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The Art of Getting By (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 17 June 2011 (USA)
2:22 | Trailer

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George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who has made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, is befriended by Sally, a popular but complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.



3,101 ( 323)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zoe Rubenstein
Will Sharpe
Mrs. Grimes
Maya Ri Sanchez ...
Principal Martinson
Mrs. Dougherty
Vivian Sargent
Jarlath Conroy ...
Harris McElroy
Jack Sargent
Ms. Herman


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 napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The toughest lesson is love. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including sexual content, language, teen drinking and partying | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 June 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Homework  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$679,160 (USA) (17 June 2011)


$1,429,260 (USA) (8 July 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charlotte, Sally's mom gave birth to Sally when she was 16 years old. But in real life Elizabeth Reaser is 16 years older than Emma Roberts. See more »


Dustin: Isn't it better that it is me? I opposed to some douchebag she just met and wouldn't even let you look at her.
George Zinavoy: You want me to thank you!
Dustin: I actually felt something. That doesn't always happen, it hasn't happened in a very long time... and I have lived long enough to know that when it does, you should act on it. I didn't think you were ready.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Bad Teacher (2011) See more »


We Drink On The Job
Written by Aaron Espinoza
Performed by Earlimart
Courtesy of Palm Pictures, LLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Asking the question, "What's the point?" But then doesn't deliver much
18 June 2011 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

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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