Arcadia (2012) Poster


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A quiet and moving coming of age film - excellent.
Catherine Downes3 July 2013
As always, John Hawkes is impressive as the tense, complex patriarch in this story of a broken family's road trip from New England to their new life in California. However it's Ryan Simpkin's film, and we see the film through her character Greta's watchful and sensitive eyes. Ty Simpkins, Ryan's real life brother also gives a sweet, funny and touching performance as her brother in the film. The two actors have a great dynamic and I hope we get to see more of these two together in future films. I found this film to be quietly moving and subtly powerful. The director, Olivia Silver, has a light and sensitive touch, and she makes the viewer feel as though she's simply let the actors naturally play their stories out. I'll be keeping a watch out for more of her films to come.
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One of the reasons we still subscribe to Netflix
The_late_Buddy_Ryan25 December 2013
A harried dad in New England stuffs his three kids into the station wagon and sets off for Arcadia (not the mythical land of peace and plenty; it's a suburb of LA), leaving behind a far from empty house, a frantic golden retriever and, presumably, Mom. Dad's story keeps changing—Mom will be waiting for them when they get there; she'll join them a few weeks later—and his mood oscillates wildly from long-car-trip goofiness (group singalongs of the "Rawhide" theme) to road-rage hostility. John Hawkes has been specializing for a couple of years in playing the shaky dad or the suspect authority figure, and he doesn't let us down this time; the storyline focuses on younger daughter Greta, a dreamy, disaffected girl on the cusp of adolescence who misses her dog and still carries around a ratty old stuffed rabbit. Surefooted w/d Olivia Silver shows us this shabby, chaotic new adult world through Greta's eyes. I wasn't sure she could sustain the fragile tone all the way through, but the ending, though it leaves unanswered questions, is perfectly satisfying. Veteran child actor Ryan Simpkins gives a fine, subtle performance as Greta. Making Dad a cranky libertarian may seem like pandering at first, but it pays off in a crucial scene later on. Long story short—this is one of those unheralded indie films like "C.O.G.," "Prince Avalanche" and "The New Year" (all available on streaming Netflix) that's really worth watching.
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"Quiet, involving and commendable..."
Sindre Kaspersen15 February 2013
American screenwriter and director Olivia Silver's feature film debut which she wrote, is based on her short film called "Little Canyon" (2008). It premiered in the Generations section at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on locations in USA and is an American production which was produced by producers Jai Stefan, Julien Favre and Silenn Thomas. It tells the story about a twelve-year-old girl named Greta, her older sister Caroline and her younger brother Nat who leaves their old home with their father Tom who promises them that they will get a better life in California and that their mother Jane will join them in ten days. While on the road, Caroline is thinking about her boyfriend Noah, Nat is looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon and Greta worries about their mother.

Finely and subtly directed by American filmmaker Olivia Silver, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character's point of view, draws a gripping portrayal of a mindful adolescent girl who begins questioning her father's compelling promises. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions and fine cinematography by cinematographer Eric Lin, this narrative-driven and tangible coming-of-age road-movie depicts a perceptive study of character and contains a great score by the American band The Low Anthem.

This humane and intelligible indie drama about a father and his three children who are on the move, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, natural characters and dialog and the empathic acting performances by American actor John Hawkes, American actress Ryan Simpkins, American actress Kendall Toole in her debut feature film role and American child actor Ty Simpkins. A quiet, involving and commendable directorial debut which gained the Crystal Bear Generation Kplus at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012.
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Film Noir meets Road Trip........
rbrb27 July 2013
A father is taking his 3 kids across America to start a new job and in their new home.

But is the family in crisis and where is Mum?

This is a splendid "growing up" movie.

High class script, super realistic acting and some real emotional drama played out in a subtle but powerful way.

Had me engrossed throughout.

Thank you Sundance for this picture.

Excellent movie, deserving top marks!

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American cinema at its finest
SnrVerde8 July 2013
A superbly acted and involving film that shows what great cinema can achieve when the writer-director at the helm has true vision. The story of 'Arcadia' is centred on a classic American family road trip, and anyone who's travelled with their siblings and parents on a long journey will recognise the authentic detail that forms the fabric of this film. But the director creates and builds a sense of tension from the opening scenes up to the finale, such that one feels completely involved with the characters - as we see ourselves and family shine through them. John Hawkes is engrossing as ever, and the actors that play his kids more than hold their own - this is their movie. Every moment reads truthful, every scene takes you deeper into the story. One can only wish for more feature films of this calibre.
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Great indie road movie
Raymond4 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Watched this on mubi, they keep providing good under the radar movies like this.

Father and his three kids start a journey down south for dads new work. The setup is quite quick and we are lead to believe that their mother would later follow, but it's clear that there is something more to it. Youngest kid is just thrilled to see the Grand Canyon, oldest one is probably already aware of whats going on and the middle one in her early teens is stuck between being a kid and a teen and thus confused of what's going on with the journey, family and growing up in general.

The movie is mostly about the middle kid, Greta. The young actress does pretty well and carries the movie with great John Hawkes portraying their dad (Hawkes was Oscar nominated for Winter's Bone).

There are no good guys or bad guys in this movie, which is either a benefit or a hazard, depending on the viewer. Quite realistic, even to the point that it may feel boring. It's a slow paced, low key drama all the way, but with good acting, nice soundtrack, good cinematography, great down to earth story about growing up and and dealing with changes.

The movie maybe lacks the final punch that would raise it from good to excellent. Nothing really wrong about it, but in the end it maybe should've been either a bit edgier or even more low key and understated. Still definitely recommended for fans of indie dramas, coming of age stories, road movies with americana touch, road side motels and diners.
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