MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 21,198 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 5,272 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:

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 37 titles
created 09 May 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 21 Feb 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 34 titles
created 2 months ago
 
a list of 21 titles
created 1 month ago
 

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.
9 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
    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 7.6/10 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 7.8/10 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
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
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
The Yes Men (2003)
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Anti-corporate activists travel from conference to conference, impersonating member of the World Trade Organization.

Directors: Dan Ollman, Sarah Price, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Andreas Bichlbauer, Mike Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum
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 | 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
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
The Imposter (2012)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director: Bart Layton
Stars: Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach
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 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Tarnation  »

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 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Naked As We Came
Written by Iron & Wine (as Iron and Wine)
Performed by Iron & Wine (as Iron and Wine)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

art or opinion?
29 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

After reviewing tarnation, I really think that there should of been some sort of biography attempt made by the director in order to explain more clearly. I must agree that this film shows bare emotions to the fullest extent. However, I got something a little different out of it, as I have met and had lengthly conversations with the director, John. I met John through John Cameron Mitchell at an audition in New York. I hung out with him recently in NY when I was visiting JCM as he co produced the flick to begin with.

I felt that the core of the film really lied within ourselves. What could be called everyday family situations where no one is really concerned how they go are essential to life and essential to this story. Many may think that this is a whimsical film about a boy taking care of his schizo mom. These everyday life situations I thought showed more of the human side we all tend to possess. Life may be full of thrill rides, but you have to wait in line to get on them, hence some of these scenes.

Overall, I think what John has created is a film too real for Hollywood and more importantly, more real than everyday life. Most people can't relate to real life as they don't live it themselves. In fact, it was even so for myself (lol). I did feel a little weird myself in the end.

Any movie where the director bares his soul in it's entirety is worth seeing to me.


11 of 21 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