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.
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
Dito Montiel's original vision had kids from the streets of New York City playing the characters, and he held seven open casting calls. He was eventually persuaded to allow professionals to audition, joking that he protested against every single actor who ended up cast. He later said that each cast member ended up being perfect in his or her role. See more »
When Dito and Mike are walking to Frank's for the first time they walk by Mamas Food Shop, which wasn't established until 1995. See more »
My name is Jenny and everyone's a fucking joke.
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A small scene is shown in the end credits while "New York Groove" is playing. See more »
An authentically heartfelt, and truly inspiring film, by a first-time filmmaker, Recognizing Your Saints, bellows deep in the heart and soul of everyone that is privileged to see it. Written and directed by Dito Montiel, from his autobiographical novel of the same title, Recognizing Your Saints is a sincerely brave effort, by a shy and yet outspoken filmmaker. Rehashing his hellish childhood in 1980's Astoria, Queens, Montiel brings a brilliant cast together to portray the misery of the youth growing up around him at the time.
Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the adult version of Montiel and Shia LaBeouf as the angst teenager, there is an almost perfect synergy between the two portrayals of Montiel at two different spectrum's of his life. Being called back to a Queens that Montiel left with his life and the clothes on his back, he is called back to take his dying father to the hospital.
Questions of fatherly love and compassion are brought out throughout the film, only to be answered by the gently grim, unyielding hand of Montiel's father played by native New Yorker, Chaz Palmintieri. Comparisons to Mean Streets, Kids and Raising Victor Vargas can be made to this New York drama on the whole. But, every scene, individually is so undeniably real that Montiel's film surpasses its comparisons and resonates as an entirely different type of film.
This film, about a group of kids can be told anywhere and that is what is unique about it, that it does not limit itself to the city it subsequently takes place on. It was a great surprise after the screening of the film, to have a nice personal Q & A, with the director himself. Being a very shy man, Montiel answered a few questions about the characters in the film, and where they are now. He also explained how much he loved working with the young cast, and breaking the rules of film making, he did not know existed. Overall this is a great film, filled with amazing performances, no one should miss.
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