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Set in a small town in North Carolina, George Washington is the story of a tight-knit multi-racial group of working-class kids caught in a tragic lie. After a twelve-year-old girl breaks up with her boyfriend for a sensitive, deeply introspective thirteen-year-old boy named George, a bizarre series of events and an innocent cover-up launches their insular group on individual quests for redemption. Written by
Nearly all of the actors in the film were non-professionals that had been hand-picked by David Gordon Green through random circumstances. The most interesting of these circumstances was how Green met with actor Donald Holden, who played George Richardson. Green has said that he met with Donald Holden on a beach near where he lived at the time and simply asked him to be in the film. See more »
It is stated early in the film that Buddy is 13 years old, yet on his missing sign, it says he is only 10. See more »
Can you keep a secret? I'm not a good person. I don't think nice things.
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The producers wish to thank ... The Maders ... Christof Gebert's Mom ... The Thompson Family ... The McIlwain Family ... The Purcell Family ... The People of Kennersville, North Carolina and The People of Spencer, North Carolina. See more »
"I like to go to beautiful places where there's waterfalls and empty fields" Nasia
George Washington is a meandering, moody, and hypnotic look at a group of black children, ages 9 to 14, during one summer in North Carolina. This was my second viewing and it remained a deeply satisfying experience. Though at times self-conscious, George Washington brings to mind Terence Malick's Days of Heaven with its voice-over narration, languid, dreamy tone, and gorgeous cinematography.
The youngsters are shown talking and playing aimlessly among the squalid junkyards and abandoned buildings of their neighborhood. They do not talk much about their hopes for the future but focus on their families and their girl friends and boy friends. The dialogue is partly improvised and, like Days of Heaven, allows the characters to speak in a manner that is slightly more poetic and contemplative than the average teenager.
The narrator, Nasia (Candace Evanofski), is a 12-year-old who has just broken up with her 13-year-old boyfriend Buddy (Curtis Cotton III) because, in her view, he's too young and immature. She's more attracted to Buddy's friend George (Donald Holden), a quiet and serious boy who always wears a helmet to protect his soft skull. They hang out with their friends, a mismatched pair of amateur car thieves named Vernon (Damian Jewan Lee) and Sonya (Rachael Handy), and also with Rico (Paul Schneider), a local railroad worker. Buddy shares his sadness with Rico who comforts him with his own story of lost love.
When an unexpected tragedy occurs, each of them must look closer at themselves and struggle to make an emotional connection with the events. They come to their realizations at different moments throughout the film and slowly begin to change in different ways. George, for one, after saving a drowning boy in a swimming pool becomes a neighborhood hero. Those realizations, however, do not provide an instantaneous fix and Green does not provide a forced happy ending.
Green has said, "One of the reasons I made this movie is because movies talk down to kids, put them as a cute little kid with a box of cereal and a witty joke," says Green. "You watch movies like Kindergarten Cop and it's like, 'Oh, a kid said something about sex. Isn't that funny?' It's just annoying and it makes me sad for their parents."
George Washington presents a view of teens that is not condescending but shows each character as a person of dignity and worth. It uniquely captures the confusion of adolescence, the need to belong, to believe life is or can be important, and the universal longing for love. Green has looked into the squalor and found beauty. Like a poem of Walt Whitman, he has expressed the divine in the commonplace.
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