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A Very Serious Person (2006)

 |  Drama  |  5 May 2006 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 368 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 3 critic

A coming-of-age tale about a showtunes- and old Hollywood-obsessed boy and his effete Danish mentor. The two bond and teach each other lessons about self-acceptance over the course of one magical summer on the Jersey Shore.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
P.J. Verhoest ...
Gil
...
Betty
...
Mrs. A
...
Terry
...
Jan
...
Mrs. Kupchunas
Marvin Einhorn ...
Mr. Horowitz
Jonathan Ospa ...
Travis
Ben Roberts ...
Waiter
...
Little Girl (as Heather Schact)
...
Glenda
Carl Andress ...
Lee
Simon Fortin ...
Gilles
...
Maude
...
Paramedic
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Storyline

Jan, an itinerant male nurse from Denmark, takes a new job with Mrs. A, a terminally ill Manhattan woman raising her parentless thirteen-year-old grandson, Gil. Spending the summer by the shore, the emotionally reserved Jan finds himself oddly cast as a mentor to Gil in having to prepare the sensitive boy for life with his cousins in Florida after his grandmother's death. A deep friendship grows between these two solitary people. By the end of the summer, Gil has developed a new maturity and independence, while the enigmatic Jan has revealed his own vulnerability. Written by Charles Busch

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5 May 2006 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good
5 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie is more impressive and interesting than it is entertaining. Its entertainment value resides ONLY in Polly Bergen's excellent, unfailingly believable and moving performance as a dying old woman. She's been around all my life (I'm 65), but I never liked her until now.

The movie is interesting because of Charles Busch's surprising decision to play strongly against type, in an unattractive male role, wearing practically no makeup, instead of the exceedingly glamorous female roles he has played forever. I can't say he's very good as the Danish nurse Jan, but he's not at all bad, and I don't particularly like his near-hysterical, mostly unfunny female performances either. This movie's weakest moments come when he drifts closest to his previous work, in manic scenes with the two hairdressers.

The movie is impressive because, over and over again, characters did things that surprised me, in a good way. The dying grandmother, the precocious, apparently-coming-out boy, the gay male nurse - all could have been tediously predictable stereotypes but weren't. That's good writing. The ending is particularly surprising and gratifying.

This movie is also impressive because for the most part Busch succeeds in charting new territory for himself well along in his career, playing restrained, male roles if he wants to. I think he'd get better at it the more he did it. It's always nice when people break the molds they've been cast in.


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