The United States of Leland (2003)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  25 March 2005 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 19,323 users   Metascore: 37/100
Reviews: 103 user | 64 critic | 27 from

Tells the story of a young man's experience in a juvenile detention center that touches on the tumultuous changes that befall his family and the community in which he lives.


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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marybeth Fitzgerald
Harry Pollard
Karen Pollard
Ryan Pollard


After stabbing an autistic boy, the sixteen year old troubled and pessimist Leland P. Fitzgerald is sent to a juvenile detention. His teacher and aspirant writer Pearl Madison gets close and tries to understand him, first with intention of writing a book, and later becoming his friend. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of world. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | book | writer | teacher | author | See All (168) »


Crime. Confusion. Compassion. They're all just states of mind.


Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 March 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

20 Messerstiche  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$48,384 (USA) (2 April 2004)


$343,816 (USA) (9 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A recurring element of the film is the fact that Leland doesn't have any contact with his father, absent ever since his childhood. Ryan Gosling never shares any scenes with Kevin Spacey and in the courtroom sequence, even though both characters are present, they're never in the same frame. See more »


In this movie, set in Arizona, all the cars shown have front and back license plates. However, in Arizona you are only issued two license plates if you have a personalized plate which none of the cars in the movie had. See more »


[first lines]
Leland: When I say I don't remember that day, I'm not lying. Wish I did, but I just don't. Sometimes the most important stuff goes away. Goes away so bad, it's like it was never there to begin with. It's funny the stuff that sticks in your head. I could tell you forward and backward about one day when I was five, and my dad bought me a stupid ice cream cone. I could tell you the flavor of the ice cream. It was pick bubblegum. Even stuff about the girl who scooped it out. Her hair was fire ...
See more »


References The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »


Written by Sheldon Hankshaw
Published by ZFC Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of FirstCom Music, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Inspiring movie...
24 July 2005 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

Don't let any reviews (critics, IMDb users or mine) influence you seeing this movie. I read only the plot premise and became intrigued. After watching, this movie, in my opinion, is definitely worth seeing. It gives a perspective on life that many have probably not contemplated. Its is not however, as Leland himself says, a movie that "can be wrapped up in a neat package with a bow and everything." Other user reviews on this website claim to have a psychological background and imply that the story is not feasible. Quite obviously they missed the entire point of the movie, which is disappointing. to say the least.

In short, it is a well acted, well directed movie. The story is not a feel good one, but I feel if you don't come away from the movie feeling good, you may just have missed something. To characterize it as "art house" is unfair, in my opinion, but as our society likes labels, this is probably the one that fits. If you find you know everything there is to know about the world... I'd suggest skipping this one. If you feel movies should be a form of escape "from the world"... you won't find it here. But if you do watch it... you just might find something in yourself.

65 of 82 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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