The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.
Dito, a writer in L.A., goes home to Astoria, Queens, after a 15-year absence when his mother calls to say his father's ill. In a series of flashbacks we see the young Dito, his parents, his four closest friends, and his girl Laurie, as each tries to navigate family, race, loyalty, sex, coming of age, violence, and wanting out. A ball falls onto the subway tracks at a station, small things get out of hand. Can Dito go home again? Written by
Robert Downey Jr had originally planned to direct the film himself. But in the four years of pre-production, he became busy with various other projects. Eventually Dito Montiel decided to direct, despite having only made a couple of short films beforehand. Robert Downey Jr remained on as a producer. See more »
In the scene where Antonio beats the Reaper with a bat in the store you can see Listerine Pocketpacks breath strips which didn't come to the market until the 21st century. See more »
My friend just got fucking shot. You don't know what's happening.
It's okay. It's okay. I'm your father. I love you. I'm your father.
When were you ever my father?
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A small scene is shown in the end credits while "New York Groove" is playing. See more »
I was lucky enough to catch the last showing of "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" at my local theater, and man, was I surprised. I haven't seen a film with such an accurate and heart wrenching portraits of troubled youths since "Kids".
"A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" gives us a glimpse into the life of Dito Montiel (Shia Labouf, with Robert Downey Jr. as the older version) growing up on the streets of Astoria, Queens in 1986. When he leaves for California, he leaves behind his best friend and resident tough guy Antonio (Channing Tatum, with Eric Roberts playing the older version), his caring mother (Diane Wiest) and tough love father (Chazz Palminteri), his girlfriend Laurie (Melonie Diaz, with Rosario Dawson as the older version), and pretty much everyone else he knew.
First time director Dito Montiel does a stellar job of establishing characters and their relationships. He also does a great job directing scenes that seem so real (thnks to some superb acting by the cast), it almost seems like a documentary. A huge round of applause goes to the cast for their performances.
The ending wasn't really cohesive with the script. I didn't leave knowing what happened with Dito and his family and friends. Other than that, there's not a single bad moment.
"A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" is raw, gritty, and stunning. There's not a single disappointing scene in the movie.
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