7.0/10
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91 user 109 critic

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, New York during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs, or in prison. He comes to believe he has been saved from their fates by various so-called saints.

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7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Diane (as Julia Garro)
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Young Nerf (as Peter Tambakis)
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Anthony Tirado ...
Street Corner Puerto Rican (credit only)
Erick Rosado ...
Puerto Rican Van Driver
Steve Payne ...
Beach Chair Guy (as Steven Payne)
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Teacher
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Taglines:

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, sexuality, and drug use | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tus santos y tus demonios  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$94,784 (USA) (1 October 2006)

Gross:

$516,139 (USA) (19 November 2006)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the locations used in the film were the same places where the actual events had occurred. The conversation between Dito and Flori in the early morning for example is down the street from where the real Antonio had lived. Dito Montiel joked that many of his childhood friends would hang around the set for filming, and tell the cast members "I never would have said that." See more »

Goofs

In one shot of the subway, American flags are visible next to the subway windows. These were added after the attacks of 9/11, years after the movie takes place. See more »

Quotes

Young Dito: My name is Dito... and I'm gonna leave everybody in this film.
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Crazy Credits

A small scene is shown in the end credits while "New York Groove" is playing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seven Minutes (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Welcome Back
Written and Performed by John Sebastian
Courtesy of John Sebastian Music
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User Reviews

 
Emotionally honest
20 November 2006 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

What kind of writer reveals his troubled childhood, then directs a semi-autobiographical film about it, using a character with his own name? Bold, foolish or maybe both, that's exactly what Dito Montiel did.

Reminiscent of Larry Clark's Kids in Manhattan, it depicts adolescents growing up in a tough neighbourhood, in the borough of Queens. For some of these youth, the dangers lay not just on the streets, but also in their own homes. Dito only knew he had to get away.

At first the film is a little difficult to watch visually – the editing and hand-held camera are abrupt. As the film develops, and the story shifts into the present, it becomes evident that this was a deliberate device to depict the nature of recollection. As Dito makes the journey across the continent to visit the ill father he hasn't seen in 15 years, a montage of childhood memories flood his mind.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints at times is not an easy film to watch but is more accessible than Kids. Both films depict the dangers faced by adolescents. While Kids depicted the consequences of those dangers, this film portrays how one boy escapes from them, but ultimately needs to confront and reconcile his past.

The performances in the film are strong. The actors are all very credible. The dialogue is saturated with authenticity. Melonie Diaz, who previously appeared in Raising Victor Vargas, beautifully portrayed Dito's childhood girlfriend Laurie. Rosario Dawson plays the grown up Laurie, and incidentally made her film debut in Kids.

Producer Robert Downey Jr. who encouraged Montiel to make the film, was excellent in an understated role as the adult Dito. The transition of actors between 1986 and the present was depicted effectively. Special mention to Chazz Palminteri, who always has a strong but unforced screen presence.

A film made with a small budget, it pays off with a strong, emotionally powerful and worthwhile story. I was surprised how the emotional impact crept up towards the end, as Dito dealt with his past as best he could.

This film is highly recommended for those who enjoy human drama in shades of grey. There's no good guy/bad guy thing happening here. It's people dealing with the hand that destiny has given them, and trying to find their way. It is full of emotional honesty and plausibility that you can buy into. And don't leave until after the final credits.


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