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Believing the quote that you are born alone, die alone and everything else is an illusion, George doesn't see the point of life, school, or homework. Then he meets Sally and he now has a reason to go to school and make friends, even if he's not ready to admit to himself or to her that he likes her. The school's principal and art teacher introduce him to an alumni, and successful artist, Dustin, who can help guide George along life's path, but other distractions start surfacing, and George might not even be able to graduate from high school. Written by
Asking the question, "What's the point?" But then doesn't deliver much
The teenage rebel, full of angst, and feeling alienated through their own defeatist philosophies, once perfected in Holden Caulfield, is on display here again in George (Freddie Highmore). He has the typical advanced vocabulary and expected intellect, but boredom for school and life. "What's the point if you're just going to die alone?"
"The Art of Getting By" tried to straddle the line between drama and comedy. Expecting us to laugh at George's despondency but then expecting us to feel for his life's difficulties. Although both comedic and dramatic elements were present, it was missing a touch of realism to help build the connection for the audience.
Is it about getting the girl, finding your path in life, or just graduating high school? Of course it's about all of that, but at times it seemed to be about none of that. Its aimlessness in telling me what the point of it all was, seemed a little juvenile. It's a teen coming-of-age film, probably meant for the twenty-something crowd, but missing any greater meaning to fulfill its audience.
It's the type of story that gets told frequently, but it also needs to be told frequently. It can get old quickly if you've seen better versions, and I, unfortunately, have seen better versions. I love Highmore and Emma Roberts, and this is exactly the type of roles they need to launch their adult career. I was impressed with Michael Angarano playing the older, if not any more mature, slacker artist who could have easily disappeared into adolescent oblivion, but instead found some meat in his role and really stood out.
"The Art of Getting By" desperately needs the love it received from Sundance, because it's not going to get much of anything else. Which is a shame because it's not a bad movie but I don't think the filmmakers ever found the point they wanted to make.
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