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Leaves of Grass (2010)

tomatometer

59

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 15

Edward Norton delivers one of his finest performances in Leaves of Grass, but he's overpowered by the movie's many jarring tonal shifts.

46

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 7

Edward Norton delivers one of his finest performances in Leaves of Grass, but he's overpowered by the movie's many jarring tonal shifts.

audience

50

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 15,135

My Rating

Movie Info

An Ivy League classics professor becomes mixed up in his lawless identical twin's drug dealings after receiving word that his brother has been murdered, and returning to Oklahoma to discover he's been hoodwinked. To say that Bill Kincaid (Edward Norton) is ashamed of his upbringing is an understatement at best. Turning his back on his working-class parents and working diligently to erase any traces of his Southern accent, Bill develops a reputation as a true scholar dedicated to excellence and

R,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Tim Blake Nelson

Oct 12, 2010

$68.0k

First Look Studios - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (15) | DVD (4)

An offbeat thriller that is deepened -- rather than derailed -- by its tricky shift from darkly funny to just plain dark.

September 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a writer-director, Nelson keeps the laughs coming at a steady pace, and never condescends to his articulate redneck characters.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Norton is a pleasure to watch, and so is everyone else.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not the violence itself that bothers me, it's just that it completely destroys the tone of the movie.

April 5, 2010 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comment (1)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You could get whiplash from his movie's mood swings.

April 5, 2010 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comment (1)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie bubbles with intellectual curiosity and narrative ambition. And for that I dig it, even if Leaves of Grass has the habit of swerving and sometimes lurching from tone to tone.

March 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

really unbalanced

January 5, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

I could only bear 35 minutes, and I haven't walked out of anything since 'You, Me and Dupree.'

October 31, 2012 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

Maybe too small-scale to be anything truly special, but an original and witty film that both surprises and entertains.

August 30, 2011 Full Review Source: The National
The National

Essentially Deliverance cross-bred with A History of Violence...Leaves of Grass is a peculiar rural yarn and a sweet, assured examination of lost innocence and brotherhood that succeeds largely because of Norton's multi-faceted performance.

February 22, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

This is a very personal film from Nelson that is jam packed with ideas and heavily influenced by the Coen Brothers...

October 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

The DVD extras give the film a boost with a well done "making-of?" featurette and a commentary of the film by director Nelson, star Norton and producer William Migliore.

October 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

It's a jarringly realistic hybrid that echoes the more surreal aspects of real, rural life, and Norton walks/ambles through it all, sporting dueling personalities and distinct accents, but one very serious heart.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Many clichés in uneven and odd mix of guffaws and philosophical analysis. . .[C]onsiderable violence surprisingly erupts...[M]ost fun is watching Norton interact with Norton.

September 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Suffice to say that Blake Nelson doesn't have the visual gifts of his Minnesotan mentors, leaving us undistracted by surface flair and fully focused on his cartoonish characters and ragged, oddly callow script.

September 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

... through it all, the two performances by Edward Norton feel natural, relaxed, utterly unlike a gimmick.

September 20, 2010 Full Review Source: HitFix
HitFix

This is Tim Blake Nelson's affectionate and curious vision of his native Oklahoma, and what he sees makes for a uniquely restless, ribald motion picture.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Tulsa World
Tulsa World

The mirror image gag is one of the oldest in the book, and yet, if done well, it never really gets old.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

Emerging director Tim Blake Nelson takes another step up with this comedy drama starring Edward Norton in what might go down as Norton's best performance yet.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

The picture loses its mind on an abrasive hunt for irreverence, twisting something securely oddball into an affected, unnecessarily toxic tale of brilliant knuckleheads living up to their Tulsa potential.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

a fitfully enjoyable but unsatisfying playground of ambition and occasional wit

April 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for Leaves of Grass

Very nearly an excellent movie: a by times funny Good Brother vs. Bad Brother story that plays into that famous Amercian trope: You Can't Go Home Again. Another project that I'd put on Edward Norton's recent Why-The-Heck-Did-You-Pick-This-One? List, but one in which he capably plays both twins - despite himself, he's remained a good actor. Where this one goes awry, I think, is in Tim Blake Nelson's desire to have it feel like a Coen Brothers film. The humour's dark, and the plot's all over the place, but the final third's zaniness kind of lost me... just in time for the predictable, cheesy love story ending. A film that's not quite sure what it wants to be, and one that's quite justly polarizing to critics and audiences alike.
July 20, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Because of this film's mixture of wild, wacky characters, crime drama, stoner comedy, nutty plot, and philosophy, it would be understandable if you confused this with being a film made by the Coen Brothers. It's not, but its writer/director/co-star Tim Blake Nelson did work with the duo, so maybe that might account for the similarities. As a Coen clone (which I don't think it's trying to be, or should be labeled as), it's okay, but it fares better when looked at on it's own terms.

Bill Kincaid (Edward Norton) is a professor of classical philosophy at Brown University whose career is at a crossroads. When he gets a call informing him that his estranged twin brother Brady- a goofy, redneck genius pot grower and seller (also played by Norton) has been murdered by a crossbow in a drug deal gone awry, he journeys home to Little Dixie , Oklahoma (the place he was happy to leave) to attend the funeral.

When he gets there though, Bill discovers that he has been misinformed, and finds himself caught up in his brother's shenanigans which not only could put them both at risk, but could also finally help Bill discover what it truly means to be happy.

Based on the concept and casting alone, I was hooked. This is a really fun, and funny movie. Nelson really knows the material well (He's from Tulsa and studied classical philosophy at Brown), so the film is actually pretty accurate, even if slightly exaggerated. The film may not be totally original (again, it's very Coenesque at times), but it's well played, and never boring.

The plot does get kinda messy, and the tone is a little uneven at times (maybe the comedy should have been blacker), but all in all, this is a highly entertaining film that made me feel a little better about life and myself for having watched it. So yeah, there's some flaws, but what really saves the film is the awesome casting and terrific performances.

Norton is a real delight here. He's never been a bad actor, but this gives him the tough challnege of trying to pull off two very different characters who spend a lot of time engaging with one another. Thankfully, he pulls it off nicely. Nelson gives himself the fun, but familiar role of Brady's best friend Bolger, who, like Brady, is a good old boy who loves pot, is a proud redneck, but a lot sharper than he seems. Susan Srandon has some fun as Bill and Brady's eccentric mother Daisy, and Melanie Lynskey seems to be enjoying herself as Brady's pregnant girlfriend/soon to be wife. She's good, but it would have been nice to see more of her. As a potential love interest for Bill we have Keri Russell as Janet- a free spiritied poet who loves to go noodling and recite Walt Whitman while gutting catfish. The love subplot between Janet and Bill is kinda one of the weaker parts of the film (it could have been done better), but it's not bad enough to sink the film. In a really small, but wonderfulyl odd role is the great Richard Dreyfuss as Pug Rothbaum- a menacing antagonist who threatens Brady's criminal enterprises.

All in all, this is a weird, crazy mess, and it shouldn't really work, yet it somehow all does come together. It could be better, but for what it is, this is quite hilarious, a bit profound, and a real joy to watch. Give this one a look.
March 11, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I'm a big Edward Norton fan. "American History X", "The Score", "Primal Fear" are all three great movies, anchored by Norton. Even his take on playing "The Hulk" was fantastic. However, even he doesn't make great movies every time out. "Leaves of Grass" is about twin brothers Bill and Brady(both played by Norton). Bill is an Ivy league professor ashamed of his past, not wanting anything to do with his brother, mother or anyone from Oklahoma(where he was from). Brady is still in Oklahoma and is a pot grower. Brady has a fiancee and a baby on the way and ends up in a jam involving a drug kingpin(Richard Dreyfuss). Needing help, Brady tricks his brother into returning home to get him out of his situation. Norton does great in the dueling roles. He uses a great southern accent for Brady, and u believe there really is two of them. The problem with the movie isn't really Nortons fault, it's more of the story/direction. The ending is kind of odd, and in my opinion, doesn't really fit with the rest of the movie. This could have been a really good comedy, instead it's just a less than average drama. Worth a watch if your a Norton fan, if not then you would probably be better off to skip it.
January 1, 2012
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

A pseudo-philosophical comedy that begins well but then dives into sheer stupidity after the first forty minutes. Even if Edward Norton is great playing twin brothers, the plot seems absolutely pointless, shifting with no tact from light comedy to overviolent thriller and cheap melodrama.
November 8, 2011
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

    1. Brady Kincaid: You can't synthesize that. That is nature?s delivery system for goodness. Distilled into a pure form. It glides down into your belly, and blooms into a feeling of peace. In this world beset by evil.
    – Submitted by Rob C (2 years ago)
    1. Brady Kincaid: I was born just a few minutes before my brother, Brady. He lived life on his own terms, indifferent to fear - either his own, or those of others. And, let's be honest, by any normal measure my brother was a criminal and a colossal fuckup.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Daisy: What's your aversion to proper grammar?
    2. Brady Kincaid: Rhythm maybe.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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