7.0/10
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96 user 111 critic

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

Trailer
2:28 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Dito Montiel

Writers:

Dito Montiel (book), Dito Montiel
7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dianne Wiest ... Flori
Robert Downey Jr. ... Dito
Shia LaBeouf ... Young Dito
Melonie Diaz ... Young Laurie
Laila Liliana Garro ... Diane (as Julia Garro)
Eleonore Hendricks ... Jenny
Adam Scarimbolo ... Guiseppe
Peter Anthony Tambakis ... Young Nerf (as Peter Tambakis)
Channing Tatum ... Young Antonio
Anthony Tirado Anthony Tirado ... Street Corner Puerto Rican (credit only)
Erick Rosado Erick Rosado ... Puerto Rican Van Driver
Steve Payne Steve Payne ... Beach Chair Guy (as Steven Payne)
Chazz Palminteri ... Monty
Tibor Feldman ... Teacher
Martin Compston ... Mike O'Shea
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, sexuality, and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Laurie died of A.I.D.S. before Dito Montiel returned to New York City. He decided to write her as being alive and well in the film, partially as a way of being able to see her again, saying, "I wanted to walk down those streets again and fall in love with Laurie again, it would have been nice to have had that moment at the end of the film where Dito met Laurie, reconnecting as adults." See more »

Goofs

After Mike introduces Frank and Dito, the trio leaves Franks apartment. The cross the street and start to discuss wages, Job - from the bible, and Frank tells Mike he gets a raise. "well you just got a raise then, for the band". As soon as he finishes "for the band" there is a pay phone emerging from the left side of the screen. Verizon. The year is 1986 in the movie, however Verizon Wireless began operations on April 4, 2000. WSII. See more »

Quotes

Young Dito: My friend just got fucking shot. You don't know what's happening.
Monty: It's okay. It's okay. I'm your father. I love you. I'm your father.
Young Dito: [crying] When were you ever my father?
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Crazy Credits

A small scene is shown in the end credits while "New York Groove" is playing. See more »


Soundtracks

Brother Louie
Written by Errol Brown and Anthony Wilson
Performed by Stories
Courtesy of Buddah Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
Emotionally honest
20 November 2006 | by paulmartin-2See all my reviews

What kind of writer reveals his troubled childhood, then directs a semi-autobiographical film about it, using a character with his own name? Bold, foolish or maybe both, that's exactly what Dito Montiel did.

Reminiscent of Larry Clark's Kids in Manhattan, it depicts adolescents growing up in a tough neighbourhood, in the borough of Queens. For some of these youth, the dangers lay not just on the streets, but also in their own homes. Dito only knew he had to get away.

At first the film is a little difficult to watch visually – the editing and hand-held camera are abrupt. As the film develops, and the story shifts into the present, it becomes evident that this was a deliberate device to depict the nature of recollection. As Dito makes the journey across the continent to visit the ill father he hasn't seen in 15 years, a montage of childhood memories flood his mind.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints at times is not an easy film to watch but is more accessible than Kids. Both films depict the dangers faced by adolescents. While Kids depicted the consequences of those dangers, this film portrays how one boy escapes from them, but ultimately needs to confront and reconcile his past.

The performances in the film are strong. The actors are all very credible. The dialogue is saturated with authenticity. Melonie Diaz, who previously appeared in Raising Victor Vargas, beautifully portrayed Dito's childhood girlfriend Laurie. Rosario Dawson plays the grown up Laurie, and incidentally made her film debut in Kids.

Producer Robert Downey Jr. who encouraged Montiel to make the film, was excellent in an understated role as the adult Dito. The transition of actors between 1986 and the present was depicted effectively. Special mention to Chazz Palminteri, who always has a strong but unforced screen presence.

A film made with a small budget, it pays off with a strong, emotionally powerful and worthwhile story. I was surprised how the emotional impact crept up towards the end, as Dito dealt with his past as best he could.

This film is highly recommended for those who enjoy human drama in shades of grey. There's no good guy/bad guy thing happening here. It's people dealing with the hand that destiny has given them, and trying to find their way. It is full of emotional honesty and plausibility that you can buy into. And don't leave until after the final credits.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 October 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$94,784, 1 October 2006

Gross USA:

$517,809

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,035,468
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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