The United States of Leland
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Top Customer Reviews
The emotionally detached Leland retraces his steps thanks to the invasive insistance of his juvenile hall educator Pearl Madison, admirably played by Don Cheadle, who is undergoing moral dilemmas of his own. Pearl's feigned confidence is contrasted with confounding and disarming depth to Leland's innocent aloofness. The emotional texture of the movie is further enriched by strands of a narrative that follows Bryan's other sister who is unsettled and dejected, an 18 year old who is not allowed to search and delve within her own turbulance. She breaks up with her boyfriend, he too a timid soul reaching for a stability that teeters on the brink of injected scrupolousness.Read more ›
My friend introduced me to this movie, and once i saw that Jena Malone and also the very talented Ryan Gosling were in it, i immediately agreed to watch it. i was blown away the whole movie. the script, though at times overdramatic, revealed things and feelings that i have experienced, which is something a good movie should be able to do. Maybe it was the caliber of the acting all around. Maybe it was the dialogue. Or maybe it was the introspective and truthful quality of the narration by Gosling's misguided yet wise character.
Any of those reasons could be the reason i loved it so much, but either way it is a movie very much close to my heart. Some on here like to say that it is boring and drawn out or that they dont understand what you are supposed to get out of it. All i can say to these people is that they obviously have never felt that sadness from other people and suffered from it as Gosling does. All i can say is that they obviously do not know true cinema when they see it.
The setting is the Juvenile Hall but that is downplayed in the film. There's only a small amount of focus on any other person other than Gosling. In flashbacks we learn about his attraction to the sister of the retarded youth he murdered, played by Jena Malone. And there's a whole story within a story about her drug addiction and other sister and a young man without parents who lives with the family and is romancing the sister. Kevin Spacey is cast as Ryan Gosling's divorced father, a successful writer who hasn't seen his son since the boy was six years old. And there's one particular confrontation between the teacher and the father which is a high point of the film.
Mostly, this is an intentionally ambiguous story as each of the characters struggle with issues of morality. However, even though the acting was excellent, the characters never seemed real to me. There's lots of dialog and little action and nothing is ever really resolved. The conclusion is rather contrived by yet appropriate and, at the end, I was left with some open questions to think about.
Some people can see American Beauty as a masterpiece of a film with subtle beauty while others can see it as garbage and totally unbrilliant. To each his/her own. Art is art, the experience is differnt for everyone.
With that said, my personal encounter with this film was totally amazing.
The main character Leland played by Ryan Gosling was brilliantly cast. His emotionless expressions and his total diconnection with the world and the reality around him is amazingly executed.
This movie works on many levels and mixes so many emotions. Amazon's review that the director offers "No easy answers" is totally accurate. There is no easy end to this film, it will leave you thinking and asking questions about the film and the people that surround you.
The reason I love these films so much is because I simple can't help but admire the thought and insight it takes to make them. To see past the barriers people put up, the fronts used to protect us from the truth of things, it makes you really wonder about the same ethics and mannerisms we use everyday.
It's a self-discovery type of thing too, where hopefully it can open your mind up to different aspects of things going on.
This story can't be really summed up here, it's an experience. The basics is he commits a murder, and the movie tries to explain why he did. But again, offers no answer to this question. It's something you come to on your own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit twisted, and I like it that way... also a bit dark.. so leave viewing this for days you might want to ponder things in life.Published 1 month ago by V. J. Luna
I bought it because I love Ryan Gosling. Not one of his best movies..Published 10 months ago by Allie
This was a fairly good film. Ryan Gosling is a good actor and plays an interesting role. Definitely more enjoyable if you can relate to any personality disorders or issues. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jordan Miller
I Watched A Little Bit Of A Preview But Not Just The Whole ThingPublished 15 months ago by Kevin Robert Munn lll
When I bought this movie it was August 2006. I was 16, struggling with identity issues, feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Laura R.