All The Real Girls

In the span of two movies, writer/director David Gordon Green has shown the world that he is a master at capturing the quiet moments that real people live through. The unbearable element of many movies is the dialogue. People in them sound like actors reading lines rather than people speaking. George Washington and All The Real Girls feels extremely real. It is as if Green has a camera and is spying on these characters in his film. They speak from their hearts, and say whatever is on their mind. They vent their frustrations and sometimes don't say anything. The entire thing can be very hypnotic, which also means that some people will find it very boring. Although there is a plot, it moves slowly, at the pace of life. Sometimes it feels like not much is going on at all.

All The Real Girls centers on the budding relationship between Noel (Zooey Deschanel, Abandon, The New Guy) and Paul (Paul Schneider, George Washington). Noel has been away at boarding school for years, and is back in her small hometown for the first time. She falls for Paul (Schneider is also the co-writer), who is also the best friend of her brother Tip (Shea Whigham, Tigerland). Paul has a reputation for being a ladies man, and slept his way through most of the women in the city. Tip is similar, but has serious issues with the fact that Paul is now dating his sister. For her part, Noel doesn't care about Paul's past. She only cares about who he is now.

Green is able to focus his attention on the relationship and how it affects the people around Noel and Paul. Both have to deal with Tip, who is not handling things well. As for Paul, he is at that age where he is finally starting to grow up. Noel is different from the other girls in town, and this is what attracts him to her. She is different enough that he may be willing to change his ways. There is a small sub-plot involving Paul's mother Elvira (Patricia Clarkson, Far From Heaven, Welcome to Collinwood), but it feels strangely out of place. A character named Bust-Ass (Danny McBride) also provides some amusing comic relief.

Deschanel is an interesting actress who usually plays the wry sidekick. This is her first starring role, and it allows her to flex her acting chops. Although she falters a little near the end when the script calls on her character to become pretty emotional, she still is able to convey the more subtle emotions that All The Real Girls requires of its actors. Everybody acts very natural, almost lackadaisical, and Green films in conjunction with them. He uses little ambient music, has long static shots, and frequently fades to black. He constantly has his actors deep in though, and also likes shooting scenes of flowing water. Life is moving slower here, but that doesn't mean it's any less important.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Good.
1 hour, 48 minutes, Rated R for language and some sexuality.

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