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. 

"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. 

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. 

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.
June 16, 2014
This movie should be a classic, there are many reasons why, but I want to focus on the cinematography by Tim Orr. Orr shoots the film in 35MM anamorphic & gives it a warm and delicate hue . It's beautiful, but not in the traditional sense. This is a beauty that captures the slow decay of an landscape and the fading memories of the people within it
March 26, 2014
It's a film that exists entirely within the character's memories. Not everything is explained and I think it works better that way. It relies on visual poetry more so than actual narrative, and the movie is all the more unique for it. Definitely an impressive directorial debut from David Gordon Green.
May 16, 2013
I try to finish watching movies that I post a review for, but this is a humorous case for me. I got 32 minutes into this hour and a half film. From the synopsis:

"While wandering around with his rag-tag band of mates, one boy gets inadvertently killed. Fearing parental retribution, the gang hides the body. Later, matters comes to a head when guilt and anxiety starts to take its toll."

None of this had happened by the time 1/3 of the film was over. Watching this movie is like being given a homework assignment that's a combination of Terrence Malick and Harmony Korine. If that sounds like your jam, you may like this film.
October 29, 2012
A beautifully made short film, depicting the lives of a group of kids in the South. The traintrack shots are indescribably gorgeous and the ruggedness of this rural area is seen as candidly as possible. Unsurprisingly, the film ends in a disturbing manner, but how would it be otherwise? Truly authentic.
½ July 24, 2012
Weird little low budget art house film. I had actually never seen a film like this. It is extreme art house, and kind of lacks direction or any real story at all. The director chose to cast real people not actors, or at least they seem like it because the acting is not very good. Overall it is not very entertaining, I don't recommend it unless you are an art house fan.
March 12, 2008
Man, David Gordon Green, way to make your first movie ever, like, one of the best movies that anyone's made. It's like Terrence Malick in a southern U.S. ghetto town with these really beautiful, Faulkner-amazing monologues. One of the best coming-of-age stories there is. Shoot man. I wish I made this movie. It's so pretty. It's real sad and bittersweet, but almost magically uplifting. And there are things in this movie that are just about the best things in any movie--things like dinosaur masks and suitcases full of water and stuff. D. G. G., you win the prize man.
½ December 17, 2011
Such a beautiful looking film. Alot of the dialogue in this movie is so sweet and sad. I love how the delivery is somewhat understated, brilliant decision. I also liked how it never followed a real plot, it just flowed. Made it feel like those endless summers as a kid with your friends. But there are a few things that i really hated that can be attributed to being a directorial debut and indie. This is my first David Gordon Green movie and i'm a fan, excited to see his other stuff.
October 10, 2011
A strange and depressing coming of age film, surrounding rural kids in a summer that will change the lives of them all. The film has characters that you can't help but care for, all played by brilliant actors. An excellent story that surprised me in many ways. A haunting, depressing and wonderful film that everyone should see.
July 10, 2011
So hard to judge. Listening to Fennesz's Endless Summer is, in a peculiar way, like watching George Washington. I've never seen these characters or experienced exactly what they did, yet it openly invites and eases you into being empathetic. And with that, it feels so familiar, like a distant memory.. trying to climb through, except you've never had a memory like this. If you haven't caught on yet, this movie has no plot. Only adolescence in a small town done with so much risk and equal success by David Gordon Green.

For a distant, small-town with an appearance that nature is taking its land back, it looks oddly glamorous. In the same way that The Wonder Years looked like to its fans. It fills a void and answers a question of how important a suburban neighborhood (in the word) is to society. Whether large, small, rich, poor, fake, hopeful.. it's a natural constant in most lives outside not even of big city life itself.

I'd love to talk about how the plot naturally unfolds but I shouldn't. I can say plot isn't what matters, but how the characters respond and it works from there magnificently. For a movie thriving in empathy, the dialogue pushes and pulls with a soothing grace rather than an irritating one. And, damn it, it's not all about a boring town and how everyone goes about the same routine day to day struggling with finding something worthwhile. It's about what's worthwhile in life, noticing it, and actually giving it a chance. Even if that something is too small to notice.

Now, I'm gonna watch a comedy so I don't cry myself to sleep.

That was a joke.
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