The United States of Leland

“Grabbed this one from the wall the other day. Way back in the day, there used to be a used DVD store near where I used to go to church up here. As incentive, if I could drag my butt over to church, I allowed myself to shop for cheap movies. Besides the presumably low price, I’d chosen Leland for two reasons: Ryan Gosling and the unique title.

Gosling plays the titular Leland, a shy and quiet boy, who seems like the nicest kid in the world, except that he’s accused of a pretty terrible crime. He’s currently in a juvenile prison for some of the more disturbed cases, and forms a friendship with his teacher Pearl (Don Cheadle). Leland recounts his events for Pearl, who like the rest of the world, is baffled by what happened.

It’s certainly a downer of a film. Interesting and unique, but the tone makes you shy away from subsequent viewings, which is why I suppressed most of the memory of the film from the time before that I’d seen it. I’d totally forgotten that the cast also includes Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Chris Klein, and Jena Malone. There’s also a pre-Scandal Kerry Washington. It really is a bold movie, and one that won’t leave you unaffected. You just gotta be in the mood for being affected, because whoa.”

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