MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 20,696 this week

Tarnation (2003)

7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,328 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 113 user | 114 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more -- culled from 19 years of his life.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 25 Apr 2011
 
a list of 38 titles
created 04 Jan 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 29 Oct 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 26 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Tarnation" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Tarnation (2003)

Tarnation (2003) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Tarnation.
11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Spellbound (2002)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.

Directors: Sam Green, Bill Siegel
Stars: Lili Taylor, Pamela Z, Jim Lange
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

About a filmmaker not only revisiting, but also recreating (not in a conventional sense) one of his first films, The Perfect Human / Det perfekte menneske (1967)

Directors: Jørgen Leth, Lars von Trier
Stars: Claus Nissen, Majken Algren Nielsen, Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
Food, Inc. (2008)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

Director: Robert Kenner
Stars: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb
Catfish (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Stars: Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky
Control Room (2004)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director: Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry
The Cove (2009)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

Director: Louie Psihoyos
Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Renee Leblanc ...
Herself
...
Himself
Adolph Davis ...
Himself
Rosemary Davis ...
Herself
David Sanin Paz ...
Himself
Joshua Williams ...
Himself
Michael Cox ...
David Leblanc ...
Himself
Stacey Mowery ...
Herself
Michael Mouton ...
Himself
Greg Ayres ...
Himself (as Bam-Bam)
Vanda Stovall ...
Herself
Dagon James ...
Himself
Vivian Kalinov ...
Herself (as Girl in Student Film)
Steve Caouette ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, and part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, old answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American family travesty. The story begins in 2003 when Jonathan learns that his schizophrenic mother, Renee, has overdosed on her lithium medication. He is catapulted back into his real and horrifying family legacy of rape, abandonment, promiscuity, drug addiction, child abuse, and psychosis. As he grows up on camera, he finds the escapist balm of musical theater and B horror flicks and reconnects to life through a queer chosen family. Then a look into the future shows Jonathan as he confronts the symbiotic and almost unbearable love he shares with his beautiful and tragically damaged mother. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your greatest creation is the life you lead


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Kolastirio  »

Box Office

Budget:

$218 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,740 (USA) (8 October 2004)

Gross:

$592,014 (USA) (27 May 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original cut of the film ran over 2 hrs. and 40 minutes long. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Renee Leblanc: [singing] This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
See more »

Connections

Features Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Ice-Pulse
by The Cocteau Twins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Some Experiments Fail Miserably
7 February 2004 | by (Salt Lake City, Utah) – See all my reviews

Dinking around on I-Movie with footage of yourself and airing your unsubstantiated gripes about your family doesn't impress me.

Despite the orgasmic gush of praise from EBAN & CHARLEY director Jimmy Bolton on this board, TARNATION is a languishing Narcissus Apocalypse.

As a documentary, it's frivolous. As an "experimental film," it accomplishes nothing. As a movie, it's just another cheap drama queen's primal screech for attention.

One of the laziest things a filmmaker can do is narrate. That's what Mr. Caouette does. He simply dinks around with footage of himself and types his "life story" as subtitles over the screen most of the time. Unfortunately, all we get is a vague impression of ways Caouette feels he's been a victim his whole life, without ever confronting his perpetrators satisfyingly.

By the end of the film, he confronts his mother and grandfather about their mentally questionable conspiracy theories, and they do seem to be crazy, but TARNATION never commits to or resolves any single question it asks. Mr. Caouette obviously has many deep resentments, but we never get the whole story by seeing the witnesses, alternatve viewpoints or details.

Caouette's narration and hearsay is completely useless to the audience. We don't learn a damn thing. TARNATION is just therapeutic venting for him. What's in it for us?

How about people that accuse TARNATION of being an experimental film?

Experimental films manipulate their mediums in exciting ways. TARNATION is merely a few command keys on I-Movie, not some innovative, new technique. It stretches thin footage out with Mickey Mouse editing gimmicks and adds music. So what?

A lot of "independently minded" filmmakers in the U.S. think that it's cool to be different.

They're wrong. It's only cool to be different if you have something exciting, functional and compelling to show for it.

That's why it's no surprise that John Cameron Mitchell and Gus Van Sant co- produced the film. Half the movies these guys make are trashed by critics and ignored by audiences, if not distributors and film festivals, too. Jimmy Bolton's movies were also complete crap that critics vanquished and audiences passed on.

Why does a queer clique with such quasi-famous people adore Jonathan Caouette and his vanity project TARNATION so much?

The answer is simple: Misery Loves Company.


10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How Far Did You Get Before You Turned Off? leopoldfrank
MUSIC IN TARNATION cinevore-team
Smoke And Mirrors, He Should Be Ashamed of Himself johnathan_dempsey
too hard on his grandparents? teejay6682
Distribution nikki1467
Masterpiece StruttingRooster
Discuss Tarnation (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page