The Art of Getting By - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Art of Getting By Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
"The Art of Getting By" stars Freddie Highmore in the leading role as a very smart loner becomes entangled with his high school crush and begins to slack off in school when he can no longer focus. With themes about the meaning of life, the outlook on the world itself, and how love can find it's way back no matter what, this is a very well-made picture. A very small-budget film with a great script are always my kind of film, seeing as the crew and cast all devote their time to something they believe in. This story works on many levels and the editing style is very unique. The cinematography, mainly the filters used over the lenses for each particular scene, was genius. Although I think the film loses an insane amount of ground when the love interest, played by Emma Roberts, is an extremely unlikable character, going for his friends other than him. The first half is a very enjoyable indie film, but everything good is swallowed up halfway through. The cast is great but the characters are not likeable enough by the end. I really enjoyed the outlooks on life, but the film is kind of a mess otherwise and the conclusion really didn't feel earned.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2011
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.
ajaymuthecooldevils
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2011
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..
Super Reviewer
September 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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2012
Mildly sweet movie. Slow, but not boring. Nice, heartwarming ending...my favorite kind.
LWOODS04
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2012
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Sam Robards, Rita Wilson, Alicia Silverstone, Blair Underwood, Sasha Spielberg

Director: Gavin Wiesen

Summary: Freddie Highmore stars in this romance tale as a teenage rebel with no time for textbooks, but when he's given a glimmer of friendship with longtime crush Sally Howe, the trench-coated loner discovers that some feelings aren't too trite to explore.

My Thoughts: "A dark, moody, brooding, teenage romance flick. It wasn't great but not awful either. Freddie Highmore does a great job as well as Emma Roberts. Some of it was a bit unrealistic but what's not in films. Perhaps better or more character development could have helped this film come along a bit better. But as it is, it wasn't a bad watch."
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2011
The toughest lesson is love.

Get away

This is a lame, with really bad acting, and a ,horrible story line. In this slow, and pointless movie you will not have any fun, so get away from it.

It tells the story of this annoying teenager Geroge (Highmore) who claims he is depressed and never does any homework, but then he falls in love with Sally (Roberts) and she makes him do his homework.

I mean really, the story of this movie is just ridiculous. It could have some potential, but the actors in this movie are just crap. Emma Roberts isn't bad, but Freddie Highmore, and Michael Angarano are so annoying on screen.

The only worthwhile thing in this movie is the soundtrack, that includes some Belle & Sebastian, and maybe the photography and some pretty cool shots. But either than that its a lame movie, with annoying characters, it's just bad.

Harris McElroy: "You're going to have to start using that brain of yours to access that talent of yours to show that beautiful heart of yours. "
MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2011
The toughest lesson is love.

I liked it. Of course it doesn't have great acting or terrific actors but the story was catchy and it blended in slowly. Emma Roberts continues to improve little by little on her acting career although she still has a long way to go. Freddie Highmore probably didn't do his best work here but it's nice to see him back in a movie. Enjoy.

Quote that you are born alone, die alone and everything else is an illusion, George doesn't see the point of life, school, or homework. Then he meets Sally and he now has a reason to go to school and make friends, even if he's not ready to admit to himself or to her that he likes her. The school's principal and art teacher introduce him to an alumni, and successful artist, Dustin, who can help guide George along life's path, but other distractions start surfacing, and George might not even be able to graduate from high school.
Super Reviewer
½ September 2, 2011
The performances in Gavin Wiesen's coming-of-age dramedy are solid. Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts and also Michael Angarano do a very good job with their roles. Emma Roberts' character is also pretty likeable, the problem is that, despite Highmore's best efforts, the main protagonist, George, isn't that interesting. That can be said for ''The Art of Getting By'' as a whole. The dialogue is bland, the story is cliched and the main protagonist is uninteresting and at times unlikeable. It has a couple of sweet moments, but this is just your standard indie coming-of-age film that proves very forgettable.
neverteaseaweasel
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2011
I watched this opening weekend, which I realize was a while ago now, but I kind of forgot about even going to this film. It the type of movie that you're never going to be totally sure as to if you have seen it or not; it's going to seem vaguely familiar either way. It does what it does; there really isn't all that much to it. Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable, pleasant film; it's just kind of mediocre. Yes it evokes every young adult novel you've ever read and every teen sundance film you've ever seen, but that doesn't really bother me much. I enjoy the trappings of indie films. The Art of Getting By may not really contribute anything new, but it garbles enough things that have worked in other films together so that it really isn't bad. It's entertainly forgettable. I wouldn't seek it out again, but it was a decent enough way to pass the time.
stevenecarrier
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2011
"The Art of Getting By" knows exactly what it wants to be. It wholeheartedly embraces it's 'hipster' attitude. The narrative is light and brisk but the themes and character development are a lot more honest than you might initially expect. The performances by Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, like the film itself, are charming and serviceable. These are two young actors whom certainly need to grow but are well on their way. Roberts is such a lovely presence that you simply just overlook the bumpy parts of her performance. Highmore connects when it's most important which also helps ease the questionable moments. The cinematography and soundtrack add much in the way of emotional connection and help keep the film alive and moving. "The Art of Getting By" is without a doubt an 'indie' film but it's ultimately worth your time for it's overall message, it's likable leads, and it's sensitive treatment of the confusion of adapting to 'the real world.'
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ January 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.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2011
Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts deliver an interesting and somewhat unconventional romantic drama. The Art of Getting By is a character piece about two misfit high school students looking for deeper meaning, each in their own way, and eventually finding a kindred spirit in each over. Both Highmore and Roberts give good performances and have a solid onscreen chemistry that gets the audience invested in their characters. However, there are a few side-plots being juggled that gum up the works and breaks down the flow of the film. Yet, The Art of Getting By gets by all the distractions and gives a sincere story about the struggle of adolescents and finding a way in the world.
Super Reviewer
½ August 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.
PantaOz
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2012
George (Freddie Highmore) is a fatalistic high school senior who is a gifted artist but he is often haunted by the realization that everything seems meaningless. As a result, he is put on academic probation... some things start to change when he meets Sally (Emma Roberts) and though George is at first reluctant to talk to her, he soon warms up and they become close.

I thought that the start was very promising... and slowly building up somehow was matching the growing up of our hero with the same pace... but at the end there was not much to see as a result.

Youthfully amusing, interesting and at moments insightful but there is still lot lacking: especially answering why suddenly everything changed when almost none of the questions troubling the young man were really answered or even addressed! Actors did what they could do with such unfinished screenplay...
Super Reviewer
August 29, 2011
A little depressing, boring and worse, predictable.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2011
** out of ****

It's really a damn shame that Gavin Wiesen's "The Art of Getting By" doesn't end up being anything more than what the basic plot description suggests. The protagonist of the story is George (Freddy Highmore); an intellectual who staggers socially and - in the classroom - academically. His life is a great big mess both at home and at school. He fails to maintain a successful relationship with either his mother or his step-father; while both on and off school-grounds, he lacks proper friends. But then again, he doesn't care; because he sees no point in living. We're all going to die someday; this is all a big nothing. That's essential his life philosophy; and oh, he'll stick with it.

This is a film of many wrongs; and the hero is one of them. Sure, we've all felt like George before; and given this, Wiesen expects us to relate to the character. However, he has miscalculated his own movie; for the character writing here is so terribly off. George proclaims that he is allergic to homework; but very much drawn to art, philosophy, and literature. Simply put, he does what interests him; and only that. So if something at school bores him to death, he's not going to do it.

With that being said, I think it's clear that he isn't a very likable protagonist. Still, Wiesen has a story to tell; and in under 90-minutes, no less. So he creates this big ol' cliché teen love story to throw into the mix; and it takes up a lot of the film. Maybe this is a good thing, because I'd rather watch George fall in love for the first time than listen to the pretentious bastard speak for any longer than a minute.

The girl is Sally (Emma Roberts). She goes to school with George, and has for some time now, although they're just beginning to notice each-other. Sally sees something in him; and he's just happy to have someone give a damn about his existence, because he certainly doesn't care much about it himself. Both New York City residents; the two central characters go on dates, go to parties, have sleepovers, and experience new things along the way.

I suppose "The Art of Getting By" is - to put it frankly but vaguely - a film all about experiences. We all have them; and we almost always value them, good or bad. The film takes us through the times both good and bad, for this character, although Wiesen - who also wrote the script - lacks the writer's craft; which would have allowed him the skill and artistry to write a decent script for a suitably decent film. "The Art of Getting By" lacks depth and aim; I don't know where the inspiration to write this script came from, but it can't be anywhere particularly good.

Nevertheless, the film still ends up being watchable, at best. Passable escapism it is; although some might disagree, given that many have written it off completely. This is understandable and all -since this is so very far from a good film - but I had some sympathy for the material in spite of its uneven and unpolished nature. Wiesen shows promise as a filmmaker, and the film makes use of its New York setting (for the most part). But until he can come up with a script that works; this might just be what we're supposed to expect out of him in the near future. Let's hope I'm wrong.

This film was probably intended for an intellectual audience that can possibly connect with its eccentric protagonist; although I wonder how many movie-goers will feel exactly how he does, in the end. Do most people choose to be cynical assholes? Do most people disconnect themselves from the social scene of High School like George does? Wiesen definitely has some good ideas going; but the film lacks execution and therefore gives us very little to actually talk about. "The Art of Getting By" just barely masters the second part of its title.
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