Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2010)



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Movie Info

For his feature debut, writer-director Damien Chazelle has fashioned a contemporary musical, shot in 16 mm black-and-white on the streets of Boston and New York. During the film's opening credits, we learn that Guy (professional musician Jason Palmer), a trumpet player, and Madeline (Desiree Garcia), a grad student looking for work, have broken up. The film then flashes back briefly to show how Guy's dalliance with Elena (Sandha Khin), an outgoing young woman he met on the subway, caused the breakup. The film follows Guy and Madeline as they try to make their way, post-breakup. Guy continues to play his gigs, though Elena doesn't seem quite as interested in his music as Madeline was. Madeline finds a job at the Summer Shack restaurant, pines for Guy, but eventually decides to leave Boston for New York. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench features music by Justin Hurwitz and a score recorded by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. Chazelle, who is also a jazz drummer (he appears briefly in the film), originally made the film as a short for his senior thesis at Harvard, where he studied under documentary filmmaker Robb Moss. Chazelle and his cast and crew worked on the film for three years, as financing permitted, to expand it into a feature. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench had its world premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, where it was shown in the Discovery section.


Beverly Palmer
as Guy's Mom
Sharee Palmer
as Guy's Sister
T.J. Palmer
as Buy's Brother
Vera Meyer
as Glass Harmonica Player
Kelly Kaleta
as Dancer at Party
Vanessa Pope
as Girl at Party
Suzanne Bouffard
as Dancer at Summer Shack
Carolyn Glicklich
as Dancer at Summer Shack
Kelly Burk
as Dancer at Summer Shack
Chris Rowse
as Dancer at Summer Shack
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (10)

Whenever "Guy and Madeline" becomes a musical, it soars.

January 6, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

"Guy and Madeline'' is the work of an artist - Damien Chazelle - you want to know better. It's whimsical and winsome and a touch quaint.

December 16, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

This is a story of few words, a lot of great music and countless emotional shadings.

December 10, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Guy and Madeline is a decidedly modern film, whose frightened, impulsive, charming characters could walk into our lives tomorrow.

December 3, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

[An] extraordinary black-and-white retro dream of a feature debut...

November 18, 2010 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Evokes a time when every love affair came with its own soundtrack, and every song seemed to be written only for us.

November 5, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench


Look, I have a soft spot in my heart for any movie made nowadays in black and white. And it helps that "Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench" has a certain retro charm with its keenly styled musical numbers. But those oh so brief interludes cannot make up for the muddled narrative of the break up of Guy(Jason Palmer), a trumpet player, and Madeline(Desiree Garcia), as they go their separate directions. That's not to mention the amateurish camerawork.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Mixing two separate yet compatible elements, Guy and Madeline fuses the cinema verite style of a gritty black and white documentary and the brash tones and rising melodies of an MGM musical, all in one sitting. Though the full impact of said MGM style was lost in the fray of tying the stylings together, the overall effort was astounding. The numbers had an originality that was more Miles Davis than Irving Berlin, which flowed well with the grainy shots of Boston. Threaded into the romantic entanglements of the two main characters was a deep love and appreciation for jazz, fueling the storyline forward by making some of the musical numbers performances that could indeed happen in real life, including a party scene and a jam session. Madeline's two songs on the other hand take place as she walks the streets, and my all-time favorite "When I Kissed the Boy in Park" while closing down a diner she waitresses in. There were some great scenes, including a game of 20 Questions between Elena and a strange old man, and Guy trying to track down Madeline. Altogether, it was confusing when addressing the dying relationships that lead to a reunion of the musicians, but the cute factor kept me watching.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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