Written September 19, 2014
You will laugh, cry, and won't be bored. This is a fabulous little movie. We took our 17 year old daughter and her friend and they both loved it as well. Great script, great acting, and well-paced. Actually loved everything about this movie. Real-life drama that doesn't seem contrived or overly dramatized......will be ordering the DVD when it comes out and encouraging all I know to go see it. One of the young actors (the runner) and his father were in the theater we were in and stayed to talk about the movie a bit afterwards - and they had to be happy because the audience gave it a huge ovation at the end...... Do not miss this one. Limited release, so you will have to look for it.
Written August 30, 2014
The characters in this movie were fantastic and the directing doesn't have all the sentimentality shoved right in your face. The director places their emotions and anguish in a a very neutral place cinematically. Like the characters themselves, he doesn't beg for pity, but instead tries to meet each one where they are, allowing them to be looked on as normal. Brie Larson was phenomenal. She has one of those difficult shots where an actor/actress has to slowly change emotions dynamically during a close-up and not only does she pull it off, but she leaves you in somewhat disbelief at how well she executes the scene. It's an acting and directing tour de force. If you are looking for cinematic art, look no further.
Written October 23, 2014
Beautiful story that makes you believe that people can still rise above, change, and remain good despite their surroundings telling them they can't. The quick glimpses into the lives of the children keep you moving and caring for others in way that Grace, the main character, has been doing for years to escape confronting her own issues. It makes for a gripping story, difficult given its "smallness". This movie makes you FEEL. I laughed, I cried, and still left the movie incredibly satisfied. Wonderful movie. Highly recommended.
Written August 20, 2014
This movie doesn't have any real flaws that I can point to. It's well acted, well thought out, and constantly engaging in a way that kept me interested and guessing. The setting is a foster care facility with seriously disturbed teens who can't adjust to society. The real parents are no-shows, except when the children recall being abused physically and sexually. The story doesn't give the parents a voice at all. In fact, the one parent that makes a showing is in a deep sleep while the dialogue plays out between his daughter and the care worker. There are many other interesting aspects to this film that are worth mentioning. It actually takes the time to develop several of the characters, including a meticulous portrait of the two main characters, played very well by Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. The only real criticism I'd add is that the movie tries too hard to include a diverse group of kids, so really every ethnic group is represented, which detracts from the story.
Written September 27, 2014
A really well-acted story about teenagers in a foster care facility, with a complicated romance between two of the staff weaving throughout the movie. Not a slow moment in the whole movie, and probably a very realistic portrayal of what it must be like for the residents and the staff of such a facility.