grown up. The same small town, still deserted. The same lonely souls, still lost. A lot of scenes fade to black to remind us we're just seeing fragments of these characters lives, not their full selves. The tranquility of the beautiful shots of the small town mean the film never feels like it rises above a whisper. The trees slowly rock side to side in the wind, colours don't burst free but stay humming in the background as Paul and Noel discover each other, trying to put the pieces together. DGG knows that love isn't simple, stupid mistakes happen and don't have obvious answers or explanations. People are flawed and are destined to fuck up.…
All the Real Girls is a about small-town America, and captures an innocence and simplicity that other movies rarely achieve. Set in a small North Carolina mill town, what might have been a small-town romantic comedy / drama in the American heartland tradition turns out to be a bumpy ride, much like real life. The camera lingers on the characters and the dialogue shakes your emotions. Playing like the celluloid equivalent of a Bruce Springsteen song, the film's stories and characters might have been lifted from his lyrics. While North Carolina is not New Jersey and nobody in this film is driving out on Thunder Road, Director David Gordon Green must have listened to Springsteen at some point, because there…
Still Zooey Deschanel's best performance. Captures the essence of first love like no other film I can think of. DGG just knows how to film a way of life and build tension out of the mundane. And Paul Schneider... I've seen about 8 or 9 films of his - most were okay... he was awful in Parks and Rec... but between this, George Washington, Lars and the Real Girl and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, he probably cracks my top 10 favs.
And with that I've now watched every David Gordon Green film (with rewatches of Snow Angels and Your Highness happening soon). DGG's filmography is an odd one - he tries so many different techniques and genres that it is hard to pin down what represents him as a filmmaker. All the Real Girls, and the others I've watched in the last week, certainly doesn't help that picture.
All the Real Girls is an episodic love story, told over an extended period and in chunks, it feels like it is missing a connected narrative heart that can keep it beating. Most individual scenes feel realistic, especially when it contains Zooey Deschanel, and DGG mines this constantly for emotional effect. As an…
I was chiefly impressed by the way this film was shot; a stunning depiction of North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains and a small post-industrial town that feels utterly real and utterly evocative of small town America. The music is also very well chosen - I don't go a bundle on Americana recently but it captures the mood well.
The depiction of the central love story involving a then far less well known Zooey Deschanel is so-so in its depiction though - sympathy for Paul Schneider's character is really strained.
Zooey Deschanel really expands her acting chops here.
Affecting, sparse indie from the days when David Gordon Green was still primed to become The Next Big Thing and not "the director of Your Highness and The Sitter. It's easy to see why: this film and George Washington share a strong sense of place, keen observation of those who populate said place, and a loose, exposition-light vibe. There are Malickian shades, but it examines nothing so serious or fundamental as the things Malick explores. Mostly, it's a slice of small southern town life, of the places people go, the things people do, and the people they spend time with for lack of better options. It's also a coming-of-age tale on a few levels (and a few ages!), but not…
this movie demolished my heart.
In early June, 2013, my best friend killed herself.
She took a cab to the middle of nowhere and vanished,…
"Mumblecore is the sole significant American indie film wave of the last 20 years to have emerged outside the ecosystem…