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Lymelife (2008)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,991 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 48 user | 156 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A family unit begins to bow under the pressure of a failing marriage.

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Title: Lymelife (2008)

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Cast

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Phillip Pennestri ...
Louis Ruffolo Jr. ...
Bartender
Beepers ...
Deer
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Storyline

Set in the late 70's, seen through the innocent eyes of a fifteen year old boy, SCOTT, "Lymelife" is a unique take on the dangers of the American Dream. This funny, sad, violent and sometimes tragic look at first love, family dynamics and divorce weaves an intricate tapestry of American life during a time of drastic economic and emotional change. Written by TIFF

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The American Dream Sucks

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content, violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

23 October 2009 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

A Família Bartlett  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Recipient of the Toronto Film Festival's International Critic's Award. See more »

Goofs

In the transitional shot from the scene where Scott's mother attempts to force him to apologize to a boy he just beat up, a passing train is visible in the background. Though the story is supposed to take place in Long Island, the train is distinctively a NJ Transit train, not a Long Island RR train. See more »

Quotes

Scott Bartlett: What did you hear?
Adrianna Bragg: I head you fingered me and it was like the inside of a jelly donut. Uch, Scott, that is so disgusting!
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Connections

References Donahue (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Brandy You're a Fine Girl
Written by Elliot Lurie
Performed by Looking Glass
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony/BMG Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
Touching but occasionally disturbing coming-of-age story
4 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I attended the World Premiere of "Lymelife" at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. This touching but occasionally disturbing coming-of-age story was, literally, a labor of brotherly love. Director Derick Martini and his brother Steven not only wrote the screenplay together but they also co-edited it. Adding to those responsibilities, Steven composed the music and was one of the producers.

Based on events in their own lives, the brothers Martini have crafted a story of love and denial, mystery and tragedy.

The film focuses on two families, the Bartletts and the Braggs. The adults here -- Alec Baldwin and Jill Hennessy as Micky and Brenda Bartlett, Timothy Hutton and Cynthia Nixon as Charlie and Melissa Bragg -- are woefully flawed and ill-equipped role models for their children -- Rory and Kieran Culkin as Scott and Jimmy Bartlett, Emma Roberts as Adrianna Bragg. When Scott and Adrianna begin to discover the joys of young love, the road down which they travel is as full of promise as the Long Island Rail Road tracks that carry the ever-present trains past their houses.

"Lymelife" has the classic, bona fide look and feel of a true American indie. The 70s soundtrack is a real crowd pleaser. Long Island's bucolic setting betrays the tension and deception that lies just beneath the surface of these dysfunctional families.

Photography is topnotch, and cinematographer Frank Godwin fills the film with long takes and tracking shots (Gus Van Sant fans will be pleased) which help build tension and allow the audience to stay in tune with the film's ebbs and flows. Many scenes without dialogue are among the most powerful as Martini allows Rory's face and eyes to say more than any script could (think "Mean Creek").

The entire ensemble cast turn in standout performances. Timothy Hutton and Cynthia Nixon are particularly impressive. But, most of all, Rory Culkin carries this film. His relationship with his brother offscreen translates onto the screen so well that it's hard to tell where the acting ends and the Culkins begin. In fact, Martini said he often left the camera rolling and didn't yell "cut," in order to capture their playfulness. If the interaction between the brothers felt authentic, it may be because much of what is seen on screen was improvised. That's why it seemed so real and painful, because it was.

Despite some dark themes, "Lymelife" has quite a bit of humor in it. Imagine a slightly lighter "American Beauty" or "Snow Angels." In fact, Culkin's relationship with Emma Roberts is, along with that of Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirlby in "Snow Angels," one of the the best depictions of first love and awkward sexual encounters I've ever seen.

Ironically, Martini's style is also quite similar to that of David Gordon Green, who directed "Snow Angels." He allows much of the action to come from the actors themselves as opposed to his own direction.

Despite the film's many twists and turns, "Lymelife" is ultimately a story of the wonders of discovery. More than anything, what we discover are the possibilities presented by youth.

The Toronto experience is unlike any other. First, Martini introduced the film. In fact, they delayed the screening as long as they could and he tried to vamp onstage for awhile since Kieran and Rory were held up in traffic. He eventually decided to roll the film, and just as he was about to turn over the mike and walk offstage "his boys" walked in. He didn't want to start it without them. So right from the start there was a bond between the filmmaker, cast, and audience. It was one of the festival's small venues so it was packed.

The exciting Q&A after the screening was truly a family affair with both the brothers Martini and Culkin in attendance. Very few people left as the credits rolled since the film leaves many points open to interpretation. Martini was exceptional. It was one of the best Q&As I've attended (and that numbers in the hundreds). He was upbeat, friendly, and willing to discuss a lot of the "behind the scenes" aspects. Many filmmakers are a bit shy onstage and reluctant to open up. He was not.

I chose "Lymelife" as one of my 5 Top Picks from this year's festival (out of 30 films). It also won the prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery and is now making the rounds of the festival circuit. Screen Media picked up the film for distribution and it hits theaters on April 8, 2009.


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