Ceremony - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ceremony Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 21, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2011
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 na´ve 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
½ September 3, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2011
"Are you in love with me or am I just dragonflies?"

A young guy crashes the wedding of the thirty-something woman he wants back.

Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) writes children's books and lives in the child like fantasies of kids. He has a friend Marshall Schmidt (Reece Thompson) who happens to show up as the only member of an audience to hear Sam read his latest new children's book. The two boys rekindle their friendship, stagnant for the past year while Marshall recovered from an altercation and hid in his parents home while Sam had a momentary encounter with a beautiful 30s something woman Zoe (Uma Thurman). The two lads decide to take a little trip to ostensibly to get Marshall out of his parent's home to see the world, but in actuality Sam has heard that Zoe is marrying some wealthy guy, Whit Coutell (Lee Pace), at Whit's lavish seaside home.

Sam and Marshall mend long absent feelings of closeness and taking some daring steps they drive to the seaside estate, obtain an invitation to Zoe's party (her wedding to Whit Actually) from Zoe's drunken brother Teddy (Jake M. Johnson). Sam confronts Zoe, stating his love and his desire to marry her, but Zoe needs more than a young kid to satisfy her and sees the opportunities of marrying the moneyed Whit. In a series of incidents both hilarious at times and deeply tender at others all characters discover new concepts of relationships. How the film ends is left for the viewer to discover.

Michael Angarano is pitch perfect as Sam, a young man whose ideals are tested and who must learn the adult role. His skills are so polished at this young stage in his career that he is bound to become a major star. Reece Thompson is not far behind, and Uma Thurman gives one of her most well rounded performances. Lee Pace makes the most of his role, sparkling as the reigning optimist of the story. But in the end most of the credit for the success of this little gem is due to the talent of Max Winkler who writes as well as he directs: he is a formidable force. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2012
In "Ceremony," Sam(Michael Angarano), a children's book writer, persuades his friend Marshall(Reece Thompson) to spend the weekend on Long Island in order to escape their stalled lives. What Sam does not tell his friend at the time is that he plans on crashing the wedding of Zoe(Uma Thurman) to Whit(Lee Pace), a documentary filmmaker, which he found about through a Dear John postcard. Their infiltration succeeds through the unintentional efforts of Teddy(Jake Johnson), Zoe's inebriated brother. So, if all else fails, there is alcohol and cute women like Esme(Rebecca Mader).

With a Kate Bush song on the soundtrack, "Ceremony" is not entirely worthless. To be honest, the movie aims to be an offbeat romantic comedy, with a side dish of literary pretensions.(Is that "The Great Gatsby" that Marshall is reading because it would explain a lot?) Instead, it is mostly insufferable, due in no large part to Michael Angarano coming off too strong, with none of the requisite vulnerability that could have led us to believe Sam is more than just a borderline stalker.(It's especially strange since I've liked Angarano in other movies in the past.) But at least Reece Thompson shows what could have been in the few scenes without his boisterous co-star. Otherwise, we would have nothing left but to feel sorry for Uma Thurman.
Super Reviewer
½ May 19, 2012
Michael Angarano's performance is the best reason to check out this film. It is one of his best so far. The film reminded me of movies like Tadpole, Rushmore, and Igby Goes Down.

What works here is the performances. Angarano is perfectly casted in the role. He has a good on screen chemistry with Reece Daniel Thompson. Lee Pace was also good in the film, but he reminded me too much of Clive Owen. Uma Thurman was good too, but I wouldn't have casted her in this role.

The problem that I had with the film was that I didn't think that Angarano and Thurman had a good on screen chemistry in the movie. They were good in the film, but not as a couple. I just didn't buy them as a couple. That is why I think if another actress was cast in Thurman's role, there would have probably been a better on screen chemistry.

Still the film is worth checking out for Angarano's performance.
½ December 1, 2012
Think of My Best Friend's Wedding, but from the view of a man.
Had many of the cliches, but it still was a good movie worth watching.
February 17, 2012
Seen this film before. Nothing really new was presented but Uma Thurman has a way of drawing your attention to her and her character's struggles.
½ November 22, 2011
A lot better than I expected and boasts a stellar soundtrack. Not all that original but the cast was charming and it has heart - more than can be said for some movies with higher ratings.
August 14, 2011
It is a crime how overlooked this movie is. Is it at times pretentious? Yes. But the fact remains that Ceremony made me laugh and hang on to every character in the story of a young man with a mission to crash the wedding of his one-time fling (Uma Thurman). Forget the 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I declare this one of the best movies I have seen in 2011.
July 14, 2011
With the exception of a superb performance by Lee pace the cast is decent. The story, dialogue, and direction are all decent, but that is all the movie is. It never feels really great and it never gets really bad; it's just decent.
½ July 7, 2011
*** (out of four)

A bit of surprise for me. I was taken back at how much I enjoyed the central character and the performance by Michael Angarano. Though the film is not very original in its overall premise, it does manage to create characters that are fun to watch and are belieavable in their presentation.

Angarano has been in several films already, but he is able to shine here much like Dustin Hoffman was in "The Graduate". His character is flawed and confused like most of us all. The film is also wraps up nicely without the ribbons and bows expected for the a film of the genre.

Michael Angarano stars as a childrens book author who feels like he is meant to be with a beautiful older woman (Uma Thurman) after a chance encounter in Manhattan. He and his friend crash her wedding weekend party in the hopes of winning her back.
March 16, 2011
The cast was amazing in this movie. The pace was a little slow and the story wasn't a happy one. I would only recommend this to fans of the lead actors, otherwise you are wasting your time on a weak plot and simple ending.
June 21, 2011
All around a pretty good film. Meant to be more of a comedy, but I found it enjoyable in a different sense. Angarano gives a fantastic performance that is both funny and relatable.
½ April 29, 2011
I didn't get it, but then again, I didn't stay awake through all of it. Good performances but boring story!
½ April 18, 2011
HE is the young, artistic dreamer and SHE is the older, realist who likes to play around. Ceremony begins when the HE, Sam Davis (Michael Angarano - Sky High, Gentlemen Broncos, Forbidden Kingdom) gets a message from the SHE, Zoe (Uma Thurman - Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Prime), telling him she's to be married and for him to now leave her alone. Enlisting his best friend (with a car) to drive to the nuptuals sight, Sam, plans on winning Zoe's heart and taking her back with him; but things don't quite go as planned. Zoe KNOWS she is going to marry the eccentric filmmaker played by Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, The Fall) and that Sam is wasting his time. Sam is arrogant, selfish, mean and kind-of stupid, so he doesn't buy into Zoe's determination; but as the story plays out I bought everything that was said between the two. He is a young dreamer ... she is the older realist. That Pace's characters is so abstract helps with the storyline; but the story ended the way I wanted it to end (and that is why I would recommend it). Romantic dramadies tend to always go one-way ... Ceremony shows us that it doesn't always have to. Knowing that Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) was originally cast in the lead role would have made the film better; but I will give Angarano credit for his first full-fledged adult role. He was still a child; but he is attempting grown-up speak and Thurman is a convincing love object (I mean ... look at her) and it makes sense that he'd be gaga over a women-who-looks-like-that who'd give him the time of day. This is another of those small, slightly-strange wedding flicks in the Hamptons kind of film; but I bought into this one. It is a party I wouldn't have minded accepting an invite to.
March 6, 2011
One of the best films of this year. It's an incredible debut film for Max Winkler and everyone in it is just beyond amazing. I want to marry it. Compare it to Rushmore or whatever else you want, but this is its own film, and it's not one to be missed.
½ August 31, 2014
Quirky, pseudo-intellectual, and stylistic, but lacking emotional grip. Angarano gives a strange performance that I couldn't quite get into or believe. Same with the rest of the cast for that matter. But there are some interesting moments that are memorable and worth seeing.
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