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Plot: After serving time for murder, Josh Hutton returns to his home town where me meets Audry Hugo. No one can remember exactly what Josh did, but they are all wary of him, especially Audry's father. Written by Tom Unger Runtime: 90 min Release Date: 20 Jul 1989
Unbelievable dialogue makes for refreshing fun (by Arcana13)
Not Hartley's best, though I still rate it a ten. Hartley began his odd spin on movie dialogue with this not quite debut film. Adrienne Shelley is beautiful and perfectly cast--it's very difficult to tell if she is a brilliant actress or merely brilliantly directed. Martin Donovan for him it's not difficult to tell--he's brilliant is understated, yes, everyone says that, and mysterious. The B Movie backup cast leaves something to be desired, but somehow that helps propel this odd little gem. Only David Mamet has the same level of idiosyncratic brilliance in scripting <more>
dialogue which, while not particularly true to life, is refreshingly new and always entertaining. Hartley revels in repetition and the use of the pause. People don't talk like this, but then again, they do, just not in films. 'Henry Fool' and 'Book of Life' are his best, but this early work is indispensable.
One of my maybe even "the" all time favorite movies.A film about some average people, basically. Maybe a bit weird, some of those people, but that's how people are, if you look closely. What makes it so rewatchable for me are the wonderful dialogues and the wonderful characters. They feel so true.IMHO, the very tight budget and schedule helped this movie become so good. It is so... concise. Hardly a word or scene wasted.If you like movies by Jim Jarmusch or Richard Linklater, you might like this one, too.
Original movie that started a whole genre of Indy films (by Joel_Goodsen)
Clever Indy film-making at it's best!!! This film jump started a genre. Hal Hartley's masterpiece brims with clever dialogue and funny performances. Adrianne Shelley is a standout as Audrey who is convinced that the world is soon to blow up. Chris Cooke should be getting a lot more work after his winning performance as Vic Hugo. He's a delight to watch as his daughter Audrey bargains with him on about going to college. And Robert Burke is great as the quiet Josh, the returning man with a past. You catch something new every time with this film ... like the funny way everyone fights <more>
in the movie elaborate pushing matches . An original film and thoroughly enjoyable. Great soundtrack too ... under Hal Hartley's alias of Ned Rifle. Highly recommended ... and definitely more than worth than 50¢ at your video rental and won't put you to sleep if you like original, clever, landmark Indy films like this one is.
Spoilers herein.I stumbled upon `No Such Thing' and was dumbfounded at its abstract richnesses. So I sought out other Hal Hartley projects. This one has the highest IMDB rating, whatever that means. Rottentomatoes gives `Thing' a 100 and this a 31! I suppose that is because the distance from the story is not so obvious -- it just looks like bad acting and the story might seem to make sense if you are not paying attention.We have Audry, a perfect vision, interested in doom, reading and being photographed, newly sexual. We have the hapless man in black: not a preacher but a mechanic who <more>
has paid for an unadjusted memory. Everybody else is props, including the driver/bum/'entertainer' and the photographerThey engage in a dance of representation. This is an early work to be sure, with none of the ineluctably sophisticated layering of `Thing,' but you can still see an American Godard, a young Jarmusch in what is really his first open film.Adrienne Shelly is not required to act here, that's the point -- she is a `model.' But she is quite lovely as she comes through the camera.I recommend this to students of film narrative as an introduction to folding over nothing with an ironic neofabulism. Paved the way for later Lynch. Added to our ability to handle vision abstraction.Ted's evaluation: 3 of 4 -- Worth watching.
Hartley's style isn't for the casual viewer (by abchulett)
Long Island auteur Hal Hartley writes, directs, and co-produces his first feature film. His second, "Trust," has more polish and a better reputation, but "The Unbelievable Truth" has plenty to recommend it. Hartley came onto the scene as kind of a Generation X independent film voice, and while the acting quality in this feature debut is more uneven than in subsequent efforts, his almost surreal approach to dialogue, situations, and characterization is intact right out of the gate.The story is of a man who comes back to his hometown after years in prison, and the young girl <more>
he meets once he gets there. As in "Trust," Hartley uses coincidences to underline the intersecting lives and fates of his characters, and his characterization emphasizes the random way in which so many of us foolishly let our hearts lead us around rather than our heads...although ultimately the day belongs to those who are able to conquer this tendency.While Hartley forcefully instructs his actors to play their lines totally deadpan as much as possible, the situations and character reactions lead to lots of uproarious laughs that will not be evident to many viewers if they're expecting sitcom-type humor, and the way his plots twist is a joy. For the sophisticated movie fan, Hartley's films are extremely interesting and a terrific exercise in watching a true original at work.
A cute and quirky, offbeat romantic comedy (by DeeNine-2)
What we have here is an indie romantic comedy, adorably done. Adrienne Shelly, who is petite and cute and pale as winter snow, stars as Audrey Hugo, a mechanic's daughter who has been accepted at Harvard or so she says but has no intention of going. She is obsessed with what she sees as the inevitability of nuclear war and attendant horrors, which she reads about aloud to herself and anyone who will listen.It is 1988 and this is Long Island, New York, although it looks a lot like Jersey to me. Certainly this is not the high rent district of Long Island. Her boyfriend is shallow and <more>
doesn't listen to her. Her father thinks she ought to go to the local community college which he notes is a whole lot cheaper than Harvard. She is bored with her senior year at high school and usually cuts.Enter tall, handsome, dressed all in black Robert Burke as Josh Hutton just released from prison. People who meet him ask, "Are you a priest?" He answers, "I'm a mechanic." And indeed he is an especially wondrous one who, of course, goes to work for Audrey's father, Vic Hugo Chris Cooke and becomes invaluable. Although it seems that Josh killed a girl and then the girl's father some years ago, we of course know from the title and from Josh's obviously sterling character that the "unbelievable truth" must be otherwise. And of course so does Audrey who is immediately smitten with him. But Josh is apparently practicing something like celibacy "Are you a priest?" and rebuffs Audrey's advances, thereby initiating a whole slew of romantic misunderstandings wittily tossed about by director Hal Hartley along with some spiffy Mamet-like dialogue.Now enter a photographer who makes Audrey into a fashion model, first her feet, but eventually the entire petite torso. Physically she moves to New York City, but her heart is still with Josh at her dad's auto repair shop. She even carries Josh's wrench in her handbag, with which she threatens the photo guy when he tries to get too close.What makes this film a delight in spite of all the obvious elements and the predictable complications is the original, independent and sparkling character of Audrey, the true blue integrity of Josh, some clever and funny dialogue, and a kind of warm puppy feel usually the signature property of a Nora Ephron film starring Meg Ryan. Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!
The truth is , this is an unbelievably intriguing film...bravo! (by inkblot11)
Audry Adrienne Shelly is a brainy and beautiful girl living in Long Island. She has just been accepted to Harvard, no less, but has to bargain with her father about attending the famous school. She is just turning 18 and wants to major in literature. Father insists on her getting a part time job and choosing to study communications. At this moment on LI, also, a convicted man has just returned to his home turf. His name is Josh and no one is sure what he did, but it seems that he killed two or more people. Audry has a chance meeting with him and is smitten. She even gets him a job at her <more>
father's automobile shop. How in the world is this a match made in heaven? No description is really adequate to relate the events in this film. Rather than plot driven, it is a quirky, intelligent film where conversation and the unexpected reign mightily. The script is just stunning. Where else, I might suggest, can you view a film that offers explanations on the merits of Moliere's Misanthrope and the workings of a car's transmission apparatus? All of the actors, the costumes, the look, and the direction of the film are very, very worthy, too. Sadly, Ms. Shelly was murdered in 2006 in NYC . There is a smattering of bad language and the subject matter is adult, so the movie is not suitable for an underage audience. Nevertheless, if you definitely want to take a walk down the aisle of vintage, independent films, pick this one up without delay. It is a gem, even years after its creation.
Perfect movie for the college crowd (by susansweb)
I first saw this movie when I was 22 and I thought it was fantastic. I have seen it several times since then and each time I enjoy it but I don't have the enthusiasm that I once had. That might be, because every Hal Hartley movie I have seen since three others is exactly the same in dialogue, acting and direction. But enough on the negative. The positive - the cast: Robert Burke, Adrienne Shelley and the rest do a great job. I really enjoyed the dialogue, there doesn't seem to be a wasted word and all of the push fighting. How come Seagal doesn't try that? So, in summary, this <more>