A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
The harsh realities of life on the street merge with the universal themes of youthful pain and exhilaration in director Dito Montiel's telling tale of one boy's struggle to escape the grim fate that awaits his aimless, trouble-minded peers. For most of Montiel's friends, the only means of escaping their bleak surroundings were drugs, prison, or death. In breaking the cycle and making a name for himself as a filmmaker, Montiel showed that there are ways to overcome the urban malaise that consumed the majority of his friends. He couldn't have done it alone, though, and with this… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Given all the filmed memory pieces about screaming, violent Italian-American families in New York boroughs, I'm not especially thrilled by even a well-made example."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The movie never answers the question of why, exactly, the audience should care about these characters."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"Montiel's honey coated Queens of the mid-'80s is rich with the violence and carnality of teenagers, and the performances of LaBeouf (as the young Dito) and Channing Tatum (as his Stanley Kowalski-like grunt friend, Antonio) are raw pleasures."
‑ Luke Goodsell, Empire Magazine Australasia
"Superb performances and a gripping retrospective plotline make this tough cookie an entertaining one, even if its adult story strand is weighed down with vagaries."
‑ Anna Smith, Film4
"the adult scenes, though providing the film with structural ballast, also weigh it down."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"The plot itself might not break much new ground, but the telling, by both cast and crew, makes this a memoir to remember."
‑ Ben Walters, Time Out
"Though A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is not a great movie, I prefer its street-grit version of adolescent desperation to the arch, mannered tone of Running With Scissors."
‑ Michael Booth, Denver Post
"Dito Montiel adapts his autobiographical 2001 novel into a vivid slice-of-life drama from the Jim Carroll school of disaffected coming-of-age New York journalism."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"I love the scenes with young people in the middle of a hot New York summer, talking to one another like panthers circling."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"...ultimately undone by Montiel's relentlessly ostentatious sense of style..."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"It takes a while to recognize these saints, but the effort is worth it."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"Like an O'Neill play, its virtues are not in well-constructed ideas but in the emotional catharses it wrings out of its audience."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"It is its very autobiographical roots that make Saints an emotional wallop, a raw, authentic work that is, at its defiant core, violently and unrestrainedly alive."
‑ Brandon Fibbs, BrandonFibbs.com
"It positively crackles with energy, featuring startlingly raw performances from a cast that also includes Shia LaBeouf as the young Dito. And if it looks ragged around the edges, that's as it should be."
‑ Stella Papamichael, BBC
"The real star is Channing Tatum as the alpha-chimp leader of Dito's pack. The camera doesn't just love him, it wants to marry him, settle down, and have his babies."
‑ Stuart McGurk, thelondonpaper
More reviews for A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints on Rotten Tomatoes