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Being Flynn (2012)

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Working in a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn re-encounters his father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet. Sensing trouble in his own life, Nick wrestles with the notion of reaching out yet again to his dad.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Cirbus ...
Young Nick
Sarah Quinn ...
Religious Girl
Benjamin Foronda ...
Punky Guy


Nick Flynn, in his 20s, hasn't found his place in the world yet, but hopes to be a writer. Around the time he takes a job at a homeless shelter in Boston, his father, Jonathan, who considers himself a great writer and who hasn't see Nick in years, abruptly makes fleeting contact. A few months later, the down-and-out Jonathan shows up at Nick's shelter and becomes a resident. This disorients Nick; he doesn't handle it well, compounded by Jonathan's belligerent behavior. Nick's memories of his mother, his budding relationship with a co-worker, and his own demons make things worse. Can anything improve? Is he his father's son? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 April 2012 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$43,990 (USA) (2 March 2012)


$526,322 (USA) (6 April 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Off screen, while taking a break from filming and still in costume, Robert De Niro attempted to enter The Greenwich hotel, which he co-owns. The security did not recognize De Niro, turned him away and would not let him in. See more »


[first lines]
Jonathan Flynn: America has produced only three classic writers - Mark Twain, J.D. Salinger and me. I'm Jonathan Flynn. Everything I write is a masterpiece. And soon, very soon, I shall be known.
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Referenced in Made in Hollywood: Episode #7.19 (2012) See more »


The Smile Behind Your Face
Written and Performed by Badly Drawn Boy (as Badly Drawn Boy)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Radiant, Touching Memoir of Nick Flynn Brought to the Screen
15 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Few films concerning father/son relationships have been able to produce the emotional impact of this masterfully written and directed and acted BEING FLYNN. Paul Weitz directs and adapted the 2004 memoir by Nick Flynn "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir" and brought together a superlative cast that just may be Robert De Niro's finest hour. Nick Flynn deserves the credit for this articulate tale of his own life: he was born and grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts, south of Boston. His parents divorced when he was young and his mother committed suicide when he was 22. He drifted through several jobs before starting work at a homeless shelter in Boston, where at age twenty-seven, he met his estranged, homeless father for the first time. That is the core of the film.

The nature of the film works very well: we simultaneously meet Jonathan Flynn (Robert DeNiro), a man who believes he is 'America's greatest writer along side Mark Twain and JD Salinger, who lives life day to day in a drunken stupor, driving taxis, acting out con games etc until he becomes homeless, and after seeking shelter from old friends he has neglected, he ends up in a homeless shelter. We also meet his estranged son Nick Flynn (Paul Dano, in a breakout performance) who is striving to discover who he is, perceiving himself as a writer but unsuccessful with relationships: Nick's mother Jody (Julianne Moore) we see only in flashbacks because she committed suicide, and his only communication with his absent father has been through letters. Also homeless, Nick moves with with two characters (Eddie Rouse and Steve Cirbus) who manage to help Nick find a job in a homeless shelter. As Nick adjusts to working at the shelter he comes into connect with a potential girlfriend Denise (Olivia Thirlby) and begins to feel as though his life has some degree of meaning. The jolt comes when Jonathan seeks shelter in the homeless shelter where Nick works and it is this coming together of two bruised and pained people who happen to be father and son that sets in motion the resolution of the story. Both men are pitiful but both have redeeming characteristics and it is this struggling coming together that makes the film breathe. In addition to the brilliant acting of the main characters, there are also exceptionally memorable roles by Lili Taylor, Victor Rasuk, Thomas Middleditch, Wes Studi, Chris Chalk and others.

Not only is the film pitch perfect in nearly every detail, but it also gives the viewer the opportunity to consider the plight of the homeless around us. How many tragic stories like this are untold or never will be known? When a film can produce that degree of involvement with the audience it goes beyond simply being a film and becomes art - art makes us consider, think, and change.

Grady Harp

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

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