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All the Real Girls (2003)

Drama movie directed by David Gordon Green

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Finding Love and Attempting Privacy in a Small Town

  • Aug 11, 2007
ALL THE REAL GIRLS is strange little film written and directed by David Gordon Green, an attempt to capture the claustrophobia of a small North Carolina town where finding love in the midst of an atmosphere devoid of secrets. It boasts a strong cast, has some moments of touching repartee, but in the end we are left with a lack of feeling for/caring about any of the characters. Green's fidgety camera work, jumbled scene changes, and lack of character development prevent the good points to out weigh the weak ones.

Hometown lothario Paul (Paul Schneider) is best friends with another womanizer Tip (Shea Whigham) whose sister Noel (Zooey Deschanel) returns home from a boarding school and falls for Paul. Paul and Noel do a courtship dance, the first act of a relationship that includes more talk and self-confession than physical. Tip objects to Paul's interest in his sister and this of course only fans the flame of romance. The cadre of homeboys (Danny R. McBride and Maurice Compte) watch on the sidelines as the Romeo and Juliet affair takes place. Paul's mother (Patricia Clarkson) and uncle (Benjamin Mouton) add what words of twisted wisdom they can. The love affair is the first serious relationship Paul has ever encountered and for the first time it is the girl who throws the wrench into the experience, a factor that allows the story to simply end.

With a cast that includes some truly gifted actors (Deschanel and Clarkson especially) the viewer has to reflect on why there is no true concern for anybody in the film, no screen chemistry and no charisma that would have helped make this belabored effort worthwhile. David Gordon Green is young and has some very sound ideas about film, but he needs to talk to his audiences about communication to enable him to make solid movies. Grady Harp, August 07

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More All the Real Girls (2003) reviews
review by . January 20, 2006
This is the first film from David Gordon Green I've come across. The film has to be accepted on its own terms. Slow-paced, sensitive, and dreamy, it gets deep inside of its characters. Paul may be a callous seducer, but he's so gentle with the girl he loves, that he won't even take her virginity when they get a hotel room. When she makes some mistakes that he considers betrayal, this blue-collar tough guy is just as heartbroken and emotionally vulnerable as anybody with more "refinement". Although …
review by . December 12, 2003
I won't rehash the plot for you, which many previous reviewers have done quite well. To say this is a movie about "young love" doesn't give enough credit to the many layers. We see how this love affair affects not only the couple, but those close to them...friends, parents, previous lovers, etc. It is a tenderly made movie, slow to develop. No one really makes any brilliant speeches that feel like a writer labored over them...yet the people are talking all the time. Their emotions are right there …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie


You'd think moviemakers would have run out of new ways of capturing the trials and joys of young love--but director David Gordon Green finds a fresh take inAll the Real Girls, a bittersweet small-town romance. By leaving out the usual humdrum exposition of a courtship story, Green cuts right to the little moments that form the high and low points of a budding relationship. It's an impressionistic style aided by the wonderfully spontaneous and unpredictable acting of Paul Schneider (who also co-scripted) and Zooey Deschanel--who look like they're improvising, even though they're not. As in Green's excellent debut featureGeorge Washington, a small town serves as an atmospheric backdrop--this place looks a couple of decades shy of the 21st century. The mosaic approach makes the film play like a collection of memories, someone's first love recalled with fondness and just a bit of regret.--Robert Horton
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Director: David Gordon Green
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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