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Overall Rating
4.61

Awesome83.67%
Worth A Look: 8.16%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 2.04%
Total Crap: 6.12%

5 reviews, 19 user ratings


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All the Real Girls
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by nurd_on_film

"All The Real Girls is really, really good."
5 stars

I've never seen David Gordon Green's debut film, George Washington but I like this movie and I like the way the man says what he has to say. I also like Paul Schneider, this film's lead who also worked with Green on his debut film. Schneider is funny and captivating, a dynamite screen presence who is full of charm and a massive wit. The last scene of the film in which Schneider attempts to give his dog a swimming lesson is hilarious, he says "when a water dog comes and he sees you what's he going to say to you land dog." This moment is also one of the film's many self contained treasures. If there is any justice in the world Paul Schneider will get lots of work.

Schneider plays Paul, a womanizer who has gone through just over 26 women since the age of thirteen. None of them meant anything to him or to his best friend, Tip (Shea Wigham) who spent the better part of their lives using women and throwing them away. This all changes when Paul meets Noel, Tip's younger sister, whom he finds that he can talk to very easily and also for the first time in his life he feels vulnerable around her.

Tip is resistant at first and angry at Paul, because he knows Paul's reputation and is guilty of the same things as Paul. Eventually he comes around and realizes that maybe Paul won't be so bad for his sister after all. It is in this moment that Tip tells Paul that he is about to become a father and he's pretty excited about it. The thing is, you don't just fall in love with real girls they make you grow up.

All The Real Girls doesn't end happily but the journey in and of itself is just fine. We watch the birth and death of a relationship and how wounded and wounding lovers try to repair a breach. Paul, finally caring for someone, retreats into himself while Noel tries her best to move on and be able to look her ex-lover in the eye. In a scene late in the film wherein Paul makes one last effort to try and make things right between himself and Noel Paul comes to realize that their relationship really is over and he accepts that inevitable fact with grace and dignity. There are no false grand pronouncements of love and why Paul should be chosen over the man Noel settled for, he simply walks away and punches out a car window (when no one is looking) then realizes it hurt a lot and was a mistake.

Unlike most romances All The Real Girls leads aren't overshadowed by the supporting players. There are lots of smart, thoughtful people in the movie and there are a few jerks as well but each character has a discernible personality. Living in this small town and having been in love or lust at one point allows each one of these characters to have indispensable advice for our love struck protagonist. When he remarks that, he wants it to be like Noel never existed his uncle tells him that he doesn't want that and he's right because the real girls are the ones you'll always remember.

Paul Schneider has proven himself a performer of undeniable charisma and Shea Wigham as his best friend Tip is an interestingly volatile screen presence who looks like James Dean and Seth Green were thrown into a blender. Benjamin Mouton and Patricia Clarkson are both wise and smart as Paul's uncle Leland and mother Elvira, respectively. Clarkson, further proving her talents as one of cinema's most invaluable resources gives her son a dressing down while dressed as a clown and doesn't lose an ounce of credibility.

The real stars as they have always been are Schneider and Deschanel who have a completely natural and unforced chemistry. Schneider has a brooding handsomeness to him and Deschanel possesses a droll, dead sexy monotone and a virginal innocence that has a way of breaking down our defenses as much as she does Paul's. The two of them make one of the most likable screen couplings since John Cusack and Ione Skye made us fall in unforgettable cinematic love back in 1989's Say Anything.

There are few films that give such an intimate insight into the process of falling in and out of love and fewer films that make you feel the experience. All The Real Girls is one of the elite.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6906&reviewer=337
originally posted: 05/02/03 16:04:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/25/18 David Sincerely I think it's the greatest film ever made 5 stars
7/20/09 Kazelxmf Hi webmaster! cnf 4 stars
2/13/06 tompkin great soundtrack album! 4 stars
1/22/06 aimless contrieved self-congratulatory, "Tully" is way better 2 stars
12/06/04 Natasha Theobald it had me for a while but lost me at some mid-point a bit 4 stars
10/05/04 idiotsdelight Incredibly banal characters and coversation - total waste of time 1 stars
5/05/04 A F Wow. One laughing my ass off, next holding back sadness. Emotionaly Exhausting 5 stars
9/26/03 Kimberly Very subtle and poignant film, while still making you laugh. Excellent and highly recommend 5 stars
9/17/03 matt simple, elegant and beautiful to both look at and think about. fantastic 5 stars
9/13/03 Sheri incredible 5 stars
8/02/03 stavroula painfully bad; trite dialogue, bad direction 1 stars
7/01/03 Derek Vincent nothing better than a sweet virgin ass, properly basted with BBQ sauce and ether 5 stars
4/09/03 David Serxner Super movie!! Lyrical 5 stars
3/28/03 Mike Seely The love child of Harmony Korine and Paul Thomas Anderson. Masterpiece. 5 stars
3/01/03 Pete best film of 2003 so far without question. haunting funny and perfect acting 5 stars
2/12/03 SG Loved it! 5 stars
2/12/03 aks treacly and disingenuous 1 stars
2/03/03 Kris Morrison Enjoyable yet realistic story of young love 4 stars
1/28/03 tony gregg I SO enjoyed this film.......the acting was right on and it left me wanting more. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Feb-2003 (R)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2003

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