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The United States of Leland (2003)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  25 March 2005 (Italy)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 17,789 users   Metascore: 37/100
Reviews: 101 user | 64 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: The United States of Leland (2003)

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Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Stars: Charles Hess, Melanie Lora, Jason Peck
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Cast

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

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 more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

20 Messerstiche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$343,816 (USA) (9 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Leland: I think there are two ways you can see the world. You either see the sadness that's behind everything or you choose to keep it all out.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The United States of Leland (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Manitoba
Written by Frank Black
Performed by Frank Black & The Catholics
Copyright 2002 Spime Songs (BMI)
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An extremely moving, touching, thought-provoking movie
7 November 2004 | by (Calgary, Canada) – See all my reviews

Leland Fitzgerald (Ryan Gosling) is sent to jail for the murder of an autistic kid. When pressured with the question 'Why?' he doesn't have an answer. While in jail he meets Pearl (Don Cheadle), his teacher, who decides to take matters into his own hands and helps Leland figure out why he did it. Throughout this film we learn all about Leland's troubled life, including his ex-girlfriend Becky(Jena Malone), his famous father Albert(Kevin Spacey)and his whole sad life.

This film is Matthew Ryan Hoge's second movie, and it is spectacular in nearly everyway. This is one movie which will leave you thinking in the end, and wondering about how it all works. The movie is quite dark, but if you can handle that then you will realize just how good a film it is.

In this movie, there is no bad guy. There is no one you can blame for anything that happens. There's no stereotyping, and the audience does not try to prove Leland guilty. Instead, we sit back, relax, and watch this boy's life unfold throughout the corse of the movie. All the problems depicted in the story are very real. Drug addiction, parental expectations, overwhelming sadness; they all exist in our world.

Ryan Gosling gives one of the greatest performances of his career in this movie, as the depressed teenager Leland. His father lives in Europe and doesn't really care much about his son. The only person he loves is Becky, but she has problems of her own. He knows exactly what he did, but as he says in the film, 'You want a why, but maybe there isn't one. Maybe this is something that just happened.' There is a why, but we don't find out about it until the end. As you watch the movie, the audience finds themselves amazed that such a young person could know so much about the world. Leland notices things that people tend to ignore.

A particular thought-provoking scene which really affected me was during one of Leland's conversations with Pearl. Pearl just cheated on his wife and when Leland asks why, Pearl replies that he's only human. Then Leland says something which never really occurs to anyone: "Why do people only say that when they've done something wrong?"

Another fantastic acting job was provided by Chris Klein. In the film he plays Allen Harris, the boyfriend of Becky's sister Julie (Michelle Williams). Although he is not one of the main characters, I found myself amazed at how deep his character was. You can relate to Allen a lot. You know how much he cares for the Pollard family. It's as if they were his own flesh and blood. By the end of the movie, you realize just how far he would go to help them.

Overall, this movie is a masterpiece which has been overlooked by quite a few people. If, however, you take the time to watch it, you will most likely see that everything I've mentioned above is true. And once you're finished watching it, you'll never look at the world the same way again.

9.5/10


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