The Art of Getting By follows a lonely, slightly depressed teenage boy in his senior year of high school when he meets a more normal teenage girl and they become friends.
The soundtrack was pretty good. But it seemed like it was just using lot's of indie songs without really caring about them. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it, but with a lot of soundtracks like this the music generally tends to have some significance to the movie, whether that be the tone of the movie or something else. The soundtrack didn't suit the tone of this movie at all. All the songs were there because the director (or whoever was in charge) knew that teenagers and all the pretentious hipsters who watch this movie would like it. And yes, I'm one of those pretentious hipsters, which is why I liked it. But regardless, there's a difference between having a good soundtrack and a good soundtrack that suits the movie.
I like the title quite a bit. It's catchy, and it has relevance to the movie, specifically the characters. A lot of romantic dramas like this have titles about the events of the movie and not so much about the characters themselves, but the ones about the characters tend to be much better and more meaningful. It's clear that somebody cared about this movie enough to put a level of thought into it.
Also, Emma Roberts. I haven't really seen any movies with her in them, but she's a beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her face throughout this movie, as weird as that may sound. As for her acting talent, well, that could use some serious work.
It was hard for me to discern whether the acting was bad or the writing. I figure it's a combination of both. Freddie Highmore is one of the better performances, but again, I can't tell if the writing is bad or if he is. Either way I was disappointed, I like Highmore a lot, specifically in Bates Motel where he plays a character somewhat similar to the one in this movie. Everyone else is just kind of okay, but mostly mediocre.
Holy moly, the biggest problem with this movie is the pacing. It's pretty boring, or at least incredibly uninteresting. Not only that, it's extremely rushed. I really liked the first ten minutes, it introduced Emma Roberts' character in a subtle way that I haven't seen before, and I really liked that. But the second she and Highmore officially meet it goes straight down the toilet bowl. Their relationship is incredibly rushed, with them suddenly being best friends within a couple days. I understand that sometimes people just click with each other right off the bat, but even then it takes time to develop a real relationship. This movie doesn't have that. It just jumps right in to it. Maybe if they had better chemistry I'd be more forgiving, but they really don't have much. I think they could work well together in a better movie, but not in this one. There was one part when they first start hanging out when Highmore's characters asks Roberts something right out of the blue. No context, no previous information given to us as the audience to even know that the context of this question was a thing. It made sense when I thought a bit more about it, but still. It was really out of the blue and random.
There were a couple side characters that were treated with some level of importance from time to time, like we as an audience were supposed to care. But these characters only showed up when it was convenient for the story, so they were never really developed. And yet here they are, crying away and expecting us to care. It's actually the same case with the main characters. I didn't care about any of them because they were so rushed. Then this conflict pops up at one point towards the end and every character makes this massive assumption about the situation that I never would have, nor do I think anyone else would. And yet that assumption turned out to be correct. Funny thing is, that scene was also super underdeveloped and rushed. What a surprise.
Throughout the story Highmore's character acts in ways that I am certain are hinting at his slight depression. I don't really have any knowledge on mental health, but even I could figure this out. Yet the characters in the movie are so incredibly heartless and stupid about it. Highmore has a legitimate reason for something involving his depression and his superiors make fun of him for it (yes, there is a scene where he is referred to as 'pathetic' for being depressed). Seriously? I excused it the first time because I know some people are too stupid even to see something like that, but then it happens again. Normally it doesn't get on my nerves when I dislike a character, but in this case it was just sheer stupidity and lack of understanding of people on the part of the writers.
Overall The Art of Getting By is absolute trash. Thankfully it's only about 80 minutes long, but it's a drag to sit through. Every minute painstakingly slides along a lengthy stretch of 30 grit sandpaper with nails and poisonous thorns sprinkled across, whilst indie music plays in the background. In the end I wouldn't recommend this movie.
So I happened to notice quite a great deal of people hold negative opinions on this movie. That's why I wanted to share my 2 cents.
Basically, the movie was what I expected it to be. Meaning: no blockbuster, no real Hollywood production, no mind-blowing action. A movie with a slice of life, just like 500 Days of Summer (come to think of it, it gets close to it in some ways, even if perhaps a little less mature). If you're looking for these exact characteristics, you may be better of looking for a different movie.
So what to expect from it? First of all: it does not aim towards shocking you. It delivers a message, apparent from the introduction we get at the start of the movie. Starting a movie with a quote is bold, yet it's also original and different. It sets the tone perfectly. So George is this high-school guy who has a different hobby, drawing. He gets so worked up in it that when he does, he loses sight of all his surroundings (anyone who's creative will relate, as do I). On top of this he holds a pessimistic view on life, basically saying 'we're all going to die anyway so what's the point'? Now I know a lot of people will consider this to be 'emo' or whatever, but it's not. Honestly. I plead guilty: I myself often think in this manner. In fact, I can relate so much to George that by the end of the movie, I sat with my mouth open, totally freaked out and overwhelmed, still am. He's the different one, the outcast, the guy nobody knows and everyone ignores. Yet people tend to forget that being quiet doesn't equal being an uninteresting person. On the contrary: this movie likes to show us the other side of the coin. So my conclusion would be that if you often feel misunderstood, or have lost motivation for life in general, this movie would definitely be the way to go, as it requires a certain mindset I believe...
What is so interesting about the movie, is that we see a great deal of changes in George's life from the moment he meets Sally. It triggers different actions and revelations in his life that are irreversible, as is often the case with love in real life too. It basically shows us that loved ones can change one's life for the better, even in a not always positive way. Love surpasses most joys of life, as it surpasses most of its burdens.
There were times when I was slightly annoyed. I was aware there were times where I would tell myself 'just do it/just say it!'. There are many awkward silences in the movie, which are automatically transferred to the watcher's feelings. I wanted to jump into the movie, help G. out, because life can be difficult, more so when you're an introvert. And even more so when love's involved. (personal rant ahead) The world of today is all about extroverts, people who are eloquent and sociable, certainly not something George can boast about.
The amount of growth George shows while struggling with his problems really makes the movie. You see him get out of his shell, while not losing his edge. It's not your typical American movie with happy ending, all's well that ends well. Again, just like life is a lot of the time.
I'd advise anyone to have a look. This movie has been a hidden gem for me and it perfectly fits my taste for movies. Be prepared for some thinking and awkwardness from time to time and when that's OK with you, you'll love it. If this is not what appeals to you, then it will probably not be your cup of tea. If you are an artist and have lost motivation and/or inspiration, you should feel compelled to absorb what this movie has to offer.
If you do enjoy this movie, don't forget to take a look at: '500 days of Summer' and 'It's kind of a funny story', which both are pretty close in terms of atmosphere to this one.