6.7/10
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This Must Be the Place (2011)

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Cheyenne, a retired rock star living off his royalties in Dublin, returns to New York City to find the man responsible for a humiliation suffered by his recently deceased father during W.W.II.

Director:

Paolo Sorrentino

Writers:

Paolo Sorrentino (screenplay), Umberto Contarello (screenplay)
19 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Cheyenne
Olwen Fouéré ... Mary's Mother
Eve Hewson ... Mary
Johnny Ward ... Steven
Sam Keeley ... Desmond
Danielle O'Brien Danielle O'Brien ... Supermarket Girl #1
Margaret O'Reilly Margaret O'Reilly ... Supermarket Girl #2
Frances McDormand ... Jane
Mairin O'Donovan Mairin O'Donovan ... Old Lady in Bank
Simon Delaney ... Jeffrey
Jer O'Leary ... Old Man in Cemetary
Master Deng Master Deng ... Chinese Tai Chi Teacher
Jane Myers Jane Myers ... Jeffrey's Girlfriend
Heather Fedyk Heather Fedyk ... Elevator Woman #1
Iris Frank Iris Frank ... Elevator Woman #2
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Storyline

Cheyenne, a wealthy former rock star (Penn), now bored and jaded in his retirement embarks on a quest to find his father's persecutor, an ex-Nazi war criminal now hiding out in the U.S. Learning his father is close to death, he travels to New York in the hope of being reconciled with him during his final hours, only to arrive too late. Having been estranged for over 30 years, it is only now in death that he learns the true extent of his father's humiliation in Auschwitz at the hands of former SS Officer Aloise Lange - an event he is determined to avenge. So begins a life-altering journey across the heartland of America to track down and confront his father's nemesis. As his quest unfolds, Cheyenne is reawakened by the people he encounters and his journey is transformed into one of reconciliation and self discovery. As his date with destiny arrives and he tracks down Lange, Cheyenne must finally decide if it is redemption he seeks ....or revenge. Starring two time Academy Award winner ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A former rock star is hunting down a Nazi criminal...This could be his greatest hit. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Italy | France | Ireland

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

24 August 2011 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Un lugar donde quedarse See more »

Filming Locations:

Ireland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€1,449,721 (Italy), 16 October 2011, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,754, 4 November 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$142,242, 16 December 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,790,979, 20 December 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Smith (lead vocalist for the Cure) was an inspiration for the character of Cheyenne. See more »

Quotes

Aloise Lange: Your father tried to kill me for years. In the winter, '43, during the roll-call he did something wrong. I don't remember what, however, but I threatened that the German shepherd would tear him to pieces. The dog growled at him. He was so scared, he peed in his pants and I burst out laughing. That's what happened. That was his humiliation. Compared to the horrors of Auschwitz, it was nothing. But your father never forgot it. He used to write me letters. He would say words, most atrocious words,...
See more »

Connections

References Paris, Texas (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

If It Falls, It Falls
Written by David Byrne (as D. Byrne), Will Oldham (as W. Oldham)
Performed by The Pieces Of Shit
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Alternately quirky and affecting, this heartwarming movie with its laid-back charm and deadpan humour is anchored by a virtuoso performance by Sean Penn
31 March 2012 | by moviexclusiveSee all my reviews

Is there a role which eludes Sean Penn? In Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's English-language debut following his 2008 Cannes hit 'Il Divo', the two-time Academy Award winner takes on an unlikely comedic role as an over-the-hill pop star named Cheyenne and pulls it off with aplomb. Indeed, even though the movie never does quite come together as a cohesive whole, Penn's brilliant performance more than anchors the entire film, and you'll find yourself hard-pressed to take your eyes off him.

To say that Penn owns the entire movie is not an overstatement- right from the start, Penn mesmerises with a bizarre get-up consisting of a jet-black fright wig and all-black lipstick and eyeliner even in the comfort of his own sprawling home. As is typical of such characters, Cheyenne suffers from depression, and besides doing the groceries while his fireman of a wife (Frances McDormand) is off at work, spends most of his time in the day hanging out with a spunky teen Mary (Eve Hewson) at a café in a shopping mall.

Purpose is what is lacking in his life- haunted by the suicide of two brothers who said they were inspired by his lyrics, Cheyenne has not been able to return to his music since. For the first half hour, Sorrentino familiarises his audience with the idiosyncrasies of his lead character as well as his marriage with his wife Jane, and thanks to an empathetic performance by Penn, your heart will go out to this lost soul searching for that elusive thing called meaning. It is testament to Penn's flawless performance that you'll still feel the warmth and heart behind his character's eccentricities.

Cheyenne awakens from his stupor when he gets news that his father is dying and promptly makes the travel by cruise- because of his fear of flying- to New York. Unfortunately, he arrives too late, missing the very last opportunity to connect with the father he has not spoken to in years. So when his cousin Richard (Liron Levo) informs him that his dad was obsessed with tracking down a Nazi war criminal at Auschwitz named Aloise Lange (Heinz Lieven), Cheyenne takes it upon himself to complete his father's mission.

And so begins a road trip across the United States, each pit-stop in Michigan, New Mexico and finally Utah offering memorable encounters with locals that in their own way serve to give him closure and reconciliation. Mirroring Cheyenne's own inner transformation, Sorrentino adopts a measured pace as Cheyenne meets a history teacher (Joyce Van Patten), a war widow (Kerry Condon), his dad's fellow Nazi hunter Mordecai Midler (Judd Hirsch) and finally of course Lange himself. Less patient viewers will probably be frustrated, but those willing to accept the laid-back tone of the film will find Cheyenne's journey a rather therapeutic one- especially in its closing lesson on the importance of learning to let go of the past.

Sorrentino, who co-wrote the script with Umberto Contrarello, also lightens the mood of the film with some well-placed deadpan humour, delivered with panache by Penn. A scene where Cheyenne meets a gaggle of women in the lift discussing which brand of lipstick is best and finally gives them due advice just to shut them up is sharply hilarious, while his well-meaning attempt at match-making Mary with an earnest shopping mall staff proves sweet and amusing. But through the varying types of humour, it is Penn's unpretentious acting that makes them work- with a recurring gesture of Penn casually blowing a wisp of hair falling across his face perhaps the most consistently delightful narrative device. Among his co-stars, McDormand shines in her role as Cheyenne's wife, and a sequence where she is practising tai-chi in her lawn while distracted by her husband in the upper window one of the best moments in the film.

For rock fans, the participation of David Bryne is no doubt a highlight in itself, and Sorrentino pleases his fans with an extended concert scene that has the rock star performing the title song of the film while a woman in a room that reflects a period setting floats above the crowd. Nonetheless, for us cinephiles, the delight is in watching Sean Penn take on an unlikely comedic role in spite of his dramatic credentials. If it isn't yet apparent, we'll say it again- Penn's flawless performance is good enough reason to visit this place, and it's one that is warm, touching and unexpectedly affecting.

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