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George Washington
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George Washington More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good start

8/10
Author: Cosmoeticadotcom (cosmoetica@gmail.com) from United States
11 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

George Washington was the first feature film ever made by indy wunderkind director David Gordon Green. It was released in 2000, to generally favorable reviews, and it truly deserved them. It has been recently released on an invaluable Criterion Collection DVD which I recently purchased. Most critics erred and went in for a facile comparison to filmmaker Terrence Malick, but this film has several things that Malick's films do not have. Yes, like Malick, Green is fond of lingering poetic shots of seemingly everyday things, but Green's film is far more concerned with individuals than any of Malick's four feature films are. Malick's 1978 Days Of Heaven does have its reach, though, as the black and white still photographs at the end of George Washington homage the black and white stills of that film, just as a young girl's narration echoes the young female character's in Days Of Heaven. But, the characters in George Washington are mostly poor North Carolina preteens of an eternal present, not historic artifacts, and they convey a sense of self that is absent in Malick's films, which mostly deal with issues, not people.

That said, this film is not really a narrative, more of a simple series of linked vignettes that trace a several week period over a summer, which opens with a dreamy panoramic and poetic monologue spoken by a young girl named Nasia (Candace Evanofski), that weaves poetry out of the banal snippets that drift in and out of even the most prosaic minds, such as, 'I like to go to beautiful places where there's waterfalls and empty fields.' This is not immanently poetic, but juxtaposed with the camera work it takes on a heightened, almost ecstatic, state. Some criticize the film by stating real children do not speak that way, but, a) I've known them, and a read of Anne Of Green Gables shows they've always been around, and b) the poesy is not of the character, but what the character says in relation to her station on life…. This film is not a great film, but it shows great potential, just as Malick's first film, Badlands, showed great potential, but not accomplishment. But it is a special film because it makes its specialness from what is remembered by all people, from their youth. As they go on with life, George and Nasia will likely drift apart, but both will have their own reasons for remembering that long ago summer the film charts, and we viewers will understand why.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Watch it patiently, yes it's worth it! What might it be rated if.....

8/10
Author: Morritec (rrm@enter.net) from Easton Pa.
19 April 2005

This is a movie with a story, not an action movie. It's a movie that you WILL talk about after seeing it. The kids don't act "Hollywood", but that's not bad. They do act like real kids. So real, in fact, my 7 year old son, (I started playing the DVD at his bed-time, being a 'non-rated' movie and not knowing what to expect) seeing only the first few minutes, asked me if this movie was really happening! The style is somewhat comparable to an improved 'Stimie', 'Farina' type "Little Rascals" episode - kids were kids! Though coping and reacting to death is certainly a heavier subject than "Our Gang" would ever tackle, thus ends the comparison. A very professionally done film, very scenic. Hollywood couldn't have done better! Of all the comments on this board that I read, no one got very detailed as far as how "Family-Friendly" the unrated movie is. So for those like me, with out giving away any of the story..... As far as I remember, there were maybe 5 or so 'h*lls' and about as many 'd*mns'. Otherwise the language, even the few 'bathroom' words, was acceptable. 3 mild sexual references, no nudity (except underwear?). One scene of a boy taking a puff or two on a cigarette, and a little blood during an accident. I'm not the MPAA, but it would most likely be a PG movie. I hope this helps for those who want to know! I'm glad I got the movie.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

Author: EJ from Oakland, CA
6 June 2003

A gem of a film and an intriguing depiction of rustic life. Beautifully shot with mesmerizing pacing, unique sound, striking images and honest performances. At times it may seem slow, but the deliberate (and some might say Kubrickian) motion only accentuates the beauty and feeling of each shot.

It is remarkable a film essentially made by a student (or recent graduate) and his buddies on a very tight budget can look this polished. If you are a fan of Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line), then you will definitely appreciate "George Washington". In fact, David Gordon Green and Malick are working together on the film "Undertow" as Director and Producer, respectively, to come out in 2004.

This film is well worth your time. Gordon Green is a talented director with a unique vision and an unapologetic dedication to his ideas (as well as his friends).

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

75% There

Author: hollosyt from East Lansing, MI
14 September 2002

Seems a bit scattered in focus, focuses on childhood, family and poverty. Is generally enjoyable just for the photography alone. You can feel the hot muggy air, for sure a film worth watching, even if it does leave you scratching your head a bit.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

loss (?) of innocence in the rural South

Author: Rory Solomon from New York, NY
7 August 2002

This movie is the story of a group of kids in a small, depressed, industrial town in the South. The plot focuses on a tragedy that occurs among the group of friends, and the ways that each child reacts to the tragedy -- in particular it focuses on the main character George (whose last name I don't believe is ever revealed but one can only guess...) who was born with a partially formed soft skull and thus, for example, cannot get his head wet or hit it very hard. The movie delicately deals with the loss (or retention) of youthful innocence.

I have heard that director David Gordon Green used mostly amateur actors, and this is quite evident throughout -- whether or not this is effective, I can't really say. This fact reminds me of director Larry Clark's use of young amateur actors in "Kids" and "Bully", and I think its somewhat interesting to view this touching movie as kind of a rural South dual of Clark's immoral urban youth movies. A lumbering, developmentally disabled character named George is not the only reference to Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men", and the film also has some dramatic and beautiful photography of the rural South.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

North Carolina Teenagers Spending Their Summer Months

9/10
Author: larrysmile1 from Illinois
3 May 2002

Director David Gordon Green traveled to North Carolina to audition and select a cast of teenagers whom had never acted before. The film is shot on location.

"George Washington" tells the story of what can happen to normal teenagers as they idle away their summer months. The youths interact with each other in a frank manner using the speech of the day. Watching this film is like watching your own children and their friends as the live out each new summer day. The consequences they experience are a result of their lack of supervision as each summer day develops.

Donald Holden, as George, and Curtis Cotton, III as Buddy are the main characters. These two teenagers as well as their grouping of friends acted remarkably for teens whom never acted before.

One would agree that their behavior in the film is typical of how our children and their friends spend their time unraveling their summer days. This is a most delightful film to watch unfold in spite of some sad and tragic moments.

George Washington deserves a high rating as well as praise for Director David Gordon Green and his crew of North Carolina teenagers. A must see film!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A nostalgic and humane look at adolescence

10/10
Author: Sean Choi from CA, USA
19 March 2002

A moody and atmospheric film that is told from a girl's (Nasia's) point of view, as she recounts her nostalgic memories about a childhood crush named George. Although George has a soft spot in his head which prevents him from engaging in rough, "boyish" activities, he seems indestructible and larger than life itself in the eyes of the admiring Nasia. George Washington is the impressive directorial debut of David Gordon Green, who seems to have attended the "Terrence Malick school of filmmaking." There are definite "Malickian" devices here: most notably, the voice over; the evocative music; and the sumptuous cinematography (several scenes are shot during the dusk). The cumulative effect of this film effectively evokes a nostalgia that we might all have towards our own childhood (or first love). The child actors are all very good and at times it doesn't seem like they're acting at all. Some of the lines seems so spontaneous in their delivery that it is hard to believe that they were scripted. For example, in one scene Nasia and George exchange small talk on top of the roof of an apartment building. You could tell all along that she admires George greatly. Then suddenly, she says "I hope you live forever"--said with such naturalness that you might think she made that up on the spot. At that moment a sustained, soul-lifting and evocative music plays in the background. There are many such tender moments in this film. Although George Washington might not be for everyone, those who like slow, moody, beautiful, and contemplative films might enjoy it--actually, savor it deeply. Without simply retreading the same old territory covered by directors like Malick, Green has created an original and lovely film that taps into the nostalgia of childhood in all of us.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Stand by Me meets KIDS in an intimate and unpredictable way

10/10
Author: lostatlimbo from portland, or
5 March 2002

i love being pleasantly surprised. not knowing what to expect of a film and being submerged in a fantastic work of art. george washington is a great example of that feeling.

the film could ride alone on its cinemagraphic efforts, but it goes to great lengths to make all ends meet. the budget is obviously low, the cast is a handful of inexperienced youth, and the story is an oddity in itself, and though that may sound like a negative mix, it certainly is not.

the cast of amateur actors fit snuggly into their confused, childish characters and the low budget filmmaking is a perfect match for the extremely poor town that makes their home. the story, as well as the feel of the movie, is very relaxed and sedated, yet dramatically powerful and intriguing. the story is shocking at times, but never gross or vulgar; just unpredictable. and it is never really depressing, despite the poverty-stricken setting and a bleak and saddening set of events. the director manages to find a true, pure beauty in each moment of sorrow. it is hard to explain the depths to which he manipulates your emotions, without suspicion.

it feels at times that the film crew barely wanted to make the picture. as if the director was hesitant to show such a vulnerable part of the character's lives, all the while knowing that it was his duty to put them on display. i didnt know what to think of gw before, and i still dont know what to think of it now, but i felt every gesture made, as if it was my own. truly, a beautiful and creative work of art.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What a beautiful film

10/10
Author: Orson Wilder (alienjeff@aol.com) from Rhode Island
19 February 2002



I was browsing at the video the other day, and was surprised to come across this certain title, one I have been more than eager to see since its initial [very limited] release. I was ecstatic to learn that George Washington had been released to video. Without hesitation I snatched the one and only copy. What a beautiful film. With calm, detached narrative, and subtle imagery used to further the feeling of casual aimlessness... in this way it is reminiscent of Malik (in the silent, melancholy feel it evokes, it is very similar to Badlands). It both saddens and uplifts your heart in its study of these meandering adolescents. After all the gratuitous praise, and all the time it has had to build up expectations in my mind, it lives up to it all.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A new director with a heart

Author: Raúl Quintanilla Alvarado (raulq@hotmail.com) from México
8 November 2001

I was about to change the channel, when this hypnotic images of poor kids playing in trash, and the train passing by, there was something I couldn't explain, an instant click which made me watch it to the end. I believe there is a whole genre to this kind of movies, althought so little are so good, cause it's a poetic vision of the real world, it moves your heart and mind. It reminded me a lot of Terrence Malick and those slow scenes, with hypnotic music, but it isn't in a way a copy. Just watch it, see all those wonderful characters, those grown-ups who spend time with kids, the superhero, the poetic dragon, just see it.

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