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Leaves of Grass

4.1 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tim Blake Nelsonas 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 AwardA nominee Edward Norton). Bill, a classical philosophy professor at Brown University, returns home upon news of his brother Bradyas murder in a drug deal gone awry. Bill quickly learns that Bradyas death has been grossly exaggerated, as heas swept up into one of his brotheras crazy schemes. Alongside his eccentric mother (Susan Sarandon) and a beautiful woman named Janet (Keri Russell), Bill participates in his brotheras wild plan, leading him on a twisted path filled with unique characters and lifeas 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

Special Features

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

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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: First Look Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002WNU0QW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,457 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Leaves of Grass" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: Amazon 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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Format: DVD
"Leaves Of Grass" is kind of a farce, tongue-in-cheek comedy, which is equal parts "My Name Is Earl",
as well as the Mark Twain classic, "The Prince & The Pauper", blended in with some back woods criminal
action, bloody violence, drug humor, and drama. It's very unorthodox and hard to categorize,
but I like that about it! (-:
This is a very good movie, and Ed Norton very convincingly plays dual roles in this.
The supporting cast, which includes the dazzling Susan Sarandon, who plays a somewhat subdued role as
the twins' ex-wild child mother, all give brilliant performances in their individual roles.
I'm not even going to try to describe the plot to you all or anything like that....
I'll just say, rent it first...then, if it appeals to you, add it to your collection.
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