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Art of Getting By (2011)

Freddie Highmore , Emma Roberts  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,392 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

New York Slice of Life
On Young Love
Fox Movie Channel Presents – In Character with Freddie Highmore
Fox Movie Channel Presents – Direct Effect: Gavin Wiesen
Audio Commentary with Director Gavin Wiesen

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fatalistic teenager George Zingavoy (Freddie Highmore) is a master at just barely getting by. In fact, he’s practically turned it into an art form—making it through the entire school year without doing a shred of work. But when George meets a beautiful and complicated girl named Sally (Emma Roberts), he discovers a kindred spirit who turns his slacker world upside down. Their quirky and unexpected romance may just inspire George to do the unthinkable—get off his butt and chase after his dreams.

The Art of Getting By is a coming-of-age film that explores first love and the mystery of personal motivation. Freddie Highmore is completely believable as George Zinavoy, a high school senior with a talent for drawing who lacks direction and motivation. George is super-sensitive to the differences between himself and others, considers his unavoidable mortality a reason to reject schoolwork and societal pressures to achieve, and has long been content with doing the absolute minimum in spite of his inherent capableness. While his mother and stepfather, teachers, and even a mentoring artist have all failed to find a way to motivate George, meeting fellow student Sally (Emma Roberts) stirs something in him that he can't quite describe or acknowledge. Their relationship is certainly complicated, but ultimately it leads George to look deep within to discover what's truly important, to set personal goals, and to embark on a course of action that will make those goals a reality. Writer Gavin Wiesen directs what he describes as a semiautobiographical, yet universal film about coming of age, filming in his hometown of New York City and featuring two talented performers in Highmore and Roberts. The pacing of the film deliberately mirrors George's inner turmoil: it creeps along with periods of relative inaction emphasizing George's internal conflict and reflection, but is peppered with brief hormonal bursts of action--and somehow the unusual pacing ends up being quite effective. Bonus features include commentary by Wiesen; brief 2- to 4-minute featurettes on filming in New York, young love, and Highmore; and a longer 12-minute making-of segment. --Tami Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
"We all die alone, so why am I supposed to spend my life working, sweating, struggling...I have better things to do with my time." George (Highmore) is a high schooler who has pretty much given up. Bitter with the world and his mother he refuses to do anything and hasn't done a real day's work in his entire senior year. He meets Sally (Roberts) who sees the same thing in herself. This is a very good movie made better by the acting. Highmore, in a departure from his usual disgustingly good boy roles is excellent in this. Roberts, who is fast becoming a better actress then her aunt is, is also fantastic in this movie. The role of George is written to be a total jerk to most people he meets, but Highmore has enough "baggage" with him that even though he is not nice to almost everyone in the movie you still wind up rooting for him and wanting him to succeed by the end. That is a rare thing for an actor that young. While this is a very good movie that forces you to keep watching it does tend to drag in a few places, but not enough to be boring. If that makes sense. Overall, a very good movie with great acting that is a definite watch. The type of movie that all high schoolers should watch. I give it a B+.

*Also try - Happythankyoumoreplease & It's Kind Of A Funny Story
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Step Forward for Freddie Highmore and Cast December 31, 2011
THE ART OF GETTING BY didn't get much attention in the theaters, but once the word is out by those who have elected to use View On Demand on television it just make a resurgence. Gavin Wiesen both wrote and directed this updated existentialist story and cast it with a very solid crew of actors. The result is a movie that is both nostalgic and heartwarming.

George Zinavoy (Freddie Highmore as a very fine developing adult actor) is a lonely and fatalistic high school senior who believes `you are born alone, die alone and everything else is an illusion'. Despite the fact that he is very intelligent and artistic he fails to complete any class work assignments, failing to see the point of doing such mundane tasks if we are all going to simply die anyway. His mother (Rita Wilson) and father (Sam Robards) are at odds: his father's business went bankrupt and he spends his time in the park and in coffee shops to hide the fact that he is unemployed (George sees this unbeknownst to the parents). George finally makes a friend in Sally (Emma Roberts), and develops and attraction for clueless George. The school's principal (Blair Underwood) and art teacher (Jarlath Conroy) introduce him to an alumni, and successful artist, Dustin (Michael Angarano - continuing to be one of the most interesting young actors on the screen today), who can help guide George along life's path, but other distractions start surfacing, and George might not even be able to graduate from high school. How George discovers his feelings and his options is a well played out ending.

There are some fine cameos by Alicia Silverstone, Ann Harada, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ann Dowd, Elizabeth Reaser among others. But the significant satisfaction is the privilege of watching Freddie Highmore graduate into more adult roles: he is becoming a very fine actor. Grady Harp, December 11
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent January 24, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
The Art of Getting By is a wonderful coming of age film. Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts turn in wonderful performances and carry this film.

George is bored at his expensive New York City prep school. He sees Sally across the rooftop of the school smoking. When a teacher steps out onto the roof, he takes the blame for smoking. He's so used to be being in trouble, what's one more problem? At a very simple level, the film is about Sally and George being friends, and maybe being more than friends - which will it be?

This is a wonderful small independent film that focuses on emotions and the two lead characters. The writer and director, Gavin Wiesen, develops the romantic tension between Sally and George without being heavy handed. This is Wiesen's first feature length film. Freddie Highmore (August Rush, The Golden Compass, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) turns in another great performance. I believed that he was that artistic, smart, and that bored. But yet he always seemed to do the right thing, even though he could have done the wrong thing. Emma Roberts (Lymelife, Nancy Drew, Hotel for Dogs, and Scream 4) was radiant as the quirky, bohemian girl that confuses and attracts George. The rest of the cast was quite good; they truly supported these two main characters.

The film is not perfect. Somehow these two seventeen or eighteen year old kids end up with beers in front of them and in bars in New York City a little more often than they should be. Maybe this is classic well to do children in prep school in New York City - it certainly wouldn't play that way elsewhere. The teachers weren't necessarily represented in a positive light. George was a little bit too friendly with the principal. The three week ultimatum was a bit odd.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Story Line...bad acting January 1, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I liked the theme of the story, a senior in high school who can't figure out the importance of his education, or his life. He meets
a girl who shows him that with a little love, and some friendship, everything works itself out. But the acting is baaaaddddd, which is weird because the cast lineup is amazing.
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