Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All the Real Girls. B+

David Gordon Green's All the Real Girls essentially takes those white blue collar workers from his previous film, George Washington, and makes a movie about them. Green is so skilled at capturing regional working class life and that's the real bright spot of this film. The movie is generally talked about for its unconventional love story, but what really worked for me was the scenes of the guys hanging around in the small southern town after work, talking, laughing, eating, sometimes fighting. They're never idealized, seen rather as problematic, at times wild men who nonetheless seek to improve. There's also this sense that this small town is their world because they've probably never been outside of it and are pretty sure that they never will be. So standards for happiness suddenly become much smaller, as one character proclaims as he sits in the bed of a pick-up truck with a beer. I think Green gets this a little more than he does the subject love, which is why the romance between Zooey Deschanel and Paul Schneider never works entirely. It unfolds like a strange poem, and while the structure of the love story is inventive, the actual romance is never as moving as it should be. Still, like George Washington and Undertow, Green knows just what he wants and he mostly gets it. There's still room for him to grow as a storyteller, and as it seems he's wandering off from his stint in the comedy world, I welcome the continuation of his development. 

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