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William Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is an acclaimed author who hasn't written a word since his ex-wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) left him three years ago for another man. In between spying on Erica and casual romps with his married neighbour Tricia (Kristen Bell), Bill is dealing with the complexities of raising his teenage children Samantha (Lily Collins) and Rusty (Nat Wolff). Samantha is publishing her first novel and is determined to avoid love at all costs - after all she's seen with her parents. But then she meets "nice guy" Lou (Logan Lerman) who will stop at nothing to win her over. Rusty is an aspiring fantasy writer and Stephen King aficionado, who is on a quest to gain 'life experiences'. He falls for the beautiful, but troubled Kate (Liana Liberato) and gets his first taste of love and a broken heart.

Review by Louise Keller:
The sound of heartbeats and the impact of words form the essence of this bittersweet love story about a dysfunctional family trying to find their way through the emotional forest. First time writer director Josh Boone's semi-autobiographical screenplay explores the flush of first love, the fear of commitment and the longing of lost love while books are the foundation stones on which emotions are based. It's an involving and likeable film that relies on its script and there are top performances from its hand-picked cast. If you like your films richly composed with characters whose contradictions you recognise, you will enjoy this warm and uplifting film about how, why, when and where we connect for a multitude of reasons.

'A writer is the sum of his experiences: go get some,' acclaimed writer William Borgens (Greg Kinnear) tells his son Rusty (Nat Wolff) in a bid to make him participate in life rather than be an observer. His advice works. In the opening scenes, we meet a hopeless romantic, the ultimate cynic and a rejected lover, who all happen to be members of the same family - and writers. In playing Borgens, who is pining for his ex-wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly), Greg Kinnear manages to attract our sympathy without being pathetic, although the scenes in which he sneaks and peeks through the windows of Erica's new home add nothing to the mix. Boone's picture is that of a man in limbo, waiting for his wife to come to her senses and take him back. Watch out for Kristen Bell, who is a hoot as Borgen's 'f**k buddy': the married neighbour who regularly drops by for torrid sex.

Rusty's relationship with Kate (Liana Liberato), the prettiest girl in his fiction writing class is developed nicely - he might have portrayed her as an angel in the poem he wrote when stoned on pot, but he finds quickly that she needs to be rescued. Lily Collins is a terrific talent and great value as Samantha, the rebel who uses promiscuity to protect her heart. Her budding relationship with Logan Lerman's Lou, who is everything she is trying to avoid, sits well (Lerman is always good). She tells him he reeks of romance and good intentions and I especially like the coffee shop scene when Samantha resists telling him anything meaningful about herself - like who is her favourite author. And then there is the estranged relationship between Samantha and her mother Erica; Samantha cannot forgive her mother for walking out of the family unit.

The outcomes may be a tad predictable, but the observations made in Boone's screenplay are rich and textured. The film begins and ends with Thanksgiving; what happens in between is a moving highway where love, commitment and acceptance are travelling at high speed.

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(US, 2012)

CAST: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell, Liana Liberato, Nat Wolff,

PRODUCER: Judy Cairo

DIRECTOR: Josh Boone

SCRIPT: Josh Boone


EDITOR: Robb Sullivan

MUSIC: Mike Mogis, Nathaniel Walcott


RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes



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