As a detached kid spends time in juvenile hall for the unspeakable murder of a special needs kid, a writer and the people around him try to comprehend and cope with his reasoning for commiting this murder from the writings in a classroom book from his juvenile class, where he tries to let people know "the why". Written by
A recurring element of the film is the fact that Leland doesn't have any contact with his father, absent ever since his childhood. Ryan Gosling never shares any scenes with Kevin Spacey and in the courtroom sequence, even though both characters are present, they're never in the same frame. See more »
In the scene where Becky and Leland are walking at around 2 in the morning, in the background you can see it begin to rain, but both Leland's and Becky's clothes remain perfectly dry. See more »
When I say I don't remember that day, I'm not lying. Wish I did, but I just don't. Sometimes the most important stuff goes away. Goes away so bad, it's like it was never there to begin with. It's funny the stuff that sticks in your head. I could tell you forward and backward about one day when I was five, and my dad bought me a stupid ice cream cone. I could tell you the flavor of the ice cream. It was pick bubblegum. Even stuff about the girl who scooped it out. Her hair was fire ...
See more »
An extremely moving, touching, thought-provoking movie
Leland Fitzgerald (Ryan Gosling) is sent to jail for the murder of an
autistic kid. When pressured with the question 'Why?' he doesn't have
an answer. While in jail he meets Pearl (Don Cheadle), his teacher, who
decides to take matters into his own hands and helps Leland figure out
why he did it. Throughout this film we learn all about Leland's
troubled life, including his ex-girlfriend Becky(Jena Malone), his
famous father Albert(Kevin Spacey)and his whole sad life.
This film is Matthew Ryan Hoge's second movie, and it is spectacular in
nearly everyway. This is one movie which will leave you thinking in the
end, and wondering about how it all works. The movie is quite dark, but
if you can handle that then you will realize just how good a film it
In this movie, there is no bad guy. There is no one you can blame for
anything that happens. There's no stereotyping, and the audience does
not try to prove Leland guilty. Instead, we sit back, relax, and watch
this boy's life unfold throughout the corse of the movie. All the
problems depicted in the story are very real. Drug addiction, parental
expectations, overwhelming sadness; they all exist in our world.
Ryan Gosling gives one of the greatest performances of his career in
this movie, as the depressed teenager Leland. His father lives in
Europe and doesn't really care much about his son. The only person he
loves is Becky, but she has problems of her own. He knows exactly what
he did, but as he says in the film, 'You want a why, but maybe there
isn't one. Maybe this is something that just happened.' There is a why,
but we don't find out about it until the end. As you watch the movie,
the audience finds themselves amazed that such a young person could
know so much about the world. Leland notices things that people tend to
A particular thought-provoking scene which really affected me was
during one of Leland's conversations with Pearl. Pearl just cheated on
his wife and when Leland asks why, Pearl replies that he's only human.
Then Leland says something which never really occurs to anyone: "Why do
people only say that when they've done something wrong?"
Another fantastic acting job was provided by Chris Klein. In the film
he plays Allen Harris, the boyfriend of Becky's sister Julie (Michelle
Williams). Although he is not one of the main characters, I found
myself amazed at how deep his character was. You can relate to Allen a
lot. You know how much he cares for the Pollard family. It's as if they
were his own flesh and blood. By the end of the movie, you realize just
how far he would go to help them.
Overall, this movie is a masterpiece which has been overlooked by quite
a few people. If, however, you take the time to watch it, you will most
likely see that everything I've mentioned above is true. And once
you're finished watching it, you'll never look at the world the same
80 of 92 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?