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Worth A Look: 8.16%
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5 reviews, 19 user ratings

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All the Real Girls
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by robertrosado

"A rare gem that gets love just right."
5 stars

Love is hard to capture when it comes to the movies. So often have I sat through films where they try to sugarcoat the protagnist's relationship. You know the drill: Boy meets girl, girl finds out something wierd about boy, boy loses girl, boy apologizes, boy gets girl back. The End. In rare cases, films like "The Notebook" will win me over with their convincing emotion. "All the Real Girls" is different.

Paul (Paul Schneider) is the local Casanova, an outgoing, local kid with a bad reputation for toying around with women. However, when his best friend's sister, Noel (Zooey Deschenal) returns home from boarding school, he soon finds himself falling. Noel has never been in a serious relationship, and neither has Paul. To make matters worse, the career of Paul's mother (Patricia Clarkson) is floundering. But will their individual flaws and secrets ruin their only chance at love?

Paul Schneider ("Pleasant Grove") is terrific in the lead role. Paul is a young man who is trying to get his life on track. However, once he does, everything that he thought he had a grip on slips away. Schneider makes this youthful angst ring true. Zooey Deschanel ("Almost Famous") is stunning in every way. She is not only beautiful, she is very talented. Deschanel has a thoroughly gripping scene later on, where she is trying to convince Paul that a terrible mistake that she made was not his fault, even though he thinks it is. It's argument we've all had before, but these two gifted actors make it sound as if it is happening for the first time. With her easy charm and ethereal quality, it is so easy to see why Paul is willing to change himself for her. I sense a star in the making...

Shea Whigam ("Tigerland") is remarkable as Tip, with his unblemished good looks and laid-back acting ability. Observe his facial expressions when he announces to Paul that his girlfriend is expecting a child. An amazing performance. Last but not least, Patricia Clarkson ("Pieces of April") turns in yet another fine supporting turn as Paul's long-suffering mother. Elvira is a women who is trying so hard to hold on to what she has, while at the same time, striving for something more. She loves her son, but she is at a point in her life when she needs him the most.

This Southern fairy tale's naturalism and honesty is what eventually wins the audience over. And it achieves this in ways that no Hollywood-produced sap ever could. These characters are not perfect, and they certainly don't look as if they have their own personal beauty salon. The locations are modest, and rightfully so. These characters are beautiful because they are just like us, for better or worse. Like "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset", the dialogue (courtesy odf director David Austin Green) is spotaneous and uncomplicated, therefore making it more real. One of the most beautiful scenes is when Noel and Paul are lying in bed, beside one another. No, they are not having sex. They are simply talking, and finding comfort right where they are.

One of those rare films that gets love just right, "All the Real Girls" is a tender and haunting love story with unusually strong performances all across the board. This is a film about the awkward and heartbreaking nature of naive love. It is gentle, bittersweet, and powerful in the most unexpected ways.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6906&reviewer=394
originally posted: 12/14/04 16:45:29
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/24/18 David Sincerely I think it's the greatest film ever made 5 stars
7/19/09 Kazelxmf Hi webmaster! cnf 4 stars
2/12/06 tompkin great soundtrack album! 4 stars
1/21/06 aimless contrieved self-congratulatory, "Tully" is way better 2 stars
12/05/04 Natasha Theobald it had me for a while but lost me at some mid-point a bit 4 stars
10/04/04 idiotsdelight Incredibly banal characters and coversation - total waste of time 1 stars
5/05/04 A F Wow. One laughing my ass off, next holding back sadness. Emotionaly Exhausting 5 stars
9/25/03 Kimberly Very subtle and poignant film, while still making you laugh. Excellent and highly recommend 5 stars
9/16/03 matt simple, elegant and beautiful to both look at and think about. fantastic 5 stars
9/12/03 Sheri incredible 5 stars
8/01/03 stavroula painfully bad; trite dialogue, bad direction 1 stars
6/30/03 Derek Vincent nothing better than a sweet virgin ass, properly basted with BBQ sauce and ether 5 stars
4/08/03 David Serxner Super movie!! Lyrical 5 stars
3/27/03 Mike Seely The love child of Harmony Korine and Paul Thomas Anderson. Masterpiece. 5 stars
2/28/03 Pete best film of 2003 so far without question. haunting funny and perfect acting 5 stars
2/11/03 SG Loved it! 5 stars
2/11/03 aks treacly and disingenuous 1 stars
2/02/03 Kris Morrison Enjoyable yet realistic story of young love 4 stars
1/27/03 tony gregg I SO enjoyed this film.......the acting was right on and it left me wanting more. 5 stars
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  14-Feb-2003 (R)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2003



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