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Leaves of Grass (2009)

Edward Norton , Susan Sarandon , Tim Blake Nelson  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Tim Blake Nelson
  • Directors: Tim Blake Nelson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: First Look Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002WNU0QW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,809 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Leaves of Grass" on IMDb

Special Features

An 11 minute making of featurette, official trailer, and commentary from Tim Blake Nelson and Edward Norton.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tim Blake Nelson's Leaves of Grass is a comic thriller seen through the dual perspectives of identical twins Bill and Brady Kincaid (both played by two-time Academy Awardr nominee Edward Norton). Bill, a classical philosophy professor at Brown University, returns home upon news of his brother Brady's murder in a drug deal gone awry. Bill quickly learns that Brady's death has been grossly exaggerated, as he's swept up into one of his brother's crazy schemes. Alongside his eccentric mother (Susan Sarandon) and a beautiful woman named Janet (Keri Russell), Bill participates in his brother's wild plan, leading him on a twisted path filled with unique characters and life's most challenging questions. Also starring Richard Dreyfuss and writer-director Nelson, Leaves of Grass merges crime drama, drug comedy and classical philosophy, as it attempts to answer one of the oldest questions in the world: What does it truly mean to be happy?

Leaves of Grass as a title, referring here to both Walt Whitman and marijuana, is indicative of this film's hybridity in regards to genre--half comedy and half brutal crime drama--and tone, which is at once irreverent and highly philosophical. Directed by Tim Blake Nelson, who also costars as the redneck pothead Bolger, Leaves of Grass is about the troubles that follow two identical twins, philosophy professor Bill Kincaid and his marijuana-growing brother Brady, both skillfully played by Edward Norton. When Brady, the man with a criminal mind but an open heart, convinces Bill to return home to their small Oklahoma town, Bill becomes inadvertently embroiled in more than either sibling can handle. While their schemes get complicated, one meets the zany women in their lives, including Daisy (Susan Sarandon), their ex-hippie mom who at a very young age has relinquished herself to a retirement home; Brady's teen sweetheart, Colleen (Melanie Lynskey); and Bill's fling, high school teacher and poet Janet (Keri Russell), who has turned her back on the rigors of New England academic life for one of catfish noodling and Whitman's poetry. Absurd plot lines make up the comedic bulk of this film, ushered along by druggie investor Pug Rothbaum (Richard Dreyfuss), who seems to exist so that clever jokes about Jews populating Tulsa, Oklahoma, can pepper this witty satire. While many shots recall Coen brothers classics like Raising Arizona, Leaves of Grass still manages to distinguish itself from its obvious influences. Hilarious sets and situations, as when Bill stumbles into Brady's black-light-poster-decorated waterbed room, give this film unique style. The strangest aspects of this movie, including its waffling between comedy and drama so that one knows not, at times, when to laugh and when to squirm, become a source of its ambition. Leaves of Grass is also well written and juggles a highly complex, almost slapstick essence with ingenuity. --Trinie Dalton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical Comedy that Gets You Thinking March 4, 2010
By Compay
Leaves of Grass isn't a movie that you can easily categorize. While it doesn't offer up laughs every few minutes, it's still a clever comedy in the vein of a Coen Brothers film. But you also can't quite call it a black comedy completely in the spirit of Burn After Reading or Fargo. It's equal parts crime drama, humor, romance and philosophy.

The film revolves around the intertwining lives of two identical twins, played by the incredibly talented Edward Norton. Ivy League philosophy professor Bill Kincaid is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown as part of a scheme cooked up by Mary Jane growing brother Brady. The first half hour of the film moves slowly but quickly gains momentum when the two siblings eventually cross paths.

The best part of this movie is easily watching Norton put on brilliant performances as both brothers. The supporting cast is top-notch as well, especially director Tim Blake Nelson in the role of Bolger, Brady's partner in crime. Nelson slips into the role effortlessly, which is no surprise considering he himself is a real-life Okie (a Jewish one at that, which influences a subplot of the movie). My only gripe with casting was Richard Dreyfuss as Jewish gangster Pug Rothbaum, with Dreyfuss giving one of the most bizarre attempts at a Southern accent in film.

I enjoyed the cinematography, Jeff Danna's work on the score, and the infusion of philosophy into the film. As a Southerner, I appreciated the fact that Brady's accent was no reflection on his intelligence. While not as well-read as his sibling, he still gets the occasional profound message across. The only real complaint I have about the film are the jarring scenes of violence.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like the Coen bros, you will love it April 30, 2010
A double performance by Edward Norton as two entirely opposite brothers is, surprisingly enough, not the only reason to see this film. Yes, Norton's a master of his craft and his stoner hick brother and oxford-cloth uptight prof brother are both equally masterful creations. He dominates every scene, on par with Nicholas Cage's similar turn in Adaptation or more recently Sam Rockwell's in the slow-burn space opera Moon. But even without a competent lead like Norton at the helm, the film succeeds, chiefly do the the adept writing/direction of Tim Black Nelson, who incidentally has a side-kick part as a dim-witted trailer trash fella with a heart of pure gold.
The script is great. Beginning with a philosophy lecture that doesn't feel at all forced and eventually delving into some pretty shocking violence (and lots of pot smoking...with pot that LOOKS LIKE REAL POT! Seriously, pretty convincing for once) the film is a down-home roller coaster ride that even manages to work in Whitman's titular namesake to pretty good effect. Don't except straight up comedy, as the film is pretty gory at times. The tone, in fact, takes a sort of 180 degree shift about 2/3 of the way in, becoming more dramatic ala a warmer, brighter Fargo or a more subdued, less western-oriented Red Rock West. The effect of this shift is a little disorienting, but ultimately it works, seeming to freshen the proceedings. There is palpable suspense. We feel for Norton's characters, both of them. His accent is pretty good and his eyes (especially as the rural brother) are strange and intoxicating. I can't stress enough how unique and interesting this film is. It works as a crime drama, stoner comedy, philosophical treatise on life/the choices we make that make us.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but grim December 23, 2010
I enjoyed this move. I thought it had character and realism. That said, I think it is wrong to call it a comedy. It is a fairly hard hitting movie that has very graphic violence and a gritty taste. The comedy is almost all based on tragedy.

I don't recommend it for folks that aren't ready for movie that is rated R based on violence and needs to be.

Good movie, but don't be fooled by characterizations you may read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the same predictable boring story over and over... December 5, 2011
By Eric
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
There isn't much to say that hasn't been said by others.

My favorite thing about this film is that it was a new story, not the same boring, meaningless drivel that usually ends up making the most money. The actors & producers weren't trying to make everyone happy, they were trying to make a good film & knew it wouldn't appeal to everyone.

The thing which strikes me most about the story, and yet doesn't get mentioned - is that all of the violence and death in this film comes from the fact that the grass is under prohibition - just like all the violence which resulted from alcohol prohibition and just as regrettable. If Brady could have worked on his agriculture without the threat of prison, he wouldn't have had to deal with a shady dealer of dangerous narcotics for financing. If his plants were legal, he could have resolved his business dispute in court instead of with violence and nobody would have been killed.

Anyway... good movie, I'm glad the film industry still takes risks by shooting quirky, not-for-everyone stories that they know won't make as much money as vapid action thrillers. Every actor in this film earned their keep by presenting believable representations, and of course Ed Norton rocked the hell out of both roles. Not bad camera work either... I read a couple reviews that the "twins" don't exactly look each other in the eye when they're talking to each other... wha? I was too busy enjoying the story to notice nitpicks like that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Lonely Are The Free" has become one of my favorite songs of all time
So, Tim Blake Nelson can write, as well as being a masterful character actor. His story of two disparate identical twins is entertaining and the soundtrack alone is worth the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ernest Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome Movie !
Published 3 months ago by Karl Kirk
4.0 out of 5 stars Uniquely funny
Ed Norton is amazing in this film. The story's unusual. Some parts go too far for my taste... but otherwise good.
Published 3 months ago by Suereview
3.0 out of 5 stars I found this movie was just okay.
I will not go into the details about this movie as other reviewers have done except to
say I found this movie to be one that people have trouble understanding just what... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Devils.Advocate666
5.0 out of 5 stars great!!!
A great way to look at life, from different angles!! Edward Norton, is a great actor. I'm a fan of his work.
Published 4 months ago by steve abbgy
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves of grass
Enjoyed this movies many times since the purchase. Easy to watch and we find something funny every time we watch it
Published 6 months ago by debbie
4.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 comedy film
Great comedy! Tim Blake Nelson wrote a great screenplay! Ed Norton is superb in both roles. A must see film
Published 9 months ago by Joseph A Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Pleased And Satisfied
Leaves Of Grass , in my opinion , was an excellent movie that for one , presented a culture clash between East Coast , Academia and the Mid West , red neck , drug culture ! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joseph Davisson
4.0 out of 5 stars LEAVES OF GRASS
Published 9 months ago by elisa l. hundt
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously entertaining!!
This is so funny, I laughed until I cried. It shows a side of Edward Norton I never knew existed. I have seen the serious side of him in so many of his movies, but never realized... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Morgan Byers
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