CineMarter
Ten Thousand Saints - That's Over 9,000!

Matthew Parkinson | 16 Aug 2015 16:00
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Directed and written by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Produced by Anne Carey, Amy Nauiokas, Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, Luca Borghese, and Datari Turner. Release date: August 14, 2015.


Some movies are more difficult to classify than others. Ten Thousand Saints, for example, will be called by many a coming-of-age movie, even though it really isn't. Some might desire to say it's a romance, but its romantic elements are background. What is it, exactly? And do we even need to classify it as anything? Are genres necessary when discussing films? Do they bring unfair expectations to a film? Perhaps most importantly: why am I thinking about these types of questions when I should be focused on Ten Thousand Saints?

The answer, at least to the last question, is that the movie wasn't quite interesting enough to hold my attention, so I started to occupy my brain with other things, like what, exactly, I was going to call it - or if that even mattered. I eventually settled on calling it a family drama for people who have only a vague concept of what family even is, which is either saying a lot or nothing much at all, much like Ten Thousand Saints, so I figured it was appropriate.

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Our story follows Jude (Asa Butterfield), a teenager living in a small town in the late 1980s. On New Year's Eve, his best friend, Teddy (Avan Jogia) dies of a drug overdose. As it turns out, he impregnated Eliza (Hailee Steinfeld, at her best since True Grit), the daughter of his estranged father's girlfriend (Emily Mortimer). Jude winds up moving in with his drug dealer of a father (Ethan Hawke, quite funny), spending lots of time with Eliza and Teddy's straight edge half-brother, Johnny (Emile Hirsch), and then you'd expect some things to happen, but they far more often than not do not.

The idea, I believe, is that these characters are supposed to grow over the course of the film, changing their perspectives and trying to avoid the same mistakes that their parents made at their age. Given the time and place in which most of the film takes place, the Tompkins Square Park riots become background noise, the straight edge movement is starting to take place - and none of these things directly involve our protagonist, Jude.

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