The United States of Leland (2003)

The United States of Leland (2003)
  • Time: 108 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Romance
  • Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge
  • Cast: Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Kevin Spacey, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Michelle Williams, Lena Olin


After stabbing an autistic boy, the sixteen year old troubled and pessimist Leland P. Fitzgerald is sent to a juvenile detention. His teacher and aspirant writer Pearl Madison gets close and tries to understand him, first with intention of writing a book, and later becoming his friend. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of world.

One comment

  • It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Ryan Gosling, although considering that everyone else on the planet likes him, it isn’t that strange. Now it occurs to me that he goes after either rom-com roles (Crazy, Stupid, Love or The Notebook) or darkly disturbed characters in independent films (Lars and the Real Girl or Blue Valentine). In this film however, he plays a character that’s different to the rest (and I don’t mean because he has brown hair).

    The film chronicles the events leading up to and after the murder of a mentally disabled boy by Leland P. Fitzgerald (Gosling) and the effects that it has on the people who were close to either Leland or the boy, like Leland’s ex-girlfriend and the boy’s sister, Becky (Jena Malone), or Leland’s teacher in prison, Pearl (Don Cheadle).

    The family of the boy all try to escape their grief. Julie (Michelle Williams) and her boyfriend Alan (Chris Klein), try to focus on their future at university, but this puts a strain on their relationship. Becky turns to heroin, to which she gets addicted. Leland’s own father, Arthur (Kevin Spacey), is an author who tries to come to terms with the fact that his absence from his son’s life could have been a motivating factor for Leland. Meanwhile, Pearl, who is an aspiring writer, tries to write a novel about Leland, but is hampered at every turn by his work.

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