Ten Thousand Saints

By Gregory Lloyd / Posted on August 23, 2015

Ten Thousand Saints (2015)

Ten Thousand Saints is based on the novel by Eleanor Henderson of the same name. Directed superbly by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini this coming of age film is more than your typical film. The story takes place in the late 1980s in New York City. Sure there are some typical cliches in the film and yet even a few holes in the script, but overall this film is worth your time and worth seeing.

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The film redefines what we think of as family. The story follows Jude (Asa Butterfield). We join him at age 8 or so and follow his adventure. But without Ethan Hawke this film would not stand a chance. Hawke is brilliant in this role.

When tragedy strikes Jude when his best friend Teddy dies (Avan Jogia) the story starts a weird journey and the weirder it gets the better the movie becomes. We meet Eliza (Hailee Steinfeld), the daughter of the woman Les (Hawke) is now dating in Manhattan. Steinfeld does a wonderful acting job here and with Butterfield and Hawke simply make the movie. Other notables are Jude’s glass-blower hippie mother (Julianne Nicholson) and Teddy’s brother Johnny (Emile Hirsch) who currently lives in an abandoned building in the East Village.

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The script sometimes borders on the too-literary and symbolic (Jude’s name, first of all, and the Book of Jude quoted at Teddy’s funeral), and then other times does not go far enough. We know that Jude is adopted but the film seems to let itself off the hook about his birth parents. The acting is solid and very believable. Ethan Hawke’s performance will remind everyone of the one he gave in “Boyhood,” but who cares. He’s great in this.

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Asa Butterfield, Emile Hirsche and Hailee Steinfeld beautifully meld together in their makeshift family. These people are kids, but they’re trying to do right by one another. They have passions and obsessions outside of getting laid or getting high and those passions are laid bare. As young as they all are, you can see why their parents feel willing to let them go which might be what the film is saying.

Go and see this film.

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