All the Real Girls


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Paul Schneider, Zooey Deschanel, Patricia Clarkson, Shea Whigham, Danny McBride, Ben Mouton

Non-Cast Credits

David Gordon Green, Jean Doumanian, Lisa Muskat, Tim Orr, Zene Baker, Steven Gonzales, Richard Wright, Michael Linnen, David Wingo


In his spectacular, lyrical second feature, David Gordon Green astonishes and delights with the distributiveness of his cinematic voice and depths of his genuine, contoured characters. Green and his trusted collaborators boldly plumb fertile emotional territory: the Instinctive, ineffable intoxication of first love and the risk of getting too close.

Twenty-two-year-old Paul lives with his beloved mom and works as a grease monkey in a broken-down North Carolina mill town. Charming, smart, unambitious, he has a devoted circle of rowdy friends and a reputation as a callous heartbreaker. When he meets his best friend's sister Noel, fresh from boarding school graduation, the two fall in a perfect, real, terrifying love. They share innermost secrets and inhabit a sweet, dreary bubble of admiration and understanding. But soon the perfection is too weighty, the bubble too delicate.

Eschewing love story cliches, All The Real Girls is excruciatingly authentic and tender while intelligently refusing to explain away complex human emotion. Fueled by breathtaking chemistry between actors Paul Schneider and Zooey Deschanel, the film yields some of the sexiest screen kisses in cinema history. The camera hesitates to move unless absolutely necessary -- a way of investing each magnificent moment with due significance, like a timeless treasure.


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.