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The lead, Arielle Holmes lived on the streets of NYC prior to this film and after being discovered by the filmmakers Ben & Josh Safdie, she wrote and texted them almost every situation and story she experienced via her heroin addiction, her tragic relationship with Ilya and life on the streets of NYC. When the film began shooting, Arielle Holmes got clean and remained clean throughout the shoot. See more »
In the scene after Ilya hitchhikes, he is seen dropping the paper surrounding his DayQuil bottle on the floor. In the next scene when he drinks from it again, the paper is still surrounding the bottle. See more »
You ain't gettin' rid of me, I ain't going nowhere.
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"Heaven Knows What" (2014 release; 94 min.) brings the story of Harley and her friends. As the movie opens, we see Harley making out with her boyfriend Ilyou, only later to see her beg of him in the library "what can I do for you to forgive me?". Ilyou isn't moved and in fact eggs Harley on to kill herself if she wants to prove to him how much she loves him. Much to Ilyou's shock and horror, she slits her wrist right in front of him. An ambulance is called and Harley survives. At this point we're not even 15 min. into the movie. To tell you more might spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is directed by bothers Ben and Joshua Safdie, who have made plenty of previous films (usual shorties), and is based on Arielle Holmes' book "Mad Love in New York City". Mad indeed! I had a hard time relating to the characters, and simply couldn't understand what this movie was about, other than Harley and her friends talking, arguing, shooting up, and repeat. After an hour or so, I simply gave up trying to care of understand what this incomprehensible mess was trying to get at. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's been a long time that I have felt so utterly disconnected from a movie (and I see LOTS of movies). I got the sense that the Safdie brothers were going for that same vibe usually associated with Harmony Korine ("Kids", "Spring Breakers"), except that they lack the vision which Korine lays out in his movies (and you may or may not agree with his vision, but he has one).
"Heaven Knows What" opened without any pre-release fanfare or advertising at my local art-house theater in Cincinnati last week. As a fan of indie movies, I took a flyer on this and, despite not knowing much of the movie, I went to see this a few days ago. The early evening screening where I saw this at turned out to be a private screening, as in: I was literally the only person in the theater. Had I known more about the movie beforehand, it surely would've been a completely empty screening. As it turns out, I made a mistake going to see this movie as it's not worth seeing. That doesn't mean you have to make that same mistake. There are so many deserving indie movies out there for our viewing pleasure. "Heaven Knows What" is not one of them.
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