The United States of Leland Reviews
Watched this on 20/6/16
This drama is intriguing, thought provoking and some pf the characters are highly established, especially Gosling's so that you feel a strong empathy for them. This film has some of the most sensible moments I have seen in recent times and packed with intelligent dialogues. It cay be confusing at times and some of the characters seem underdeveloped, but the main purpose of the film is to show how the lives of common people are affected when their close ones are caught up in a tragedy. Among the performances, Don Cheadle and Gosling stand out whereas Kevin Spacey, though in a minor role provides ample comic relief.
Leland Fitzgerald is a very smart and unique kid in high school that falls in love with a girl who loves two guys, Leland and another. Leland does some favors for the girl and ends up locked up in juvenile hall. He gets close to his teacher, who also happens to be an author, and tells him an amazing tale of life, what happened to him, and how he sees the world. The teacher thinks he's found someone to write his next book about.
"White boys aint about that gangster shit. Especially white boys like you."
Matthew Ryan Hoge, director of Self Storage, delivers The United States of Leland in his second major motion picture. The storyline for this is very well done and reminded me of a better Murder by Numbers. The script and situations are very well written and the acting was solid. The cast includes Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Kevin Spacey, Kerry Washington, Martin Donovan, and Chris Klein.
"I feel all of their sadness."
I came across this on Netflix and had to add it to my queue since it starred Ryan Gosling (I'm a fan). He delivers this character well and his character reminded me of a better version of his character in Murder by Numbers. Overall, this is worth following for fans of thriller/crime drama, but I wouldn't add it to my DVD collection.
"Sometimes things just don't work out between people and it's nobody's fault."
Great Film! In short, it is a well acted, well directed Śmovie. The story is not a feel good one, but I feel if you don't come away from the Śmovie feeling good, you may just have missed something. Gosling gives an incredible performance that really only somebody of his extreme talent could deliver. Somehow, Gosling is able to make the killer of an autistic child sympathetic. To characterize it as "art house" is unfair, in my opinion, but as our society likes labels, this is probably the one that fits. If you find you know everything there is to know about the world... I'd suggest skipping this one. If you feel movies should be a form of escape "from the world"... you won't find it here. But if you do watch it... you just might find something in yourself.
After stabbing an autistic boy, the sixteen year old troubled and pessimist Leland P. Fitzgerald is sent to a juvenile detention. His teacher and aspirant writer Pearl Madison gets close and tries to understand him, first with intention of writing a book, and later becoming his friend. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of world.
Its a mess.
I think they tried to make an American Beauty off-shoot,
but it failed to resonate.
And had no clear message.
It couldnt decide if it was going to end as a message movie or just a sardonic statement about our self absorbed society producing a reluctant murderer - it missed on either attempt.
Slow, overstuffed in peripheral detail, and completely uneven, even false emotionally, it
follows the arthouse trend of hitting stilted and unnatural emotional notes.
Also, the hip soundtrack was
completely intrusive instead of complimentary.
And no one here cared about the innocent autistic boy who was stabbed to death. A travesty, since the movie spends its time trying to understand the killer instead.
Even Gosling seemed patchy at expressing the hints of deeper inner conflict that was masked by a friendly yet cool demeanor.
I shut it off early, then decided later to go back and finish watching.
Not worth it.
It still rang uneven and false.
Cheadle and Spacey have one good moment, but its bogged down in distracting subplots and needless detail.
By the end, you still havent connected w any character, and it leaves an empty, ambiguous message that is ultimately unsatisfying.
Im confused why so many users gave it such a high rating, except that the performances were consistent despite the trite script.
Or they just love Gosling or his wounded bird character.
He is good here, not great.
and you've got another movie and instead of having someone getting run over, have a mentally disabled kid stab another.
Nothing innovative with the way it's pieced together, but effective none-the-less.
Strong performances from Cheadle and Gosling. Lovely, dark and filled with angst.