Ten Thousand Saints (2015) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Set in the 1980s, a teenager from Vermont moves to New York City to live with his father in East Village.

  • Follows three screwed up young people and their equally screwed up parents in the age of CBGB's, yuppies and the tinderbox of gentrification that exploded into the Tompkins Square Park Riots in New York's East Village in the 1980s.

  • A sweeping multigenerational story set against the backdrop of the raw, roaring New York City of the late 1980s; adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, hardcore punk rock, the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young and old are all major elements in this heart-aching tale of the son of diehard hippies and his strange odyssey through the extremes of late 20th century youth culture.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie's title is mentioned at a funeral where the scripture reading includes "10,000 saints".

    In 1980 Vermont, Jude's father Les is banished to the greenhouse by his mom Harriet, because Les has been cheating. Jude goes out to be with his father and they have a nice conversation. Because the credits list actors in order of appearance, it is clear Jude is much younger in this scene than in other scenes. Les calls himself a botanist, but another term is used for his "profession" by others later, so the viewer has some idea what he is growing.

    Harriet, by the way, appears to be some kind of glass artist. They have a daughter Prudence.

    On New Year's Eve, in a different year that is not specified, Eliza, the teenage daughter of Jude's latest girlfriend Diane, comes for a visit. Eliza's dad died when she was very young but he was a successful lawyer. Diane still lives in a really nice house in New York City, with servants. Eliza is met by Jude and his friend Teddy, and they go to a party. Jude and Teddy both take something, with tragic results. Eliza's behavior also gets her in serious trouble; she may be pregnant.

    Les wants his son to live with him in New York City. He has a small rent controlled apartment that belonged to a woman who does not need it any more. It happens to be near Teddy's brother Johnny, who is a tattoo artist plays in the hardcore rock band Army of One. Their music sounds like 90s grunge with all the noise but without whatever appealed to fans of Seattle alternative music. However, they are also "straightedge" (Les says his generation said "square"), meaning no drinking or drugs.

    The rest of the movie concerns the ups and downs of relationships between Eliza and Johnny, between Eliza and Diane, and between Les and Jude. At one point, Eliza moves in with Harriet, and Harriet also has a better than expected relationship with Diane.

    And one problem with Johnny is the fact that his band tours many cities.

    There are many questions of morality, and disputes with yuppies who want to move into the rundown neighborhood where most of the characters live.

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