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Art of Getting By, The (2011)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thematic elements including sexual content, language, teen drinking and partying.
Emma Roberts, Freddie Highmore , Alicia Silverstone, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Blair Underwood, Jarlath Conroy, Sasha Spielberg, Maya Ri Sanchez, Sophie Curtis
THE ART OF GETTING BY stars Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who's made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, who is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts – Scream 4), a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.
Art of Getting By, The (2011) | Review
What's The Point?
George has talent (so does Freddie) and it's lurking below the surface waiting to be used, embraced, and shared. But as in most of these coming-of-age stories, he's struggling against the problems of the adult world, like deceit, lust, unfaithfulness, and insecurity as embodied by many of the role models around him. But thankfully, they're not the only adults he he has to look up to.
Blair Underwood co-stars as the principal of George's school, who tries harder and harder to engage his most talented student to make him care, to try, and ultimately succeed. Like Underwood's principal, Alicia Silverstone's English teacher also takes a turn trying to "lead up" this young man, while, as you probably already guessed, George's parents fail him in the first step of the "indie coming-of-age" model.
The other cliches follow: Sally is precocious but unsteady, falling under the sway of Dustin (Michael Angarano), a slightly older artist who George looks up to early on. Sally makes George see that life is worth living but it's only when she hurts him that he really exhibits his artistic power. Adults are not to be trusted and teens will figure out their lives on their own.
Fans of the usual teen movies with the emo, angsty bands on the soundtrack (Mates of State, The Shins, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) will dig this film, and in the long run, it's not a hard movie to watch. George and Sally both learn something about themselves and each other. Sure, we'd like to see these kids learn it with less trial and error, less pain and suffering, but that's not really how life works, is it? We do struggle to make our way, we do wonder what's the point. And in the end, it's the love we find in community and receive from God that ultimately frees us to find ourselves and figure out who we're supposed to be. Without that, it might seem pretty pointless.
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