Today: February 22, 2024

The Art Of Getting By

The directorial debut of director Gavin Wiesen comes in the form of The Art of Getting By, a coming-of-age romantic comedy/drama.

The directorial debut of director Gavin Wiesen comes in the form of The Art of Getting By, a coming-of-age romantic comedy/drama.


George Zinavoy (Freddie Highmore) is a loner and goes out of his way to avoid the ordinary flow of real life. He is liked by his teachers but they struggle with his refusal to conform and his ignorance of his talents. He is slowly becoming more and more estranged from his mother and stepfather. George has no sense of purpose and a lack
of connection to the rest of the human race until he meets and befriends Sally
Howe (Emma Roberts) and begins to
take an interest in life.


The Art of Getting By has been placed in the romance, drama
and comedy genres – it has a tiny bit of romance, a tiny bit of drama, but has
almost no comedic value. The film
is enhanced by some fairly interesting camera shots, but the slow pace of the
story quickly diminishes this effect.
There is also no complexity to the characters in this movie and most of
them are completely indifferent. At
many points there is a faint suggestion of feeling from each character, but
this disappears before it really comes to the surface.


One can be forgiven for expecting quite a lot from Highmore
having observed his cute, quirky child acting in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Finding Neverland. He
is not particularly bad at playing the middle-class loner teenager, but it
seems that the character of George is too bland and listless to allow Highmore
to really showcase his acting talent.
George is failing in school and in life as he is basically a slacker so
it is hard to empathise with him.
There are points when you almost feel sorry for him, but then quickly start
to not really care again. It is
only the recollection of Highmore as little, underprivileged pauper, Charlie
and in a small sense, George’s loneliness that generates any kind of empathy
towards the character.


Sally as a character is tedious and Roberts struggles to
bring her to life. We expect
characters in any romantic comedy to be endearing but it is hard to empathise
with Sally in any way. She
conforms to the stereotype of the popular high-school blonde but not in any
great sense. She has a very small
circle of friends, with just one self-obsessed, eye-rolling girlfriend and she
uses George’s teenage angst against him.
In fact her mother states – ‘Trust me, I’ve played with . . . (mens’) . . . affections my whole life, but with the good ones
it’s not right.’ Hmm . . . . nice. The character of Sally is bland and
irksome and it is hard to care about any plight she is shown to have.


Talking of high-school blonde stereotypes, there is a
bizarre cameo from Clueless star Alicia Silverstone as a frumpy English
teacher. What better way to escape
your Clueless (and lest we forget Batgirl) image than to don a dowdy, brown
cardigan and thick glasses. Nevertheless
it is kind of interesting to see her do something so different. Rita
, known for her roles in romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle and Mixed Nuts, completely dumbs down in
this movie as George’s mediocre mother.
Even Michael Angarano as
successful artist, Dustin, provides no relief from the ennui as he too is portrayed
as impassive and so laid back he might as well be lying down through the whole


The Art of Getting By is a mellow look on an adolescent
life. It tries awfully hard to be
indie and to represent today’s middle class teenager, but really it has all
been done before and much, much better – think 500 Days of Summer, An
or even The Breakfast Club. This film never quite achieves what it
obviously intended to, but it does have something that makes you enjoy it in
the simplest way, even if it is hard to determine what that something is.


Misha Wallace - Social Media Editor

From the age of 4, Misha Wallace became transfixed by movies like Halloween and The Birds from behind the couch, unbeknownst to her family. This has developed in to an obsession with fantasy and horror films (and a considerable number of cheesy 80s and 90s flicks – but she will not be judged). If she was a character in a film she'd be the girl at the end of a horror movie, doused in blood but grinning victorious. Email: or find her any time of the day or night on FilmJuice social media.

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