Ceremony (2011)


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Movie Info

Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). But it soon becomes clear that Sam is secretly infatuated with the filmmaker's fiancée, Zoe (Uma Thurman), and that his true intention is to thwart their impending nuptials. As Sam's plan begins to unravel, he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be.--(c) Magnolia

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Reece Daniel Thompson
as Marshall Schmidt
Lee Pace
as Whit Coutell
Brooke Bloom
as Margaret Cornish
Harper Dill
as Carol Archer
Rebecca Mader
as Esme Ball
Nathalie Love
as Blonde Maid
Charlie Moss
as Nico Spicer
Lisby Larson
as Nina Pileggi
Paul Amodeo
as Bruce Singer
Catherine Russell
as Party Guest #4
Jack Koenig
as Party Guest #5
Jerrin Holt
as African Man
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Critic Reviews for Ceremony

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (11)

Yes, it's been done before (and better). But Uma lends it a sly and sexy spark.

Jun 23, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

The contradictory elements stack up at the same time your interest in the characters dwindles.

May 11, 2011

The offbeat comedy is not entirely devoid of charm, but its derivativeness is almost embarrassing.

Apr 21, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Winkler directs with a borrowed sense of assurance.

Apr 14, 2011 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

Does Uma Thurman perpetually underestimate herself, or is Quentin Tarantino the only filmmaker who appreciates her?

Apr 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Young Winkler needs to learn that simply instructing characters to smirk and look ironic is not enough; you actually have to come up with funny things for them to say.

Apr 8, 2011 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ceremony

This was much better than the ratings would have you believe. It starts off a little bit dull and like it might be a second rate rip of The Wedding Crashers. Quite honestly I was expecting a suckfest (I still haven't quite forgiven Uma for the awful "Accidental Husband"). I was glad I stuck it out, though, as this was quite a nice story about the one that got away. The ending wasn't really obvious (even at the ending there was a little left to your own imagination), and it just had really good characters. More like an indie film that the chick flick it appears to be. Maybe that's why the low rating.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Reece Thompson, Lee Pace, Rebecca Mader, Jake M. Johnson, Brooke Bloom, Harper Dill Director: Max Winkler Summary: Michael Angarano stars in this indie comedy as Sam, a naïve twentysomething who falls head over heels in love with Zoe (Uma Thurman), a beautiful older woman who's about to marry a pretentious documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). Refusing to give up hope, Sam drags his best friend (Reece Thompson) to the seaside town where the wedding is set to take place in a last-ditch attempt to head off the nuptials. My Thoughts: "I absolutely loved this movie. It was so quirky and the character's are so greatly done. Michael Angarano and Reece Daniel Thompson are fantastic in the movie. They had such an easy flow with each other which made their character's even better. The script is smart and maybe not original but definitely well written and greatly executed on screen. Sam, who comes off very confident and sure of himself has dragged his deeply depressed best friend, Marshall, who he hasn't spoken to in a year, off on a weekend get away. Marshall is under the assumption it was a trip for them to spend time together, not knowing the trip is in fact for Sam to try and woo his lady back. The relationship between Marshall and Sam is odd and very entertaining. As the story unfolds the dynamic between Marshall and Sam change. They unknowingly switch roles with each other. I found the movie refreshing and loved every minute of it. Lee Pace definitely demands the screen in every scene he's in. Uma Thurman does justice to her role and doesn't over do it. Just a great quirky comedy that I will have to see again."


Super Reviewer


I'll admit that this shares a very similar style to something by Wes Anderson (and maybe Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married), but it is really well done and manages to say something unique by the end. What stood out most here was the amazing dialogue; it was simultaneously comic gold and honest to the characters and tone. Max Winkler might be a first time director, but he clearly has a great idea of what it takes for a movie to work. I think the story is well put together and it moves along smoothly instead of being awkward and boring. Part of this is due to the characterization and performances. Michael Angarano was perfect in my opinion; his delusional sense of happiness and manipulation mind games were priceless. It's a character that could come off as a complete bastard, but somehow he made it lovable and sympathetic. His violent children's book reading in the opening starts the character off perfectly. Lee Pace also had completely genius rendition of a deranged British filmmaker who spends his time making documentaries in Africa. While this movie might be thrown in the "hipster" genre, it actually bears no resemblance to that at all. While it has a nice sense of uniqueness and originality, it's not the focus of attention and there's no bizarre stereotypes. If anything, this embraces the happy-go-lucky comedy genre and doesn't spend a whole lot of time being too realistic or moody. It's fine with just being consistently funny and having likable characters; even if their actions are not exactly honorable.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


Now, I am going to be rather harsh on Max Winkler here but keep my rating in mind. Winkler's debut feature film, "Ceremony," is a self conscious effort. He wears his influences so clearly on his sleeve that it borders on theft. This guy needs to buy some DVDs that aren't by Wes Anderson. Max Winkler is clearly great at dialogue, his screenplay sparkles with wit. Where this fails is that the scenario can be unconvincing and false. To make up for this, Winkler clearly has a way with actors and Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Lee Pace, Jake Johnson and newcomer Reece Thompson are all excellent. They are able to form honest characters out of Winkler's characterizations. He is able to help shape real people out of his cutouts, which is an odd talent to have. But what ultimately makes "Ceremony" very worthwhile is the tone. This is an incredibly feisty and clever picture. Is it a misguided attempt at being overly trendy? Yes. Does Max Winkler need to trust himself more as a filmmaker? Absolutely. As it stands, "Ceremony" is very enjoyable as a 'hipster' flick and it really is a rather promising debut. I hope Max Winkler continues to grow as a filmmaker because he has potential.

Steven Carrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer

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