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Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009)

Not Rated | | Drama , Musical | July 2010 (USA)
1:16 | Trailer
After connecting with the shy Madeline, a jazz trumpeter embarks on a quest for a more gregarious paramour, but through a series of twists and turns punctuated by an original score, the two lovers seem destined to be together.


Damien Chazelle


Damien Chazelle

Director's Trademarks: The Films of Damien Chazelle

First Man director Damien Chazelle's cinematic world is populated by characters driven by singular ambition and framed with technical and stylistic flourishes.

Watch our guide to Damien's films

2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Jason Palmer Jason Palmer ... Guy
Desiree Garcia ... Madeline
Sandha Khin Sandha Khin ... Elena
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Karen Adelman Karen Adelman ... Karen
Suzanne Bouffard Suzanne Bouffard ... Dancer at Summer Shack
Kelly Burk Kelly Burk ... Dancer at Summer Shack
Anna Chazelle ... Laura
Bernard Chazelle Bernard Chazelle ... Paul
Gonzalo Digenio Gonzalo Digenio ... John
Frank Garvin Frank Garvin ... Frank
Eli Gerstenlauer Eli Gerstenlauer ... Eli
Carolyn Glicklich Carolyn Glicklich ... Dancer at Summer Shack
Greg Greg ... Greg Duncan
Keith Gross-Hill Keith Gross-Hill ... Keith
Kevin Harris Kevin Harris ... Kevin


After connecting with the shy Madeline, a jazz trumpeter embarks on a quest for a more gregarious paramour, but through a series of twists and turns punctuated by an original score, the two lovers seem destined to be together.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site




English | French

Release Date:

July 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Guy y Madeline en un banco del parque See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,233, 7 November 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$35,556, 10 February 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shortly after completing the film, a friend suggested to writer/director Damien Chazelle to watch Barry Jenkins's film Medicine for Melancholy (2008) given it was another black and white contemporary film gaining momentum among the indie circuit. Ironically, a friend of Barry Jenkins' told him to watch Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009) shortly after completing his film. Both directors were up for several Academy Awards in 2017 for their films La La Land (2016) and Moonlight (2016) respectively and only discovered this after speaking to one another during The Hollywood Report's Oscar's Roundtable. See more »


When Guy and Elena meet on the train, a recorded announcement says "Entering Charles/MGH, Mass. General Hospital," but they are on a Green Line train, which doesn't go to Charles station. See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.16 (2011) See more »


Je Savais Pas
Music by Justin Hurwitz
Lyrics by Damien Chazelle
See more »

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User Reviews

Here's To The Ones Who Dream
3 November 2018 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Damien Chazelle's feature film debut doesn't hold a candle to his subsequent films but it does showcase many of the themes & trademarks that he'd go on to refine & perfect in his later works, especially the role of music in driving his narratives and a penchant for talented & ambitious protagonists.

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench tells the story of an up-n-coming jazz trumpeter and his introverted girlfriend whom he leaves for someone who's more outgoing but shows no interest in his music, thus making him wonder if breaking up with her was a mistake. Meanwhile, Madeline decides to move on and start afresh.

Written, produced, directed, shot & co-edited by Damien Chazelle, his debut feature serves as a prelude to La La Land but there are also few elements that were utilised in Whiplash. It's not a full fledged musical but incorporates many of its attributes like live sessions, choreographed dancing & musical numbers in small doses.

The greyscale cinematography has more to do with budget constraints than creative decisions but the swish pans, long takes & close-ups that are now considered parts of his arsenal are experimented with here. Performances are serviceable, standout moments being Jason Palmer with his trumpet & Desiree Garcia with her tap dance.

The film also marks Chazelle's first collaboration with Justin Hurwitz who would go on to compose all his films and the jazz-heavy score shares similarity to pieces of his music for La La Land. Chazelle's storytelling is unfiltered but his ability to stage & execute moments that are simultaneously blissful, complex & brilliant only points to his prodigious abilities.

On an overall scale, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench is a small beginning to one of the most promising new talents to step into the film industry in a long time and the creative leaps he has made as a filmmaker since his debut is as astonishing as it is inspiring. Impressing only in bits n pieces, Damien Chazelle's first film may not be a memorable start to his filmmaking journey but it's a start nonetheless. And look how far he's come over the years. Here's to the ones who dream.

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