The Art of Getting By


The Art of Getting By

Critics Consensus

A sitcom-level twee mess that bakes in the typical manic pixie dream girl and boring, withdrawn boy hero.



Total Count: 112


Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,474
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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


Freddie Highmore
as George Zinavoy
Emma Roberts
as Sally Howe
Elizabeth Reaser
as Charlotte Howe
Sam Robards
as Jack Sargent
Jarleth Conroy
as Harris McElroy
Ann Dowd
as Mrs. Grimes
Sasha Spielberg
as Zoe Rubinstein
Rita Wilson
as Vivian Sargent
Blair Underwood
as Principal Martinson
Sophie Curtis
as Chastity
Ann Harada
as Ms. Dougherty
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Critic Reviews for The Art of Getting By

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (90)

Audience Reviews for The Art of Getting By

  • May 24, 2013
    I am surprised I did not see the warning on the title: A film that just gets by, barely.
    Nicolas K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2013
    Dear Teacher: Please excuse George(Freddie Highmore) from being expected to do his homework assignments due to his suffering from a premature existential crisis. Principal Martinson(Blair Underwood) will have none of it, however, reading him the Truancy Act. With little to lose, George covers for Sally(Emma Roberts) when she is almost caught smoking at school and the two quickly bond. One day when they are out playing hooky at a matinee showing of "Zazie dans le Metro," he spots his stepfather(Sam Robards) walking through Greenwich Village when he should be working. Even with a few excellent moments, "The Art of Getting By" is an uninspired and cliched coming of age story with a protagonist who is so dull that he makes individual expression look dreary. And as promising as Emma Roberts has been in other movies, she comes off flat here, along with some of her co-stars. The problems with this movie go much deeper than the acting, as it forces an outcome which is hypocritical in its righteousness in a world where the parents through neglect and divorce screw up their kids. I know there have been many afternoon specials on the dangers of dropping out, but for George, a talented artist already, where would be the harm, if he did drop out, get his GED and went to work to be an artist, not just study to be one? At least, it would allow him to find his own path in life. Otherwise, he is just going to distract the other students who are there to learn.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2012
    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.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2012
    "The Art of Getting By" is writer/director Gavin Wiesen's debut to the masses, and it flops with a derivative thud. I mean this quite literally - how a script this dramatically bare while simultaneously "borrowing" material from other sources managed to attract this kind of cast is beyond me. George (Freddie Highmore) is a Holden Caulfield-like, paint-by-numbers loner who has managed to float through school and into his senior year with life itself seemingly an afterthought. However, when he is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts, who severely underwhelms here), it unearths some intense emotions that bring his world into focus a bit - or so we think. Without spoiling any of the plot, what I will say is that the second half of this porous script cannot decide proper fates for these characters. This leads to actions of the two leads not matching up with previous foreshadowing moments of spiritual pathos. That being said, the acting further drags the material down to an unsalvageable point. The leads, who will both probably have nice careers down the road, have almost zero chemistry, making their romance hard to root for. On an even sadder note, screen vets Rita Wilson, Blair Underwood and Alicia Silverstone are all stuck playing the typical, one-dimensional distant mother, concerned principal and equally concerned teacher respectively. There's not one moment that rings true, with the borderline-sadistic conclusion going in the opposite direction of emotionally plausible. Unless you like fleeting moments of nicely-photographed NYC landscape, skip it like a pebble on water.
    Matt F Super Reviewer

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