The Art of Getting By (2011)

I’m really starting to like how Bates Motel is panning out and they are green lighting a second season already after 4 episodes.  With that, Freddie Highmore is once again on my radar. There is one movie that I’ve been hesitating to see and has been sitting next to my laptop for months and its this one: The Art of Getting By.  I have no idea why I initially got it.  I knew pretty much nothing about it but I do like Freddie Highmore.  I could be the fact that I’ve enjoyed all the movies that he’s been in (and own most of them) and I’ve seen him through most of his career thus far.

the art of getting by dvd coverDirector: Gavin Wiesen

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Blair Underwood, Rita Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser

I read a quote once when I was a kid “We live alone, We die alone. Everything else is just an illusion.” It used to keep me up at night

Thats pretty much the first lines of the movie said by our main character George (Freddie Highmore).  George is about to graduate high school and he has no motivation for homework.  He doesn’t understand the meaning of life and what life is all about and believes there is so much more and if everything was an illusion, then whats the point of homework.  Because of this, he never completes his assignments and frequents the principal’s office.  However, one day when he stands up for a girl, Sally’s mistake, things start changing.  Sally (Emma Roberts) approaches him to be friends.  Through each other, they learn more about not only each other because they are so different in personality and experiences but also George finds his motivation in her and as he starts falling more and more in love with her, he also finds a more clearly defined meaning to life.  However, both of them are still young and they both don’t really know how to express their love to each other.  With obstacles that come up with family, academic and friends, and graduation approaching and George being endanger of not being able to get his diploma, George and Sally both have to learn to be independent and choose how to find the meaning for their lives.

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This is a story about young love but at the same time, its also a story about the transition from realizing that you have to grow up and to decide on a future.  The main focus was on George and Sally.  Even though there were other characters, such as their parents and friends and teachers that entered the picture.  Some acted as obstacles, and others as muse, and some encouraged and guided them to the right path.  Their roles may not have been abundant but they were there to help the two main characters move forward in their lives.

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Freddie Highmore has grown a lot physically and as an actor.  I never knew he was English because he never seemed to have the whole English accent when he spoke in movies.  I love a lot of movies his done from when he was a kid and did August Rush, Spiderwick Chronicles and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s always done exceptional jobs in whatever he takes on.  This one was no exception. I found that George was a person that I could relate to (and probably many other people), regarding being afraid to express your feelings, not really knowing how to motivate for school and trying to find out what they want for themselves in life for the future or even the present.  He dives into deep thoughts.  Its having the trouble to find the courage to say whats deep down.  I’m going to say that we all go through this phase some point in our life.  Of course, I never was witty like him and had to do all my work no matter how messed up my mind was.  Not exactly sure my parents, my teachers, my principals or the school itself would have been so forgiving.

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Emma Roberts is pretty much a fresh face to me.  I’ve seen her in Valentine’s Day before this and I haven’t seen it in a few years.  She is a very pretty and charming actress.  In the role of Sally, she plays the role of the opposite of George’s introvert, no friends, deep in his own world type of person.  She’s social and its her personality that pulls George out of being the loner he believes he is destined to be.  She has the role of making this movie come alive and George come alive with her energy.  In time, she proves to be a complicated character as well.

This flick is fantastic and its not going to be the most original plot idea ever done but it focuses on the basics.  It gives us characters we can relate to.  We focus on two people who come together.  There is just one story that we need to look at or two if you look at each of their stories. We see that a person is greatly influenced in thoughts by those around them: our friends, the people we associate with, our family, etc. We can bring us to believe that love can motivate and inspire us.  However, we need to be able to have the courage to face it.  It also shows us that sometimes, we just need that one person that can understand us and makes us feel similar but different to at the same time and that one person will inspire us to find meaning in our lives.

The Art of Getting By is pretty cute and inspiring.  The meaning and the way they lay out this simple yet complicated story makes this great.  The characters make the screen come alive and it all dials back to the basic elements. Plus, they use real New York City scenes which look very nice.  There are some fun parts mostly due to the dialogue and the interactions between Sally and George. I think it merits a rewatch and I’m sure that something else will come to me and I’ll see something else.  It definitely gave me something to think about and made me remember past dilemmas that I’ve had when I was younger (and even some that I have today).