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The Art of Getting By
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Art of Getting By More at IMDbPro »

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91 out of 108 people found the following review useful:

Hidden gem

9/10
Author: louis_sound from Belgium
8 November 2011

So I happened to notice quite a great deal of people hold negative opinions on this movie. That's why I wanted to share my 2 cents.

Basically, the movie was what I expected it to be. Meaning: no blockbuster, no real Hollywood production, no mind-blowing action. A movie with a slice of life, just like 500 Days of Summer (come to think of it, it gets close to it in some ways, even if perhaps a little less mature). If you're looking for these exact characteristics, you may be better of looking for a different movie.

So what to expect from it? First of all: it does not aim towards shocking you. It delivers a message, apparent from the introduction we get at the start of the movie. Starting a movie with a quote is bold, yet it's also original and different. It sets the tone perfectly. So George is this high-school guy who has a different hobby, drawing. He gets so worked up in it that when he does, he loses sight of all his surroundings (anyone who's creative will relate, as do I). On top of this he holds a pessimistic view on life, basically saying 'we're all going to die anyway so what's the point'? Now I know a lot of people will consider this to be 'emo' or whatever, but it's not. Honestly. I plead guilty: I myself often think in this manner. In fact, I can relate so much to George that by the end of the movie, I sat with my mouth open, totally freaked out and overwhelmed, still am. He's the different one, the outcast, the guy nobody knows and everyone ignores. Yet people tend to forget that being quiet doesn't equal being an uninteresting person. On the contrary: this movie likes to show us the other side of the coin. So my conclusion would be that if you often feel misunderstood, or have lost motivation for life in general, this movie would definitely be the way to go, as it requires a certain mindset I believe...

What is so interesting about the movie, is that we see a great deal of changes in George's life from the moment he meets Sally. It triggers different actions and revelations in his life that are irreversible, as is often the case with love in real life too. It basically shows us that loved ones can change one's life for the better, even in a not always positive way. Love surpasses most joys of life, as it surpasses most of its burdens.

There were times when I was slightly annoyed. I was aware there were times where I would tell myself 'just do it/just say it!'. There are many awkward silences in the movie, which are automatically transferred to the watcher's feelings. I wanted to jump into the movie, help G. out, because life can be difficult, more so when you're an introvert. And even more so when love's involved. (personal rant ahead) The world of today is all about extroverts, people who are eloquent and sociable, certainly not something George can boast about.

The amount of growth George shows while struggling with his problems really makes the movie. You see him get out of his shell, while not losing his edge. It's not your typical American movie with happy ending, all's well that ends well. Again, just like life is a lot of the time.

I'd advise anyone to have a look. This movie has been a hidden gem for me and it perfectly fits my taste for movies. Be prepared for some thinking and awkwardness from time to time and when that's OK with you, you'll love it. If this is not what appeals to you, then it will probably not be your cup of tea. If you are an artist and have lost motivation and/or inspiration, you should feel compelled to absorb what this movie has to offer.

If you do enjoy this movie, don't forget to take a look at: '500 days of Summer' and 'It's kind of a funny story', which both are pretty close in terms of atmosphere to this one.

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56 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

Asking the question, "What's the point?" But then doesn't deliver much

5/10
Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
18 June 2011

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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30 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Another good movie made even better by the acting. Highmore & Roberts will be winning Oscars soon. Good watch. I say B+

Author: Tony Heck (cosmo_tiger@hotmail.com) from United States
20 October 2011

"We all die alone, so why am I supposed to spend my life working, sweating, struggling...I have better things to do with my time." George (Highmore) is a high schooler who has pretty much given up. Bitter with the world and his mother he refuses to do anything and hasn't done a real day's work in his entire senior year. He meets Sally (Roberts) who sees the same thing in herself. This is a very good movie made better by the acting. Highmore, in a departure from his usual disgustingly good boy roles is excellent in this. Roberts, who is fast becoming a better actress then her aunt is, is also fantastic in this movie. The role of George is written to be a total jerk to most people he meets, but Highmore has enough "baggage" with him that even though he is not nice to almost everyone in the movie you still wind up rooting for him and wanting him to succeed by the end. That is a rare thing for an actor that young. While this is a very good movie that forces you to keep watching it does tend to drag in a few places, but not enough to be boring. If that makes sense. Overall, a very good movie with great acting that is a definite watch. The type of movie that all high schoolers should watch. I give it a B+.

*Also try - Happythankyoumoreplease & It's Kind Of A Funny Story

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31 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Great to watch once

7/10
Author: antchinn from United Kingdom
3 September 2011

Most movies you only really watch once, unless its like American Beauty or Superbad, where it takes a fair few watches to get old. Without a doubt this movie is great, the character 'George' is one of those characters in a film who's name you search afterwards to find other movies with they've featured in, as he plays the role of a; confused, troubled, intelligent, different teenager who most could relate to at that age. If you want a movie that makes you think afterwards and can relate to, then I'd say watch it. It's great for a night in, but I'd say the downfalls is the fact that yet again like most of these types of films is predictable, but other than that I'd say the acting is great and its enjoyable to say the least.

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Brings back memories of your high school days.

7/10
Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
18 June 2011

This independent picture first titled "Homework" then changed to "The Art of Getting By" wasn't nothing great, yet it's story brings back memories of the times when most remember that being their high school days. When we struggled for social acceptance, worried about making good grades and getting into college. And most of all finding the right first love that you were mad about! And this film covers all of those themes.

Set in New York City at a prep high school you have an odd and lonely out of place boy George(Freddie Highmore) who's searching for social acceptance while he slacks and struggles with his grades. Also his mother Vivian(Rita Wilson) is having problems of her own with George's stepfather and money woes are painful. It's upon meeting a girl that George has loved from a distance that gives him hope. Enter Sally(good performance from Emma Roberts)a southern girl who's moved north with her sexy and extroverted mother Charlotte(Elizabeth Reaser). And as typical the ups and downs of meeting, partying, and hanging out come and go and the typical hormones rage also. In the end George learns both a discovery of art and love. Overall nothing great it's somewhat predictable still it's theme and message is memorable and true this film is an all right watch.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Bittersweet teen romance thats very different to the usual fare.

6/10
Author: Jimmy Collins from United States
23 November 2011

this movie has gotten a pretty bad rap, it supposedly got terrible reviews from critics when it was first released and it didn't perform well at the box office but i don't see what is so horrible about it, i thought it was a nice, easily watchable film that didn't follow the usual cliché storyline that most teen romance films follow.

Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts are rather sweet together, although i have to say the Emma Roberts character is slightly annoying and a bit of a hussy, obviously she's picked this up from her mother but besides that the two leads are great together and have a genuine awkwardness between them that is really funny and nice to watch.

The only time that i thought the movie faltered was when it started to deal with the family side of the story, i didn't find it very interesting and it seemed like a kinda boring subplot. I would have liked to see more scenes with Alicia Silverstone because she is great and it was cool to see her in a very different role like this. Also the lack of soundtrack lets this film down slightly but this is an independent film so i guess you have to make allowances for that.

So if you're looking for a teen film that is a tad left of field, check this out.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Good/But

5/10
Author: Jim-500 (jpsned@hotmail.com) from Sunderland, MA
19 May 2012

This is one of those movies that starts out well but seems to disappoint in the end.

It's beautifully shot and edited, and we see many fine performances. I found Emma Roberts particularly appealing, as she has a dour, come-hither look in her dark eyes about 95% of the time. What Ingrid Bergman could achieve by looking down, Roberts does by looking almost right at us.

Freddie Highmore looks and feels authentic. His character has a lot of choices to make, many of which go against all common sense. But although he drives us crazy, he's intriguing and we want to know what's to happen to him.

Mid-movie, the characters are hit with several crises, and it gets interesting as we wonder how they'll resolve them. When resolution strikes, though, it's so conventional that it's disappointing. The expected is unexpected.

Yup, it has indie-feel and Sundance all over it. But I was hoping for a big surprise at the end from these flawed but good people; instead, they seemed to abandon what they had stood for. And what may have qualified as a surprise involving Roberts was simply unbelievable and too convenient to accept. Though I was happy for them, a simple, happy ending didn't feel right with these non-simple characters.

But then, maybe, that was the point.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Underestimated

10/10
Author: monsterheat0424 from United States
29 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is about a teen that has to make up his mind whether to continue to get by in life or actually put in the effort to graduate. It's quite complicating since he is an artist that gets easily distracted. With the help of his newfound friend, he finally has a reason to strive to succeed in life, while falling in love with her. The movie is inspiring to all of the kids out there that don't attempt to put the effort into life.

One line that specifically highlights this is the line "Anything Is Possible". It is said at the end of the movie but should be emphasized more throughout the movie since it is the main message.

This movie is different because it shows the other side of high school kids; the "bad" side. With an amazing performance by Highmore, The Art of Getting By may just be the best "underdog" movie of 2011.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Drama Film, Great Cast

7/10
Author: thatmovieguy91 from United States
27 January 2012

I loved this movie. Remined me of when I was in high school, by the way Im only 20 yrs old. Rmeinded me of the people I dealt in high school, teachers, not having a lot of friends, girls I met over time.

Here is a short summary of the movie George played by Freddie Highmore, is a senior in high school who narrates throughout the movie, is does not do his homework or listen in class instead he draws sketches and doodles. After a few days George meets this girl Sally played by Emma Roberts who becomes friends with him and falls in love with him, well George doesn't know what to feel and ends up losing her, he get a last chance to complete all his work for a whole yearn in order to graduate high school given to him by his principal. George lives with his mom and stepdad who lost his job and is leaving them. Towards the end of the movie George has to complete an art project, one project of the whole year in order to graduate and ends up painting an awesome portrait.

Great artistic drama with some comedy scenes that will make you laugh, because they remind you of when you were young and in school. Great cast. Especially Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore, the two main people in the film.

I recommend this movie for people who love art, who likes romantic/drama films, and everyone else.

I bummed it did not make its way to theaters and got only a release at the Sundance Film Festival and on DVD and bluray. This movie could of done very well at the box office.

I give it 7 out of 10 stars, for its great cast, great plot and great story.

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19 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Confusing genres keeps 'Art' from getting by

4/10
Author: gregeichelberger from San Diego
23 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You know a movie where the main plot line is skipping school is bad when the main character tells the audience there are "rules" to such activities. And unless that character is Ferris Bueller, the viewers - for the most part - should just ignore those guidelines.

I'll go a step further, though. This newest Fox Searchlight releases wants to a remake of the classic 1986 John Hughes comedy so bad, all it's missing is a love interest named Sloane. So, instead of paying good money to see this homage to clinical depression with a side order of a ridiculous teenage affair, save your money - and Ferris - and avoid this like the plague.

It is now 2011, so this version stars Freddie Highmore ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Finding Neverland") as George, a loner so depressing he makes Sylvia Plath look like Jerry Lewis. George has reached in senior year in high school without making a friend or doing any homework, whatsoever. He wears this non-achievement like a badge of honor, but no one really knows (or honestly cares) about whatever his motivation might be. He also tries to channel the spirit of Holden Caufield, but like his Ferris Beuller impersonation, it comes up woefully short.

Threatened by various teachers and counselors with expulsion or failure, he continues in his fatalistic endeavors. He tells one instructor who asks if he completed an assignment, "No, the whole thing seemed meaningless (like this film)." This inane comment somehow attracts the attention of Sally (Emma Roberts, "Nancy Drew," "It's Kind Of a Funny Story"), one of the school's more beautiful coeds.

Seeing this interest, George's brain cells finally wake up and he spends the better part of the rest of the movie trying to simultaneously attract and repulse her (it turns into "Ordinary People" at this point).

She's popular - but complicated, we're led to believe - so it makes perfect sense that she would pursue this pathetic case. Of course, that's "reel" life. In "real" life, George will soon begin a post-high school career of low-paying, dead end jobs on the road to an empty and unrewarding future.

In this film, though, George has a saving grace - he doodles. Yes, and while many of them are run-of-the-mill drawings most of us do while on the telephone, his are major works of art ("George, this is who you are," intones one of his few acquaintances). An art teacher also thinks he's the next Picasso, and urges him to "find something to say."

He doesn't have much to say, however, and when he begins moving in Sally's crowd, he goes from awkward and lonely to just being a jerk (evidently learning his socialization skills from Matt Damon in "Goodwill Hunting"). Complications arise when another artist, Dustin (Michael Angarano), begins to court Sally himself (since George seems to be waiting for the Apocalypse to make his move).

The film then makes a complete turnabout and tries to give George a fresh new motivation, contrary to the personae he had exhibited throughout the entire proceedings.

Directed by Gavin Wiesen, making his feature film debut, the story meanders aimlessly, much like George does. One moment we're supposed to feel deep sorrow and empathy over his situation, but the next were supposed to laugh at his travails.

Which is it? As for this humbler scribbler, I was neither amused or interested in his plight. There was no connection at all with his character, even though - at times - I was like George in some ways in high school, shy, a bit of a loner and artistically inclined, yet despite this, I saw this character more as annoying than anything I ever remembered.

Highmore does the best he can with George, but the actor's frail demeanor is soon overcome by the general lethargy of the character. Roberts is far too attractive and immature at this point in her career to pull off a complicated love interest. Coming from a series of weak and insignificant adolescent movies, she cannot play the lead this film so desperately needs.

"The Art Of Getting By" was praised at the recent Sundance Festival for exactly the same reasons it will most likely falter at the box office. Film festivals, by their very nature, are frequented by a younger demographic that wants their entertainment on the dark, morbid and often introspective side. Older audience members are not much inclined to watch two hours of a hapless loser being chased by a female who probably would not even look at him in the real world.

I don't fault the film for this complete unreality; I fault it for the crime of over-angst, for making ever utterance seem like it has much more import than it actually does, and for not knowing what genre it wants to fit into. Perhaps, that was what Weisen wanted to achieve all along.

Judging from the finished result, however, it's really difficult to know.

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