7.1/10
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The United States of Leland (2003)

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A young man's experience in a juvenile detention center that touches on the tumultuous changes that befall his family and the community in which he lives.

Director:

Matthew Ryan Hoge
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Cheadle ... Pearl Madison
Ryan Gosling ... Leland P. Fitzgerald
Chris Klein ... Allen Harris
Jena Malone ... Becky Pollard
Lena Olin ... Marybeth Fitzgerald
Kevin Spacey ... Albert T. Fitzgerald
Michelle Williams ... Julie Pollard
Martin Donovan ... Harry Pollard
Ann Magnuson ... Karen Pollard
Kerry Washington ... Ayesha
Sherilyn Fenn ... Mrs. Calderon
Matt Malloy ... Charlie
Wesley Jonathan ... Bengel
Michael Peña ... Guillermo
Michael Welch ... Ryan Pollard
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Storyline

As a detached kid spends time in juvenile hall for the unspeakable murder of a special needs kid, a writer and the people around him try to comprehend and cope with his reasoning for commiting this murder from the writings in a classroom book from his juvenile class, where he tries to let people know "the why". Written by gavin Johns

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | book | writer | teacher | author | See All (167) »

Taglines:

Crime. Confusion. Compassion. They're all just states of mind.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 2005 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

20 Messerstiche See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,384, 4 April 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$343,816, 11 July 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although they don't share any scenes together, this is the first time Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams have appeared in the same film. Seven years later, they co-starred in the film Blue Valentine (2010). See more »

Goofs

When Leland is watching the basketball game with the other inmate, the sun is shining through the window, however, the shadows outside are cast in wrong direction. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Leland: When I say I don't remember that day, I'm not lying. Wish I did, but I just don't. Sometimes the most important stuff goes away. Goes away so bad, it's like it was never there to begin with. It's funny the stuff that sticks in your head. I could tell you forward and backward about one day when I was five, and my dad bought me a stupid ice cream cone. I could tell you the flavor of the ice cream. It was pick bubblegum. Even stuff about the girl who scooped it out. Her hair was fire ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The United States of Leland (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Set It On Fire
Written and Performed by Jeremy Enigk
Published by Trigger Street Music
Produced by BC Smith
String Arrangements and orchestrations by Edgardo Simone and BC Smith
Drums: William Goldsmith
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let it draw you in
5 February 2006 | by Twisted_UtopiaSee all my reviews

There are subtleties in this film that I think a lot of people may miss if they're not careful. You really need to follow what Leland says and read his character to figure out the intended "why" the movie presents at the end. Nothing it solid, it's not definite, it's about what the individual viewer takes out of it. I think that was the plan from the get-go, people aren't meant to all understand it in the same way, it's almost about forming your own personal relationship with Leland in order to maybe feel him a little better.

The storyline is interesting but its summary could never explain what the movie really is. It's dramatic and thought provoking, a lot of heavy ideas, but the pace of the movie is almost soothing, even with its more intense scenes with yelling. I think it's probably Leland, he's just calm and almost serene, even for all of his sadness. The movie personifies Leland in a way.

Of course it is captivating and draws you in if you let it, but there are some recycled ideas. I mean, Leland has a lot of impressive dialogue, he is anything but typical, but he's not a prophet. Everything he says is not a revelation, many people I know have mentioned things he mentioned, even I have observed a few things he's observed. Leland is the unique and attractive character he is probably mostly for Ryan Gosling's portrayal.

In the end the acting is all exceptional, there are no real bad guys, there is no way to psychologically evaluate Leland, only to maybe understand him and life a little better.

Comparable to Igby Goes Down I think, not comedic, but similar in its general outlook on life.


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