We all die alone, no matter if we have loved ones or no matter where we are we all die alone. What’s the point of doing anything if in the end everything we do doesn’t matter? Yeah I know sounds like a fun opening to a movie doesn’t it? The opening monologue for the Art of Getting By is the perfect summary of the main character George Zinavoy (Freddie Highmore) a pessimistic high school student who is incredibly lazy and smug about his life. Highmore, who you may remember as Charlie from Tim Burton’s Chocolate factory tale, has taken on a more mature role in this movie as he explores what is the meaning of doing anything in life if we all die in the end. Despite the threats and encouragements teachers and parents throw at the talented high school student, George decides to mainly cut class and ignore his responsibilities as a student. In a style similar to other artistic movies, the large number of scenes revolving around George alone are shot in an artistic approach, often targeted towards various symbols that are supposed to inspire and challenge the audience to think about what they are seeing.
Amidst George’s fatalist lifestyle, a light of hope in the form of Sally Howe (Emma Roberts) arises and becomes the object of his attention for the rest of the movie. Roberts, who you have seen in Scream 4 and Aquamarine, has certainly grown up over the past few years ditching the Nickelodeon child she once was for the role of a popular student with a sad childhood. As soon as these two meet, the rest of the movie is laid out for the audience. The movie turns from George’s slacking nature into a series of scenes and sequences centering on George’s experiments with new things. Parties, art, friendship, and even romance are thrown into George’s life. Perhaps what is brilliant about this movie is that instead of it being a magical success or an instant pleasurable experience, the audience sees George’s indecisiveness and analytical mind work out the events that are happening to him. This symbolic portrayal helped me realize that I too sometimes hesitate on new experiences because of my over analyzing nature and how sometimes thinking too long can result in a loss of a fun experience. The emotions captured by the cameras in this movie of disappointment, shock, hurt, and awkward happiness makes the movie seem more realistic and not some overacted, blown out of proportion soap opera that I’ve seen in the past. It was very rewarding to finally see a movie about teenage problems that felt real and not some rendition of Twilight, Glee, or Prom like.
However, despite the realistic dialogues and well developed characters, the movie itself is a little too depressing for my tastes. It’s not easy to be entertained for an hour and half watching a depressed and lazy teenager drifting through a city. When a story like this is filmed using that grey, grainy, cloudy filter and dragged out at a slow pace, I couldn’t help but get a little bored and tired of the movie. There were times where I began to nod off because the pace was too slow. I would have like to have seen George or Sally actually show genuine happiness occasionally in the movie to help brighten up the sad and grey setting. Although I saw it coming before half the movie was over, the last ten minutes of the movie or so actually speeds up and fulfills these wishes, though the ending of the movie kind of leaves me feeling no emotion at all, which I typically don’t like to share as an experience.
Overall The Art of Getting By is a movie that truly shows off how artistic the movies can be. Some may be inspired by the morals in this story, while others may be bored to death at some of the pointless or irresponsible traits the movie endorses. At least two couples left the movie before a third of the movie was over and the rest of the audience mainly gawked at Highmore. However, those looking for a metaphoric, accurate, and realistic outlook on the experiences of teenage life should check this movie out, while those looking for more of the blockbuster movies should either wait for this movie to come out on Netflix or avoid the movie all together.
Overall I give this movie a 6.5 for great camera work, very good acting, and realism.
So until next time my friend enjoy the movies and keep on watching. Don’t forget to write me back at email@example.com for any constructive criticism you might have.