The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, New York during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs, or in prison. He comes to believe he has been saved from their fates by various so-called saints.
Dito, a writer in L.A., goes home to Astoria, Queens, after a 15-year absence when his mother calls to say his father's ill. In a series of flashbacks we see the young Dito, his parents, his four closest friends, and his girl Laurie, as each tries to navigate family, race, loyalty, sex, coming of age, violence, and wanting out. A ball falls onto the subway tracks at a station, small things get out of hand. Can Dito go home again? Written by
Eleonore Hendricks was originally cast as the young Laurie, who was a white girl in real-life. But Rosario Dawson expressed interest in playing the older Laurie. As Dawson is mixed race, and Hendricks is white, Melonie Diaz was chosen to play the teen-aged Laurie. Hendricks was then given a smaller role as Laurie's friend Jenny to make up for it. See more »
In the 1980s scenes the red hand/green walking person can be clearly seen at the street crossing, but in NYC at that time the older walk/don't walk signs were being used. See more »
Powerful and heartfelt look at an often violent past
I recently saw a screening of "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" without any prior knowledge of the subject matter or cast, which I am beginning to believe might be the best idea before seeing many of the smaller films out there. Reminiscent of "Goodfellas" and "Kids," a gritty coming-of-age story that packs a powerful punch with star Shia LaBeouf delivering a heart- breaking performance. This film is not to be missed and should be a strong contender come awards season. Director and writer Dito Montiel obviously draws from the likes of Martin Scorsese as he paints Queens, New York in a light only familiar to those who grew up deep in the heart of it. "Saints" elicits both tears and laughter, often within moments of each other while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats the entire time. Topping off this walk down memory lane, Montiel incorporates a stellar soundtrack mostly from the 70's, which feels right even though most of the story takes place in the mid 80's.
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