Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Art of Getting By: Movie Review

Asking the question, "What's the point?" But then doesn't deliver much.

The teenage rebel, full of angst, and feeling alienated through their own defeatist philosophies, once perfected in Holden Caulfield, is on display here again in George (Freddie Highmore). He has the typical advanced vocabulary and expected intellect, but boredom for school and life. "What's the point if you're just going to die alone?"

Directed by: Gavin Wiesen

Screenplay by: Gavin Wiesen

Starring: Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts

"The Art of Getting By" tried to straddle the line between drama and comedy. Expecting us to laugh at George's despondency but then expecting us to feel for his life's difficulties. Although both comedic and dramatic elements were present, it was missing a touch of realism to help build the connection for the audience.

Is it about getting the girl, finding your path in life, or just graduating high school? Of course it's about all of that, but at times it seemed to be about none of that. Its aimlessness in telling me what the point of it all was, seemed a little juvenile. It's a teen coming-of-age film, probably meant for the twenty-something crowd, but missing any greater meaning to fulfill its audience.

It's the type of story that gets told frequently, but it also needs to be told frequently. It can get old quickly if you've seen better versions, and I, unfortunately, have seen better versions. I love Highmore and Emma Roberts, and this is exactly the type of roles they need to launch their adult careers. I was impressed with Michael Angarano playing the older, if not any more mature, slacker artist who could have easily disappeared into adolescent oblivion, but instead found some meat in his role and really stood out.

"The Art of Getting By" desperately needs the love it received from Sundance because it's not going to get much of anything else. Which is a shame because it's not a bad movie, but I don't think the filmmakers ever found the point they wanted to make.


It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) - A charming, comedic and meaningful look at a teen admitting himself into an adult mental institution.

Daydream Nation (2010) - The apathy of teachers and students in high school turned into something original.

Igby Goes Down (2002) - Igby is a modern day Holden Caulfield, and this shows an astounding ability to merge the comedy and drama.