The United States of Leland

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Released 2004

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Movie Summary

Director:
Matthew Ryan Hoge
Released:
2004
Rating:
R
After seemingly ordinary 15-year-old Leland (Ryan Gosling) stuns his quiet suburban community with a chilling crime, he is sent to juvenile hall where he meets Pearl (Don Cheadle), a teacher and aspiring writer who dreams of making Leland's compelling story into a book. As Pearl digs deeper into Leland's life and the people caught up in it - his mother (Lena Olin), his famous writer-father (Kevin Spacey), and his troubled girlfriend (Jena Malone) - he uncovers Leland's disturbing motive.

Metacritic Score

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    An ambitious and intelligent film probing that chronic contemporary phenomenon, the seemingly senseless crime, but it is ultimately unsatisfying for all its efforts and various plu...

  • 40

    Variety David Rooney

    Hoge shows no particular directorial style, bringing a bland, anonymous look to the generic Southern California suburban locations.

  • 30

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    The real question raised by The United States of Leland is not why, but how. How, that is, did so many talented actors find their way to this dreary and derivative study in suburba...

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