In the early 1940s, Allen Ginsberg is an English major at Columbia University, only to learn more than he bargained for. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Allen finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Jack Kerouac, upon his arrest, contacts his father and we hear an American accent on the line. Kerouac's parents were French-speaking Quebecois and it took Jack until his late teens to fully master English, which he spoke with a slight Québec lilt; it is thus unlikely his father and he would have spoken in English, much less in a General American accent. See more »
[upon William Burroughs offering him a joint]
Uhm, no thanks, I don't do the cannabis.
Show me the man who is both sober and happy, and I will show you the crinkled anus of a lying asshole.
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The first part of the end credits run over the top of photographs of the real Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and William S. Burroughs. See more »
William Burroughs is the most boring person who ever lived. Lucien Carr and Jack Kerouac are close behind. Allen Ginsberg is interesting for two reasons.
First, he was a surprisingly ordinary, unremarkable, and unpretentious person, as open and honest and honorable as he knew how to be; not a great poet or a great anything else, but great at being himself. Second, Daniel Radcliffe plays him in this movie. Radcliffe is amazing.
I was never a Potter fan, but I saw some of the movies. Radcliffe made no impression on me at all. But he's made some interesting choices since that ended, and I wanted to see what he's like outside of that tedious Potter world. So Radcliffe is the reason I watched this, but I immediately forgot who he was. He thoroughly and convincingly becomes the Ginsberg character in this movie, and he makes that character far more interesting and complex than the real Ginsberg was.
Every second he's on screen is marvelous because of him and only because of him. Nothing else about this movie is worth watching. Performers I've liked previously (Foster, Hall, DeHaan) are flat and dumb here. Only Jennifer Jason Leigh and David Cross, as Ginsberg's parents, are halfway believable and seem almost like real people. All the rest are just annoying posers.
For this story to work (I could care less that it's true) Carr MUST be a charismatic character, and he's not charismatic at all in this movie. He's just a jerk. And he's ugly. That anybody would have looked at him twice or paid attention to a word he said is completely unbelievable - except Burroughs, who was a spoiled, self-obsessed moron and even more obnoxious than Carr himself.
So I love Allen Ginsberg because he was so extraordinarily ordinary; and I love Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg in this movie, but that's all I love about it.
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