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The Art of Getting By (2011)



Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 107
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 88

A sitcom-level twee mess that bakes in the typical manic pixie dream girl and boring, withdrawn boy hero.


Average Rating: 4.1/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 23

A sitcom-level twee mess that bakes in the typical manic pixie dream girl and boring, withdrawn boy hero.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 12,019

My Rating

Movie Info

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. -- (C) Fox Searchlight


Comedy, Romance

Gavin Wiesen

Nov 29, 2011


Fox Searchlight - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (107) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (88) | DVD (1)

The vapidity of The Art of Getting By goes beyond the anthill-sized dramatic stakes. The dialogue, while occasionally epigrammatic, is tone-deaf to individual speech rhythms.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Art of Getting By wants to be sweet and insightful, but ends up scattered and slight.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dull yet extremely self-important drama about rich, badly parented kids who feel sorry for themselves.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Comments (3)
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For anyone not in a similar state of age-related solipsism - i.e., anyone outside the 16- to 25-year-old age bracket - this is more than a little annoying.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are several lessons to be learned in "The Art of Getting By," though all arrive too late to save this well-meaning but dreadfully executed movie.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Highmore and Roberts are appealing performers, Wiesen never gives us much reason to care about them.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Excellent performances by Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts make this one an enjoyable watch.

March 2, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Gets by. Barely.

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

An easygoing film that's not as quirky as it wants to be and does just enough to make you glad you watched.

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

This film tries to be a rallying cry for the disenfranchised youth of today. Not being a disenfranchised youth of today, it was mostly lost on me.

December 13, 2011 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

None of this first feature from writer-director Gavin Wiesen rings true, and most of it is preposterous and self-conscious.

September 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

It's a story that's been told numerous times and with more élan.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It's a glib, smug movie, its smart, upper-middle-class Manhattan attractively photographed, and George's problems are painlessly solved.

September 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

How much you enjoy The Art of Getting By will probably rest on whether you'd like to give its loafer hero a hug or a slap.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Even by the standards of mopey teen rebels, this one really is a dreadful little prat.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The Art Of Getting By is not the horror show some US critics might have you believe; there are a lot of problems, but it's more than possible to look beyond them and find the still plentiful moments of quality and endearment beneath.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

A glossy fudge.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

There may be worse films showing right now, but there sure isn't one quite this forgettable.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Writer-director Gavin Wiesen piles on the coming-of-age clichés, and it doesn't help that his leading character has oddly middle-aged tastes.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

A big yawn, bereft of drama, surprise or any discernible point.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

You'll feel like swatting Freddie Highmore with a rolled-up newspaper the size of a railway carriage while watching this supremely annoying film, a teen drama populated by vulnerable indie moppets.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

Ultimately it's just hard to warm to George or care a jot about his teenage angst.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

The bright cast holds our interest, but the corny, too-cute plot will only be of interest to pre-teen girls.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Watchable indie-by-numbers, enlivened by likeable performances from Emma Roberts and Michael Angarano...

August 31, 2011 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Not funny, quirky, or particularly insightful.

August 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Wiesen's gossamer-thin tale asks a lot of Highmore, who could unkindly be referred to as the missing link between child stars Nicholas Boult and Haley Joel Osmont.

August 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Audience Reviews for The Art of Getting By

I'm sure a lot of people could care less about this movie and its characters, but I really had a great connection with it. I think it has a lot to say and really breaks free from just telling a story about another slacker. Freddie Highmore has shifted promoted himself from being the greatest child superstar to the greatest teen superstar. He plays emotions like a fiddle and gives a performance that is completely natural and true to the character. He's shy and naive, but at the same time he knows more than everyone else and just hates the idea of it. I thought it was interesting to have a character that wants to want to care, but doesn't know how. I also thought Emma Roberts did a great job and it's probably the best performance she's given so far. In many ways she's the high school crush that a lot of people had, but not in a glamorized way. She has flaws and weaknesses that are apparent throughout the movie. I'm not going to claim that The Art of Getting By doesn't follow a pattern of angsty teen dramas, but its execution and core is definitely unique. What it says within the formula is so honest and unattractive at times that it really just feels like we're seeing two people's lives and not just a movie. The way it's shot definitely helps out with this. You get a really life-like visual structure that doesn't just simply look good, it makes sense. The job was to center around the characters and this definitely succeeds in doing so. Now i'm sure this will be thrown into the typical indie teen movie that it was disguised as, but it really doesn't have any of those odd cliches. There's no penciled in credits, no overly quirky and weird moments, no exaggeration and no overbearing philosophical meaning. This movie is completely fine with being "normal", and I mean that in the best way possible.
January 13, 2014

Super Reviewer

There's a good film buried somewhere within the poor writing and editing of The Art of Getting By's 80 minute running time, but this isn't it. That's not to say the film doesn't have it's modest charms, but the characters are unlikable and it tries too hard to replicate superior movies and falls flat on an almost scene to scene basis. It's the kind of film that's so smug, you'll be rolling your eyes on the regular... while recognizing that with this likable cast and it's simple coming of age trappings, a good movie was more than possible. THIS movie is too little too late, and will make you wonder why it was made at all.
October 7, 2013

Super Reviewer

Simple but quite sweet romantic movie about teenage crush.. Freddie Highmore getting bigger and older even though his face is still stay young as his famous role in 'Finding Neverland', 'August Rush', or 'The Spiderwick Chronicles'.. Overall, for me this movie flows slowly but if you're not got bored enough then you will be showed with the beauty relationship of George and Sally..
September 6, 2013
Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

Moves very slowly and is not as quirky as 500 days of Summer or Juno (both these movies are mentioned on the cover), but if not compared to either is nice enough.
The cast are good, particularly the main characters played by Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts. I nearly didn't recognize Alicia Silverstone.
The filming is also nice, I liked the New York setting.
Not a movie that will wow anyone or probably even be a favourite, but worth at least one watch.
September 13, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. George Zinavoy: We're living in a dying time.
    – Submitted by Zeldagne L (18 months ago)
    1. George Zinavoy: I'm allergic to hormones.
    2. Sally Howe: What hormones?
    3. George Zinavoy: Mine.
    – Submitted by Natalie B (2 years ago)
    1. Sally Howe: Do you have any friends, George?
    2. George Zinavoy: I'm kind of a misanthrope. Not a choice, just a fact.
    – Submitted by Feno B (2 years ago)
    1. Ms. Herman: Happiness is something that has to be looked after, something you have to be vigilant about.
    – Submitted by Felix F (2 years ago)
    1. Sally Howe: You told him we weren't together.
    2. George Zinavoy: What should I have said?
    3. Sally Howe: What did you want to say?
    – Submitted by Natalia L (2 years ago)
    1. George Zinavoy: We live alone, we die alone, everything else is just an illusion.
    – Submitted by Esme Q (2 years ago)
View all quotes (12)

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