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|Index||15 reviews in total|
Middle of Nowhere is a touching character study given an extra
resonance by pairing the real life mother & daughter Susan Sarandon &
Eva Amurri, playing a mother & daughter. Susan Sarandon takes a back
seat while Eva Amurri really shines in her role as Grace, the older of
two daughters being raised by her mother after their father's suicide.
While mother's attention is focused on getting her younger daughter to
modeling school, Grace has to find a summer job to raise money to
fulfill her ambition of going to medical school. She does get a job at
a water park where he meets Dorian (Anton Yelchin) who has an unusual
scheme to find money to get Grace to college.
This movie is full of real characters with whom is easy to identify and empathize with. The acting is great with Amurri and Yelchin the standouts.
The story starts off with 18 year old Grace(Eva Amurri) being rejected
a student loan due to a bad credit history. After her father died, her
mother Rhonda (Susan Sarandon) took out credit cards in her name, maxed
them out and didn't paid them back. Devastated by the possibility of
not going to college Grace starts working a 4 dollar an hour job at
Baton Rouge's water park. That's where she meets Dorian Spitz (Anton
Yelchin), a 17 year old who is tired of having to meet his adoptive
parents expectations and just wants to get away. Grace and Dorian bond
very quickly and Dorian tries to convince Grace into going in business
with him. Dorian's business consists of selling pot, mainly to rich
kids. Grace is reluctant at first but she accepts the offer in hopes of
making just the amount of money she needs to go to college. Along for
the ride is Grace's 15 year old sister Taylor Elizabeth (Willa
Holland)who is being forced into a modeling career by her mother.
Middle Of Nowhere is an extremely well written indie and the direction
is impeccable. Its a a very honest story that relates more to real life
then most films do. The acting was superb, specially Anton Yelchin who
delivered a flawless performance and considering some of his other
work, he seems to be a really promising actor and on the rise. Overall,
In The Middle of Nowhere is a great piece of work that combines several
genres and feels like a breath of fresh air. One of the best indies I
have ever seen.
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE is one of those surprise films that appear to have
gone direct to DVD - not because they are unworthy of theater showing
but because they are thinking films rather than explosively
entertaining/CGI/3D extravaganzas. The script (Michelle Morgan) is
smart, the concepts are viable and refreshingly not overdone, the
direction (John Stockwell) shows great respect for the talents of the
actors, and the cast is as solid as could be assembled for a film about
touchy subjects. The theme that is born at the beginning of this film
and grows in importance right to the end is the parent/child conundrum:
when is parenting adequate and what are the drivers for dysfunctional
Grace Berry (Eva Amurri, in a very natural and focused tough role) explains to a college scholarship counselor (Sharon London) that she needs financial aid to begin her higher education to become a doctor, but though she is a brilliant student, the counselor refuses to award a scholarship because of Grace's exceptionally bad credit rating. Distraught, Grace challenges her mother Rhonda (Susan Sarandon) when she discovers Rhonda has used Grace's name to open credit cards and has spent them to the limit. Grace needs big money to attend college and her summer job at the water park in town is minimum wage only. Also working at the water park is the happy-go-lucky Dorian (Anton Yelchin) who flirts with disaster, having found an 'extra job' selling weed to the rich folks of the city. After a lot of patter Dorian gently coerces Grace into being his driver (Dorian has no car, having been grounded for misbehavior by his grumpy uncle who is serving as relief for Dorian's adoptive parents), and the two begin a quality friendship that fills emotional and financial gaps in each of their lives.
But the truth about Grace and Dorian's parents surfaces: Dorian was given up by his 15-year- old mother for religious reasons and has been placed with quasi-appropriate wealthy parents; Grace lives with the knowledge that her father committed suicide only to come to discover that the suicide was the result of discovering that Rhonda was (and still is) having an affair with his brother Bob (William Haze). Grace's discovery comes through a conversation with her Aunt Polly (Karen Bramen, in an excellent role for this new actress) and Grace's mother-favored younger sister Taylor (Willa Holland), and the revelation sets off a series of events that propels the story to an end. Yes, there are sidebars expected in stories of teenagers: Grace falls in lust with rich kid Ben (Justin Chatwin); Taylor rebels against her mother by cutting her hair thus ending her mother's obsession with Taylor's becoming a model and Taylor seduces Dorian; Dorian confronts his birth mother; there are fights where Dorian is injured and finds himself alone without family support. But without a sugarcoated finale, the film ends quietly, affirming the importance of friends - a kind of love than can replace gaping holes in family relationships.
The movie truly belongs to Eva Amurri who proves she is becoming as fine an actress as her mother, Susan Sarandon. The film also allows Anton Yelchin to demonstrate a much broader range to his acting than he has been given before. The entire cast is excellent. This is a coming of age story - with far more attention being paid to the adult end of the developmental spectrum.
This film is about a teenage girl who is trying to finance her college.
As she does not get the support she needs from her mother, she has to
find alternative measures.
"Middle of Nowhere" wants to cover a lot of emotions by having many subplots. It wants to tell a teenage girl's struggle financially, her relationship with her family, and also her romantic life. I think it wants to be too much, sometimes it is a touching drama about broken family dynamics, sometimes it is a drama about teenage romance, and sometimes it is an introspective, self searching drama. It ends up not being very engaging, and a bit unfocused. Even though the scene where Grace confronts her mother about the death of the father is very touching, it could have had even higher impact if the script was tighter.
This is a really beautiful, sincere film that deserves way more recognition than it's gotten so far. The story is down-to-earth; the characters are real people. This movie had perhaps the most realistic representation of teenagers that I've ever seen, in all their wackiness, insecurities, and surprising maturity. I was especially struck by Willa Holland's performance as 15-year-old Taylor: pretty without being overly sexy, immature but with emotional depth. The cinematography was elegant; a focus on the innocent play of water park guests gave the film heart. I encourage you to watch this movie; it will surprise you!
This was definitely a well acted movie. It had all the fixings; it made
me laugh and even managed to make my eyes water. Sarandon is the
household name, but Yelchin and Amurri steal the show. The story
clearly revolves around them. They come from different worlds at first,
but seem to come to an understanding after all is said and done. There
are many different themes in this movie, and they all play a part in
developing each character. However only the two main actors (Yelchin
and Amurri) really have the chance to showcase their talents. Also,
this movie made me realize that Yelchin maybe in the movie business for
a long, long time.
Definitely worth a watch. Enjoy.
i watched this movie a second time recently and it is even more
entertaining and compelling on second seeing!
there isn't much i can say here that hasn't been covered by the previous reviews on this page. praise is praise and i cannot praise this movie nor reveal anything the other reviews haven't competently revealed to the reader.
my suggestion is to just watch this story as it is made for people who enjoy great characterization, intelligent dialog, and a story you will naturally find yourself wrapped up into!
it's a shame good cinema gets ignored so in this country!
This is a surprisingly good movie about a recent high-school graduate
(Eva Amurri) who's irresponsible mother (Susan Sarandon) has blown her
college fund and destroyed her credit, so she gets together with a very
moral but very misguided rich kid (Anto Yelchin)to deal dope in their
"middle-of-nowhere" small town. A love triangle develops between the
girl, her erstwhile "business partner", and her precocious, aspiring
model younger sister (Willa Holland), but it is a largely unrequited
one as she is uninterested in him and he resists the jailbait charms of
Eva Amurri is a beautiful and talented actress, if a bit long in the tooth to be playing a recent high school graduate. Willa Holland is an unusually beautiful teenager who has since gone on to work in European films like "Summer in Genoa" (as an even more sexually precocious youngster). She does a good job playing an aspiring underage model. It's nice to see Susan Sarandon playing a completely unsympathetic role like this. The real surprise though is Anton Yelchin who I usually find incredibly annoying even in movies I otherwise like like "Alpha Dog". Instead of wanting to kick his teeth down his throat as usual though, I actually kind of liked his character here (although strangely this is the second time he played a sympathetic drug-dealer--he had a very similar role in the more famous, but overrated "Charlie Bartlett).
A lot of credit also has to go to director John Stockwell. It's interesting that two of the more interesting and underrated indie directors today, John Stockwell and Keith Gordon, once appeared together as ACTORS in the very mediocre 1983 horror movie "Christine". Stockwell has come the closest to mainstream success (or, depending on how you look at it, selling out) with films like "Crazy/Beautiful" and "Blue Crush", but he does better I think with smaller pictures like this. I'd recommend this.
If you liked 'Blue Valentine', 'Half Nelson', 'Crazy/Beautiful' or 'All
That I Love (2009)' you're certainly gonna like this one.
I wasn't expecting really much to be honest but gave it a try and what a nice surprise it was. Don't expect anything dumb or crazy, another stupid teen flick this is not. Just normal young (but very smart and reasonable) people who struggle to find themselves and try to do something worthwhile with their lives. This film is a pretty good definition of the so called 'Gen Y'. Everything is authentic and it is this film's biggest advantage. So if you're in your early 20's and want to watch a film about people like you, go ahead, you won't be disappointed.
Kudos to John Stockwell. I admire his way of portraying things in an unpretentious, real and laid-back fashion. He really understands this day's youth and should get more credit for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a good character driven film without any spectacular fireworks.
It's about growing up - meeting new friends, dating, coping with
parents, and some illegal activities; but its' certainly not done in a
preachy way. Each of the characters has his own individuality and we
see them work out their problems alone and together. So you can say
that it's earthy- but there were a few times where it did become
somewhat self-absorbed, however these scenes were never of any great
One of its strengths is that it never goes over the top. At one stage Anton Yelchin (playing Dorian) is beaten up. It would have been so easy for the film-makers to have fist-fight histrionics, but the film wisely refrains from this. The emphasis is successfully kept on each character's emotions. Apparently this was filmed in Louisiana, but hardly any accents were detected!
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