George Washington - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

George Washington Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 9, 2007
Interesting tone piece on the inner lives of children. Maybe sort of like if Terrence Malick directed the Spirit of the Beehive in recent rural North Carolina - but not as good as that sounds - if that actually sounds good to you.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2012
Nasia: Sometimes I smile and laugh when I think of all the great things you're gonna do. I hope you live forever.á

"down this twisted road, please watch over my soul and lift me up so gently so as not to touch the ground."

David Gordon Green's debut feature, George Washington, is immensely different from the films he's been putting out for the last few years. He's been putting out stoner, sex comedies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter. George Washington couldn't be less like those movies. It is as far away from comedy as you can be. It's a slow and sad film from a child, Nasia's, point of view. She narrates the story of George, and how he and a couple of friends accidentally killed their friend Buddy. From that point on, these kids aren't really kids any more. The innocence of childhood has left them.

If you want poignant storytelling, George Washington is your film. It's a movie where you can feel for a character, that something awful has happened to. George isn't a bad, rebellious youth, as a lot of these types of films use. He's a good kid, who is in a poor area, around other poor kids. He has a disease that doesn't allow him to get his head wet, and a little bump on the head could kill him. He's limited in what he can do with his friends.á

You can feel the scene where everything turns about five minutes before it happens. When the scene is occurring, you know this is where the tragedy is going to occur. David Gordon Green does the tragic scene the realistic and proper way. Stuff like this doesn't occur like it does in most movies. There's no suspenseful music before hand, there's no slow motion while it's going on, there's no crazy freakout rant afterwards. When a tragic event occurs, you are stunned, and you do what these kids do. You sit down on the ground and stare, until one of you can get up the courage to make a decision what to do next.

I can best describe this Indie movie, by saying it resembles the same feel of a Gus Van Sant indie. There's a bunch of no name actors, that don't really try to act. They perform like real people. They occasionally will make mistakes when they talk and stutter over words, trying to find the right thing to say. Gus Van Sant did Paranoid Park like six or seven years after this, and the two are quite alike. Paranoid Park went a different route in the aftermath of the accident, but the lead up is a lot alike.á

George Washington isn't a film that is for everyone. You may end up finding it too slow or too boring. You may feel that it doesn't quite go anywhere plot wise. But if you like understated, subtle dramas, give it a watch. It just may blow you away.
Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2011
A startling poetic film.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2010
Strongly reminiscent of Jarmusch, only much more youthful and a little more concerned with creating a publicly digestible style. This looks, sounds and plays like a pretty typical indie of the time (and at $42,000, you'd damn best believe this is an indie), but though you could probably fault him for his originality his taste is impeccable. The exploration of impoverished, rural black youth and the heavy wall-of-sound mood are two great tastes that taste great together. This was reiterated by Half Nelson six years later, which I wasn't quite as taken with but which I often feel I owe a second chance. Nothing in George Washington jumps off the screen, but it's wistful and humorous and sometimes depressing, and makes for a bizarre and generally effective coming of age story. The acting is naturalistic and fits in well with the at-all-costs realism of the filming, amateurish line flubs and all. I don't feel that most of the characters ever truly come alive - George comes close, but in the end remains a mystery, as I'm sure he'd like to be. Like Aronofsky and Nolan, it's easy to see why this inspired confidence in David Gordon Green's future investors; the man can take a dime and turn it into treasure. Definitely worth watching.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2007
A masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2007
this is a really good movie. deep and profound, this film chronicles the stories of confused kids that appear to be looking for nothing, when really they desire a salvation that they think they have to earn. this film blends heart breaking drama and hilarious humor perfectly, making me laugh out loud one moment only to be haunted by the harsh realities of life the next. george is my hero.
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2011
A poetic and beautiful little film.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2010
"like he was physically insane...using the restroom...everywhere."
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2010
Some scenes in here are stretching for Malick-like greatness. Some scenes almost achieve it. The kid who plays Vernon is a natural.
Look, David Gordon Green either has a lot of happy accidents in this film or he has a natural eye. You're in one of two camps. I'm in the latter. Though, this movie is sort of unrealistic and has an unsatisfying ending.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2009
Don't look for a simple or strong plot line to what you think could be the problems in this film. "George Washington" was kinda similar to the film Stand by Me" but the dialog in this film was often beyond the age and character. The scoring was dark and moody and rarely lights up. On occasion, the lack of actor training was seen in the kids, but for the most part they did a good job. The locations were full of dying and dead culture mostly an Industrial place.This was a heavy, sometimes overly artful film that was worth seeing and considering after wards. It had things to say, and you were expected to use your mind. Not my type of film. Undertow for me was way better.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2008
Intrigued by the trailers and reviews of the movie Snow Angels, I decided now was a good time to give David Gordon Green another chance. I got off on the wrong foot with this independent auteur, as the first time I saw George Washington it didn?t interest me at all. The film makes a lot more sense to me now that I?ve had a lot more exposure to non-narrative cinema. The film?s true strength is its ability to capture a certain place and tone in a fairly profound way. The cinematography is really beautiful.

Many compare the filmmaking here to Terrence Malick, which makes sense, but a movie it really reminds me of is Peter Bogdanovich?s The Last Picture Show. Like that film there is a certain hopelessness at the film?s center, a feeling that there?s not much of a future for these children caught in the poor side of a small North Carolina town. Unlike the Bogdanovich film, these kids aren?t old enough to know this, which is why the film is a lot more subtle about this fact, but later in the film this begins to dawn on some of them.

The fact is, twelve year olds don?t interest me much, which is why I wasn?t impressed by this at first. Truth be told, I didn?t really love it this time either, but unlike my first viewing I do respect the film now and see that my lack of enthusiasm has less to do with the quality of Green?s work and more to do with my own interests. I still don?t love this film, but I do now have a deep respect for the work and can?t wait to see what Green can do with subjects that interest me more.
½ September 8, 2009
Honestly it was cool to say African-American life portrayed in its brooding beauty rather than negative stereotypes :)
½ October 11, 2008
George Washington is a film that unfolds like poetry. David Gordon Green's debut into cinema is really a perfect one as we see a coming of age film like no other.
June 27, 2008
Like reading a great novel. The words which pour out of these kids mouths, are at times completely natural and others poetic and rich. This is not your typical independent film, dealing with "life amongst the poor", in fact though destitute the setting is kinda magical and Utopian. (George doesn't get harassed, assaulted, while patrolling the neighborhood with a cape? Adults and children, speak to each other with no recognition of age, etc.) But none of this distracts from the "realism" of the story or characters, well realism is the wrong word...naturalism seems more fitting.

A group of friends in North Carolina (all played by real people, no actors) deal with boredom, crushes, and growing up, until tragedy strikes, and changes them all, some attempt to escape, others take to lofty (super-heroesque) heroism.

May seem a bit slow to some, but it's sincerely one of the best movies I've ever seen, it has a life and uniqueness all it's own which is difficult to put into words. I'd heard whispers of this movie for years, and now that I've finally seen it, I understand exactly the reasons for the hushed admiration and awe.

A moving and inspiring masterpiece, I wish there were more like this...for one it's a film with non-middle class black characters, which doesn't immediately fall into clich├ęs of race, class, etc, allowing the characters to grow into actual 3 dimensional human forms, and not just sacrificial lambs for heavy handed social tragedy (Okay I'm getting a bit off point, and maybe personalizing this, but it did make a difference in my appreciation, and perhaps Gordon's directing. In the Charlie Rose Interview (for those of you with the DVD), Gordon mentions for instance using ambient and string music as opposed to traditionally expected "hip hop" or "urban music". It's small details like this which help establish the films tone apart from it's environment, and to show how tranquil and mystical even junkyards and vacant lots can seem to fresh eyes and minds.)....Anywho it's a great film.

"I just wish I had my own tropical island, I wish... I wish I was... I could go to China, I wish I could go out of The States... I wish I had my own planet, I wish I... I wish there were 200 of me, man... I wish I could just sit around with computers and technology and just brainstorm all day man. I wish I was born again... I wish I could get saved and give my life to Christ... then maybe he can forgive me for what I did... I wish there was just one belief... my belief."
March 1, 2008
Excellent, excellent, excellent film from David Gordon Green. Great, very natural performances from all involved, and a dream-like quality that allows you to drift through the whole experience. Some brilliant imagery and outstanding cinematography by Tim Orr.
January 10, 2007
Very poetic and lyrical film about the summer of several kids in a poor southern town (similar to Gummo). The use of voice overs and the dreamy tone of the film is reminiscent of Terrance Malick. At times the film is too absurd to take it seriously. The second half overall feels pretentious. If it weren't for these anomalies this film would be perfect.
April 27, 2007
A modestly proportioned masterpiece, in which all the "small things" make up for something memorable, and ultimately more important.
½ June 2, 2006
A group of youngsters do not know how to react when their friend accidently dies in their presence. All from broken homes and poor, they deal with it the best way they know how - through each other. They seem to be more in touch with their feelings than most adults. Sublime thanks to its lush Cinemascope photography.
½ November 23, 2015
With a rhythm all its own, this largely anecdotal film gathers together human moments, strange and moving, but somehow real - or real from this alternate universe where the film has occurred. There is a plot of sorts - we follow the lives of some young kids in North Carolina (probably) and see how they cope with a tragedy that occurs -- or how they don't cope. The minimalist music track gets you on its wavelength and slows down your need for anything other than character development and empathic feelings. The kids are great, providing line readings that are naturalistic but not. The adults provide comic relief or alien behaviour. I haven't seen anything else by director David Gordon Green (um, Pineapple Express?) but here, in his debut feature, he showed a poetic sense and an eye for alternately rusted out and lush landscapes. Worth seeking out.
½ November 18, 2015
A mesmerizing and soulful work of tragedy and heart, this Malick-esque look at inner-city teenagers dealing with boredom is poetic and pointed. A wonderful world made up of broken yet beautiful locations and sweetly cozy performances, it's a funny and jaw-dropping character(s)-study which reminds us that not everything can be hidden or thrown away.
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