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All the Real Girls (Rental)
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 103 mins . M15+ . PAL

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This is a slow-moving film. Thatís not such a bad thing here, in fact, the film depends upon its molasses nature. It details the story of a bunch of people living in a small unnamed town in Northern Carolina. Itís a dead end town with little by way of opportunity and the inhabitants spend a lot of their time drinking or just hanging out.

Paul is a serial dumper who has slept with most of the girls in town and is now an ugly memory for most of them. When his best friend Tipís sister Noel comes home from boarding school, they find themselves attracted to one another. Paul feels something for someone else for the first time and is reluctant to pursue anything further than a fairly clean relationship, as he doesnít want this relationship to end the way the others all have. However, Noel wishes to be more than friends, yet hasnít actually gone all the way with a guy before. What arises from this simply complicated situation is the major focus of the film, but there are other stories in here; stories of loneliness and loss and single parenthood and happiness.

Itís a fairly sweet film for anyone requiring something a little less action packed, perhaps on a Friday evening. However, this might send those weary from the week straight to sleep if unprepared. Performances are adequate from the relatively unknown cast, but there are long moments of thinking time for both the characters and the audience in which we get to see some beautifully framed shots of the Northern Carolina landscape. Itís restful and a slice of general life, uninhabited by musclebound heroes and gorgeous women, rather being filled with average looking and general minimal ambitioned small town folk.

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Visually the picture is pretty fine, although only delivered here in the aspect ratio of 4:3. This is fine though and all the camerawork has incorporated the ratio to perfectly frame the action. There are some frequent moments of film wobbling, particularly near the end and the beginning of the film, but it isnít too disruptive. Colours are slightly faded, lending the film the small-town look it needs so much. These are for the most part the earthy palette of browns and reds and greens. Flesh tones are fine and shadows are rarely evident, but when they appear theyíre fairly clearly detailed. Blacks are true to life as well. Overall the film has been very well shot and directed by the writer David Gordon Green (while starring the co-writer Paul Schneider).

Dialogue isnít crap, on that note. The cast deliver well here and the dialogue is realistic and never contrived (well, okay, perhaps once when Paul is so happy he wishes to dance... and he performs the ĎRunning Maní which went out with Vanilla Ice). Sound effects are effectively inaudible, blending perfectly into the background. Our real highlight here though is the soundtrack and score. This is as warm and dreamy as a summer afternoon and suits the atmosphere of a sleepy town nestled comfortably into the countryside just perfectly. Scored by David Wingo and Michael Linnen, it runs a whole range of emotions while remaining ethereally linked to itself throughout. A fantastic score.

As far as extras go we get two trailers, for the dreadful Gigli and the much better than Gigli; I Capture the Castle.

It took a while to warm up to and immerse myself in, but this story is an interesting exploration of small town life and people just living their lives in anonymity. For a fella growing up in the country, there is plenty of familiarity here, regardless of it being set in America. I eventually found I was keen to see how it all ended, though I couldnít quite understand how they managed to get a 103 minute film out of such a seemingly small story.

Still, as a rental, itís well worth checking out if youíre looking for something a little more relaxed - just be careful you donít let it get you too relaxed. It definitely has the potential to send the unwary to sleep, regardless of the fine performances and great character development.


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  •   And I quote...
    "A sleepy, dreamy excursion into middle America to explore the lives of average people living average lives in an average town. A better than average film though."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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