Lebanon, Pa. (2011)
Will, a charming 35-year-old Philadelphia advertising man, travels to Lebanon, PA to bury his recently deceased father. There, he meets his newly pregnant teenage cousin CJ and they form an unexpected friendship. as both try to find their place in a splintered American landscape.
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Critic Reviews for Lebanon, Pa.
Since the crux of the tale is a teenager's decision about an unwanted pregnancy, "Lebanon, Pa." can't possibly please everyone. But Hickernell doesn't strain to be provocative.
Not perfect, but vastly superior to most of the Hollywood dreck we've been getting lately, Lebanon, Pa. is a thoughtful and perceptive film well worth recommending.
As long as the pic remains rooted in a specific locale's rhythms, it imparts a sense of discovery; but when local color wears thin, bald ideological small-town/big-city oppositions intrude.
Plays out like one of those dull message movies that TV networks used to crank out almost weekly, but the earnestness is at times almost appealingly old-fashioned.
Kitson, who plays CJ, the mouthy, forthright teenager at the center of the storm, illuminates a movie that is otherwise so studiously balanced an examination of teenage pregnancy that it deserves a medal for evenhandedness.
Starts off like a self-serious Garden State and ends up like a self-serious Juno.
This is a plea for self-described indie filmmakers to stop utilizing hyper-polished technique to talk about human misery.
For the most part it's your classic character-driven movie - the antithesis of an "issue" drama - until a contentious issue surfaces that threatens to overwhelm the story.
Lebanon, PA is a beautiful film with powerful characters and a story you can really connect with in a way that won't make you feel gross or manipulated.
Audience Reviews for Lebanon, Pa.
I actually liked this nice, touching, thought provoking little film. Made me smile at the end, and I like when movies do that. I really liked the scene where they set the boat free. There was something very comforting about that. Maybe I should try it....More
Cast: Josh Hopkins, Samantha Mathis, Mary Beth Hurt, Rachel Kitson, Ian Merrill Peakes
Director: Ben Hickernell
Summary: Urbane Philadelphia ad man Will (Josh Hopkins) heads to small-town Lebanon for his father's funeral, and the road leads not only to closure but to a revelation when the 35-year-old meets his precocious teenage cousin, CJ (Rachel Kitson), and her winsome teacher, Vicki (Samantha Mathis). As his friendship with CJ deepens and his warmth for the married Vicki grows, Will comes to realize that life can't always be summed up in a catchphrase.
My Thoughts: "The film was OK. The story is one we've seen before. I didn't like the camera work at all. There was too many very close, close ups. I also didn't like how half of the faces were sometimes on the screen or not at all. Besides that, I did find CJ's story the most interesting. I thought Rachel Kitson portrayed her character CJ very honestly. Her story in the film is quite heart breaking. Not everyone is going to like the outcome of her story. Will is trying to grieve a father he really didn't know because he was brought up to hate him by his mother. The scene with them at the cemetery was pivotal for Will. He gets to confront her and she comes off a bit selfish and only worried about herself and still not owning what she did to her son. I thought Josh Hopkins did a good job in his role. Not the best indie film I have seen, but surely not the worse one either."
Lebanon, Pa. Quotes
- I mowed a lawn today. I hadn't mowed a Goddamned lawn in a decade. It felt friggin' awesome!
- You always want to market to children. To a child, to an adult buying something to a child, or to the child inside that adult. Now there is usually a reason why the customer shouldn't buy your product.There is something cheaper, better, prettier. But with a child, you don't have to ask them what they need. No, you can tell them what they want.
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