The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, New York during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs, or in prison. He comes to believe he has been saved from their fates by various so-called saints.
Dito, a writer in L.A., goes home to Astoria, Queens, after a 15-year absence when his mother calls to say his father's ill. In a series of flashbacks we see the young Dito, his parents, his four closest friends, and his girl Laurie, as each tries to navigate family, race, loyalty, sex, coming of age, violence, and wanting out. A ball falls onto the subway tracks at a station, small things get out of hand. Can Dito go home again?Written by
Eleonore Hendricks was originally cast as the young Laurie, who was a white girl in real-life. But Rosario Dawson expressed interest in playing the older Laurie. As Dawson is mixed race, and Hendricks is white, Melonie Diaz was chosen to play the teen-aged Laurie. Hendricks was then given a smaller role as Laurie's friend Jenny to make up for it. See more »
When Antonio attacks Reaper in the convenience store, it is night time. Immediately after this happens, Dito and Mike go to Frank's apartment. The lighting and view outside the windows make it obvious that it is daytime when they are at Frank's, but as soon as they leave, it is nighttime again. See more »
[after walking in on Antonio and Jenny having sex]
Hell yea - when can I get in on that shit?
Fuck off, Guiseppe.
All I'm sayin' is that if I was an ugly bitch and two hot dudes like us wanted to fuck me, I'd be into it.
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At the very end of the credits, after the logo graveyard, there is a short bit with the real Monty. See more »
First time director Dito Montiel's "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" is a harsh autobiographical look back at his youth on the mean streets of Astoria, Queens in the mid 1980's. From the film's opening moments, Montiel introduces us to an intimate world of family and friendship that totally blindsided me by its greatness. There are moments in "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" that roll along with such force and emotion, that Montiel feels like a natural born filmmaker, infusing his personal heartache into strong characters breathing within a vivid time and place. Montiel's handling of edits, sound, and music are also powerful, such as a scene in Dito's kitchen between his father and group of friends that explodes into stark images and quick cuts to black. Montiel also handles the return home of Downey Jr. with care and vulnerability, searching for small answers that come in revelatory conversations with his mother (Dianne Weist) and grown up girlfriend Dianne (played by Rosario Dawson). And while such personal material can be hard to translate without lapsing into melancholy, Montiel finds a way to craft a clear eyed version of his life, allowing strong acting and electric film-making to take over the balance of the experience. I love finding unheralded gems such as this. The name of Robert Downey Jr. brought me to the theater and I discovered a true talent in Dito Montiel who has crafted one of the finest directing debuts in several years
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