I’ve started my day with The Art of Getting By , a movie written and directed by a guy named Gavin Wiesen. I wanted to watch this movie because of its main actor, Freddie Highmore. The day before I have watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, Tim Burton) for the 100th time and I decided I needed more Freddie in my life.
The moment the film started I knew I would love it. The main character is George Zinavoy, a high school senior who refuses to do his schoolwork, fact that brings him on the edge of not graduating. The thing is, George is actually a quite bright kid, he has a beautiful way of putting his thoughts into words and explaining his lack of motivation.
Freddie is perfect for this role. I don’t know how he does it, but he brings out something that nobody else could. It’s not the innocence that I like in him, it’s the serenity, the authenticity, the pureness of his acting.
The movie had a very Submarine (2011, Richard Ayoade) vibe to it. Starting from George’s coat, to the main theme of adolescents struggling with concepts of life and…well, of course, love. Actually, the more I think, the more similarities I find between these two movies. Maybe I’ll write something more elaborate about this one day.
Coming back to George. Well, he is a very creative person, all he does during classes is doodling on his course books. The thing is that the doodles only remain doodles and he can’t actually exteriorize his full potential on a canvas painting. Like most of us he believes he has nothing to say.
Even though he has a depressive vibe coming out of him, I think what he feels is normal. He just doens’t understand why life is the way it is and his priorities are others from those that his teachers and his mother want him to have.
His relationship with Emma’s character, Sally, begins only because she starts talking to him. She introduces him to her friends, introduces him to her mother, invites him to parties and so on. Regarding the intellectual and academic area, she didn’t have any influence on George, positive or negative, which I found quite realistic tbh. He didn’t suddently and magically started making his homework or being attentive in class. He just continued being himself. But regarding the emotional evolution, she gets most credit.
What I really didn’t like about the movie, was the painting he presented in art class for graduating. His teacher told him to be fearless, to say something he never said before. I should’ve expected it would be a portait of Sally, but I just wanted him to let go of her. To understand that people can be just temporary in our lives and that’s completly okay. I do understand the influence she had on him, but I myself am not a fan of this type of sweet declarations of love. (And yeah, I also get that by doing this he finally ‘shouted out loud’ his feelings, which is part of his emotional evolution, but then again, I’m not into this kind of display of affection).
Also, for real now, Sally was a strange person. She hurt him because she didn’t know what she wanted herself, and yes, I’m aware that we all have the right to our mistakes, but he was definetly a frail person and she knew. Aparently, she just wanted to have some fun, explore life at any costs. But George didn’t deserve that.
(This is one of my favourite visual parts of the movie btw)
The way he pulled himself together at the end, after all that happened with his family, was quite remarkable. His relationship with his teachers was also a beutiful thing to watch. It was obvious that they liked him, he was a sweet boy, he was always respectful, his only flaw being that he was a bit disoriented about his choices and motivation. They saw potential in him, especially the English teacher and at the end they offered him a solution for graduating.
So, The Art of Getting By is a movie about a boy that’s trying to find himself, trying to find meaning to this world and trying to get by in his own way. I really appreciated the fact that the director had also written the movie. I think he made an amazing job. Great work, Gavin! We’re waiting for some more movies!
Oh, and I noticed that for some reason, Freddie seems to make people say things like: