While on vacation, I caught a delightful movie on HBO that I did not recall ever seeing advertised for showings in the theater. The film is entitled The Art of Getting By and stars Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Emma Roberts (niece of Julia Roberts), Alicia Silverstone, Rita Wilson, and Blair Underwood.
The movie is about a gifted art student (Freddie Highmore) more or less coasting his way through high school until graduation approaches and he may not receive a diploma. This storyline intertwines with his budding relationship with Emma Roberts’ character. It is very well done and I enjoyed the movie. Also, the soundtrack is simply superb for this film with terrific alternative and indie rock tunes artfully blended into the score.
Hence the question, why no release in theaters? Best I could determine by reading between the lines on IMDb is some of the critics were not particularly kind to the film when it was release at the Sundance Film Festival. They praise Mr. Highmore’s and Ms. Robert’s performances, but otherwise were rather tepid.
As a result the film went directly HBO and similar outlets. Granted, I discovered the film there, but I think it would have been even a more impressive movie in a theater. Sadly, the critics’ response to the film and Fox Searchlight’s response to the criticism narrowed the public’s choices versus broadening it. Once again…money talks.
Is The Art of Getting By perfect? Of course not. Is it deserving of a general release – absolutely. I think a lot of people would like it, warts and all. If you, get a chance, check it out on HBO or rent the film – it is certainly well worth the time and cost.