Preview by: Jack Foley
THE Sundance Film Festival continues to deliver the best independent
movies of any given year. Having already previewed the likes of
and Confidence, we now turn
our attentions to All The Real Girls, a genuinely affecting love
story which picked up the Special Jury Prize for Emotional Truth.
Set in a small town somewhere in the south of America, the film
is the story of a smalltown Lothario (Paul Schneider) who falls
in love with the little sister (Zooey Deschanel) of his best friend,
Tip (Shea Whigham) after years spent sowing his seeds with virtually
every other girl in town.
Written and directed by David Gordon Green, the film represents
a genuine attempt to film a 'believable' love story and, together
with his critically-acclaimed debut, George Washington, marks
the 27-year-old filmmaker as one to watch in the coming years.
Aside from its success at Sundance, All the Real Girls has taken
critics in America by storm, being awarded some glowing reviews
when it opened a couple of weeks ago in a limited number of cinemas.
Green, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, insists that
he wanted to make something that felt real, but that wasn't negative
or about the dark things in life.
"I wanted to reflect my own personal turmoil of a guy who
makes mistakes but whose heart is trying," he states. "Creating
that kind of emotion with your actors is the most exciting, rewarding
thing you can possibly do."
Green has been a huge film fan since childhood, so much so that
he claims to be the first ever member of Blockbuster. He maintains
that the first video rental store went up in Dallas, in his neighbourhood,
and he was in the queue to join a full hour and a half before
He remains hopelessly attracted to the American films of the
1970s and claims that every sensibility he has, about performance,
editing, narrative structure, music, comes from there.
"These are the films I respond to emotionally 100%. They
take human instinct into consideration," he explains.
Having learned about the filmmaking process at the North Carolina
School of the Arts, Green then went out and made George Washington
for a mere $50,000, using the people he went to school with. Ironically,
despite the critical acclaim it has since attracted, it was turned
down for the Sundance Film Festival of its year.
However, undeterred, Green returned to largely the same group
for All the Real Girls, which was made for a more respectable
$1 million, and appears to have hit the jackpot in terms of the
exposure it has now given him.
Having entered an impressive number of top 10 lists in 2000 for
his debut, the smart money is now on the director repeating the
trick with his latest.
to read the full LA Times article...
What the US critics thought...
Entertainment Weekly, as usual, leads this round-up, by
declaring that All the Real Girls 'is a revelation in its ability
to capture how love really feels - which is to say, like a blur,
like an assemblage, like a collage of revisited moments, mixed-up
feelings, and disjointed details that defy linear narrative'.
It awarded the film an A and went on to rave: "This fresh,
stirring movie by David Gordon Green, about a couple of young
people temporarily head over heels about each other, defies linear
narrative, and everybody else's idea of narrative, too. It's thrillingly
original, lyrical, and wise, and the filmmaker conveys the mutable
intensity of young love with the authoritative originality of
an important filmmaker." (Click here
for the full review).
E! Online, meanwhile, awared it a B+ and declared that
'it's real alright', while FilmCritic.com awarded it four
out of five and described it as 'a sumptuous romance that pulsates
with the passionate ecstasy of the smitten heart'.
Having already featured extracts from the Los Angeles Times
interview with Green, it is only fair to add that the newspaper
had this to say about the film itself - 'a sad love story that's
insightful at its core'.
While the New York Post declared that 'it's the little
things that resonate in this tender and sincere tale of first
love', awarding it three out of four.
The New York Times, meanwhile, stated that it is 'remarkable
for its genuine, unpretentious lyricism', and The Onion's A.V
Club stated that 'Green lets images pick up where words leave
off and lets a generosity of spirit guide the film'.
Slant Magazine added to the tributes by stating that it
'demonstrates a reality that most films are either unable or afraid
Even those who posted mixed reviews found something to praise,
with Village Voice writing that 'this earnest love story
is borderline insufferable, and yet there are moments that, in
their bold incoherence, have a startling emotional truth'.
LA Weekly, on the other hand, opined that '[the director's]
calculated manner gets in the way of the honest emotion he means
Yet, overall, the negative vibe remained with a few. Hollywood
Reporter gushed, that 'his [Green's] theme is first love -
a director-slayer if ever there was one - yet Green makes it fresh,
funny and infinitely sad, as he uses this theme to open up characters
to undiscovered realms within themselves'.
The final two words, however, go to the San Francisco Chronicle,
which described All the Real Girls as 'a movie that eliminates
Hollywood gloss and pop cliches - and in their place offers an
honest look at young love and its pitfalls', and to the San
Diego Union Tribune, which concluded 'this is a real deal
about people of interest, and filmmaker Green is truly ripening'.
Keep hitting these pages to discover our verdict when the film
is released later this year...