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George Washington
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Reviews & Ratings for
George Washington More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A unique blend of poverty and beauty, tragedy and heroism

10/10
Author: saigray from New York
4 May 2001

George Washington is a new entry in the very small category of full length, narrative films which are both entertaining yet poetic, beautiful yet honest; a work both visceral and cerebral, innocent and complex, it is a gem and a miracle. Written and directed by David Gordon Green the year after he completed college, shot with the help of his friends and old classmates, and produced on less than a $40,000 budget, it is a slap in the face of the movie industry which refuses to take risks on young, serious filmmakers and to film students everywhere who say that the can't make their work because " 'they' won't let me". It warms the romantic artistic heart to see someone have the conviction to make their vision a reality and succeed so thoroughly.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A unique blend of poverty and beauty, tragedy and heroism

10/10
Author: saigray from New York
4 May 2001

George Washington is a new entry in the very small category of full length, narrative films which are both entertaining yet poetic, beautiful yet honest; a work both visceral and cerebral, innocent and complex, it is a gem and a miracle. Written and directed by David Gordon Green the year after he completed college, shot with the help of his friends and old classmates, and produced on less than a $40,000 budget, it is a slap in the face of the movie industry which refuses to take risks on young, serious filmmakers and to film students everywhere who say that the can't make their work because " 'they' won't let me". It warms the romantic artistic heart to see someone have the conviction to make their vision a reality and succeed so thoroughly.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Truly Oddly Wonderful Vision

10/10
Author: andersont from Columbus, Ohio
9 March 2001

GEORGE WASHINGTON screened between March 8 to the 10th of 2001 at the Wexner Center for the Arts and is a film that any fan of independent and experimental narrative would enjoy. It is both reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch's work in STRANGER THAN PARADISE and is shot with the kind of detail and wonder that evokes Julie Dash's vision of the South in DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST. The acting is not necessarily accomplished, but always evocative, this is particularly true of Curtis Cotton's performance as Buddy and Eddie Rouse's take on Damascus.

The highlights throughout belong to Donald Holden. As George, Holden works with the film's director, David Gordon Green, to pull off a truly unforgettable character. George is, for lack of a better comparison, the independent cinema's Forrest Gump. Stripped of Gump's accomplishments and sanctified persona, George longs to create small acts of heroism. His world is poor and all-but forgotten by middle class America. Yet George and his friends spend time wandering in crumbling spaces and slums as view it as a world of discovery. The film never convinces you that the poor south is charming or special, but it often wanders into moments of mystical wonder through an accomplished sense of cinematography and thoughtfulm musical accompaniment. To me this is the cinematic equivalent of REM's MURMUR. Confusing, often muddled, humbly profound and surprisingly engaging, GEORGE WASHINGTON is for filmgoers who enjoy wondering about how the world is an all-but deliberate mystery.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

well worth watching

9/10
Author: pdxchx from chicago
1 February 2001

This film helped remind me why independent films are important. It's a quite, unassuming, and ultimately meaningful movie, that does not condescend to either its characters or its audience. What might seem slow to some people, I saw as a deliberate choice, asking us to slow down and respond to the characters and situations. When the violence comes, it's shattering to everyone involved: the characters and the audience. Beautiful to watch, the movie allows us to observe without feeling like voyeurs--because it allows us to experience, too.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Memorable Fairy Tale of Youth

Author: Soujiro from Gaithersburg, MD
28 January 2001

This film has some really realistic portrayals of the thoughts and actions of young children, but their words are often unconvincing.

There are brief moments during which the children sound like children, but for the most part the movie allows them to express themselves far more eloquently than would be possible in reality. In contrast, the adults in the movie behave in an extremely childlike fashion. Now, this didn't really bother me, and it was actually refreshing to see adults and children converse on the same level, but it requires very bright children and very simple adults and takes a while to get used to. Taken as sort of an urban fairy tale told from a child's perspective (it's narrated by one of the children) , the movie worked very well for me. As has been said many times, the cinematography is vibrant and attractive in the typical artsy way. There are some really hilarious moments in the film, and it captures the bittersweet quality of being young and poor well. The children in the movie do an amazing job making introspective lines sound very natural. Similar lines in The Thin Red Line sounded painfully corny to me coming from supposed soldiers, but somehow these young actors and actresses pull it off well. The movie presents an interesting world with children who have more complexity than the adults which is a great change of pace. However, if I see one more scene of someone releasing a dove into the air I'm going to become physically ill. There are little melodramatic moments here and there such as that which keep me from really liking the film. It's definitely a movie that will provide some memorable images and the cast of children is one of the best I've seen. I also liked the fact that the movie doesn't preach to the audience or judge its characters to a great extent. A great movie to see with a child with lots of depth for adults to chew on too.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not perfect but certainly worthwhile

8/10
Author: sgolden600 from New York, New York
29 November 2000

It is always a pleasure to see someone with a distinct voice who is not afraid to express it. It is comforting that young filmmakers are willing to make films like GW and not the run-of-the mill indie crap that stills dots the landscape. The film certainly captures the feel of a languid summer's day. I agree with those who find it hypnotic. While it is probably too slow for today's dumbed down, impatient audiences, this film deserves to be seen.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A very special, deeply poetic, must-see film

10/10
Author: Aw-komon from Encino, CA
27 November 2000

This film won awards at both the Toronto and the Newport film festivals and just barely misses masterpiece status because of a few overly sentimental and predictable scenes here and there.

It is a fantastically photographed, Terrence Malick inspired (even more by "The Thin Red Line" though than "Days of Heaven") slice of cinematic poetry, that focuses mainly on painting realistic, three dimensional, non-stereotypical and deeply touching portraits of 4 poor black kids of about 12 or 13, and how they experience life.

The kids live in a semi-integrated, racially mixed rural North Carolina area playing in junkyards with other kids. The very funny story is narrated by one of the kids, Nazia, a precocious black girl of 12 who has left her skinny boyfriend Buddy because he's immature and is, oddly enough, chasing after his best friend George Richardson who seems even more immature on the surface! The accidental death of one of the kids causes events to take a different turn.

Some of the scenes in the film were so touching they brought tears to my eyes; but a few seemed to be there trying too hard to be non-cliche just for the sake of non-cliche. The film also loses a bit of realism by not using any profanity. But the fact that it focuses on young kids, and the unformed, still untarnished and romantic way that they see the world even in their blighted surroundings makes it only a small handicap. A few curse words here and there would've just turned the film into an R-rated feature and lost it some of its potential audience. As it is, though, it's ridiculous that this film is being shown only on the art-house circuit. Even though it is a poetic and visceral film, and not the kind of film audiences have been conditioned to expect, there's more quality here than in 99.9% of the films made in the past 10 years, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be promoted to a wider audience (especially younger kids of 10 to 14 years of age who hardly ever see their deeper, inner experience of the world realistically portrayed).

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

unexepected is the point

9/10
Author: (sapro@saprophyte.org) from Bard College, New York
18 November 2000

A lot of the negative comments of this film have attacked its confusion, and that it breaks many cinematic rules, but I think this is much of its point. If you want a film that fits into the expected craft of filmmaking then this is certainly not it, although where it does fit it does so brilliantly. Probably due to this most of these reviews have also tried to pin the film down by comparing it to other films (Terence Malick's work being the strong link) but to assume that these similarities will carry all the way through is misleading.

I think explaining this will partially ruin the effect of the film so if you haven't seen it yet then I suggest not to read further. It is one of those films that I find works best with no prior knowledge and a willingness to enjoy, rather than categorize - which is probably why some critics have a hard time with it. Just accept the unexpected and the film's confusion becomes quite enriching.

To me the film is mostly confusing because it refuses to fall into any given stereo types of what one could expect from plot or character development. It starts out with light, seemingly irrelevant comedy that is contrasted with the somewhat somber Mallick style narrative and brooding cinematography. This combination builds uneasiness as one knows that this film must be anything but light given its setup (a poverty stricken post-industrial town in the south, where children spend there days playing in a dangerous wasteland and seem to be growing up to fast - some similarities to "Kids" here although on another level).

The best example I can think of is George's uncle, who throughout the film builds an ominous presence that made me fear he would ultimately end up committing some violent act to George or another main character. He does end up killing George's dog, and one is ready to condemn him for this, but then his character is turned completely inside out when he apologizes to George. As far as I can remember this is the last scene with him in, and his character seems to be at least somewhat of a lesson in not judging people from their outward appearances. His final actions are completely unexpected, somewhat absurd and yet (if one is willing to go with them) very touching.

This also occurred, atl east to me, when George saves a white boys life. After this event the boys mother comes to thank George's aunt, and the scene seems to contain a building tension, that the mother is having a hard time thanking her and that George's aunt is very cautious to accept this gratitude. I almost expected a racial element to come out of this, as one would expect it too in a film about blacks in the south, but instead two stranges end up embracing and consoling one another, quite suddenly. No where in the film does any explicit racial tension arise, which is amazingly refreshing.

Building tension (of all kinds) in the plot is often diminished by an unexpected out come. Most commonly this occurs with a scene that will cut off just when one expected the final words of wisdom to be reached, which in the scenes of the railway workers is incredibly amusing.

The film ends with the narrator saying something to the effect of "and this is how it went, but I could be wrong as my father was a banker and my mother made perfumes". I am assuming this is the directors words rather than the character, as there was no indication that she came from a different social-economic background from the rest of the characters whose families were all close to poverty. If I am correct (I'm only unsure as no other reviews/comments have mentioned this critical line) then it is a reference to the films confusion, and how uncertain it would be to judge this situation from any point of view.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

You won't forget these kids...

9/10
Author: Rajesh Aidasani (raj@acedsl.com) from New York City
7 November 2000

I saw this movie the other night and I still can't stop thinking about it. George and Buddy, especially, will keep you up at night. These kids have such goodness in them and to them, the world is theirs to conquer. They don't realize that in reality, the world has forgotten about them already. This adds so much power to the movie. You want to reach out and help George and make sure Buddy keeps singing to his mom. The scene when George attends the parade also sticks out in my mind because more than anything, I was afraid that he would be picked on. I can go on and on about this movie. I highly recommend it. One last note, the cinematography is amazing!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not since "E.T." have I been so moved. 5 stars

10/10
Author: peter313-3 from Hollywood, CA
30 October 2000

See this movie. Bring your kids. If it was rated it would be PG and I think children will identify with it most. I saw George Washington at the Los Angeles Independent film festival and I was in awe of it. This movie is so affecting that I didn't even realize how deeply it moved me until later that night when I told my wife about it and I uncontrollably broke down into sobs. As I was describing the preteen characters and what they go through I identified deeply with what we all lose as we enter adolescence, and that's innocence. It's not at all depressing and it's not a plot driven Hollywood action film. It's simply a pure work of magic and beauty that successfully captures the last days of childlike innocence before these kids become teenagers. I think David Green is 'the man' for being brave enough to risk using an improvisational directing technique for his actors. Often times the words are unscripted. David would give a certain thrust and point to be made and then would let the actors go. That's what gives this movie's characters a sense of truth in their feelings when they perform. I love this movie.

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