Synopsis: THE ART OF GETTING BY stars Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, who is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts â Scream 4), a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.
Release Date: June 17, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
There have been countless movies made about high school, the teenage angst that abounds, and the delinquent teenager who just does not fit in. Then on occasion a film of such content comes along that is different, that does not prescribe to the rudimentary storytelling that so many of these films succomb to over and over again. The Art of Getting By is refreshingly one of the rare films that looks at being a teenager with maturity and depth. One of the first lines from the film as stated by the main character George (Freddie Highmore) remarks how he is not afraid of dying, but of living. The idea of making his way in the world, and buying into the illusion that begets a happy reality, frightens him more than anything. George is different, but he is not to be seen as a delinquent, a trouble maker, or in any part a “bad” kid. You could not even say he is misunderstood, as that would be too easy. George can be classified as being lost, a perfectly acceptable state for someone who is about to graduate high school and has absolutely no idea what that means. Even the word lost does not answer for his state of existence. George has spent the past year ignoring his studies, alienating his family, and as he has never really had a friend he does not have anyone to talk to things about, or to distract him from them. His chance meeting with Sally (Emma Roberts) changes George’s entire world because in her he not only finds a friend but also someone he can see himself reflected upon. They are two very different people who have lived incredibly different lives but their differences help them to forge a greater bond and the similarities they share to help one another find a greater level of comfort in their friendship than either have ever known before.
The Art Of Getting By is a movie about a teenager who finds love, heartbreak, and himself in the course of just over 80 minutes. But it is not your typical high school teenager flick that you will forget as soon as the credits roll. The Art Of Getting By affects the viewer with the depth it displays in the character George; and also with the reactionary traits Sally has as she too battles her own demons, and disappointments. Dismissing the film as just another teenage angst film would be a drastic error as it has the potential to be so much more depending on a person’s own personal past, and the reflections upon that past it awakens.
The Art Of Getting By is writer/director Gavin Wiesen’s first feature film and it shows great promise for the work that is sure to follow. The film may be centered around a high school student trying to find his place in the present, as well as where his future will lead him, but the script reads not like a teenage angst filled tale. It resembles more closely a memory of youth from the eyes of an adult. An adult will more easily relate to the character George (Freddie Highmore) than a teenager in the midst of the same life crisis as it is a very mature rendering of the emotional toll of the expectations put upon a teenager who is about to embark out into the “real” world. Someone who has not yet experienced what George is going through, and worked through it, will find relating to his character more difficult, making the script play like a memory of time past than a present showcase of teenage plight.
This is what makes The Art Of Getting By a strikingly different teen film. It does include the standard coming-of-age moments–getting drunk for the first time, falling in love before you fully understand how to love, discovering what it is to like yourself for who you are, as well as finding your worth in someone else’s eyes, and of course social acceptance–but these cliches of teenagedom are not manufactured in The Art Of Getting By; they are genuine representations of this period of life that everyone finds themselves. The characters do not fit prettily into stereotyped little boxes, nor does the dialogue scream naivete or drip with slang. This is a script written with the tone, the deeper meanings, of a novelist or poet. While it may not be perfect because of neglect given to a few supporting characters it remains a piece of writing which is transcendent of its sub-genre, and advances the condition of teenagers on film.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Gavin WiesenDarren GoldbergGia Walsh
- Producer(s): Gavin Wiesen
- Screenwriter(s): Freddie Highmore (George)Emma Roberts (Sally)Sasha Spielberg (Zoe)
- Story: Marcus Carl Franklin (Will)
- Cast: Ann Dowd (Mrs. Grimes)Blair Underwood (Principal Martinson)Ann Harada (Mrs. Dougherty) Alicia Silverstone (Ms. Herman)Rita Wilson (Vivian)Sam Robards (Jack)Michael Angarano (Dustin)Mollie GoldsteinBen KutchinsKelly McGehee
- Cinematographer: Alec Puro
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: