Looking for answers to life's big questions, a stuttering boy joins his high school debate team.
Release Year: 2007
Rating: 6.7/10 (8,087 voted)
Critic's Score: 73/100
Stars: Reece Thompson, Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D'Agosto
Coming of age in Plainsboro, New Jersey. High school student Hal Hefner stutters. On the evening his parents stop arguing and separate, 43 miles away at the state tournament, his school's legendary debater, Ben Wekselbaum, goes blank mid-sentence, Ben's teammate Ginny Ryerson doesn't get a first-place trophy, and the world changes. That fall, to Hal's amazement, Ginny recruits him for the debate team, mentors him, and will be his partner. He still has his stutter, but he works hard and he falls in love with Ginny. On the day of the first debate of the season, the world changes again. From then until the day of the state tournament, Hal has a lot to sort out. Is love rocket science?
Townsend Prep Debater
(as Candace Burr Scholz)
(as Reece Daniel Thompson)
(as Virginia Frank)
Plainsboro Lunch Lady
Life is easier done than said.
Official site |
Release Date: 28 September 2007
Filming Locations: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $58,536
(12 August 2007)
(21 October 2007)
Crew or equipment visible:
After the disqualification, the outline of a body microphone pack can be seen through Hal's sport coat (rear waistband).
That's god doing your dry cleaning.
God does dry cleaning. He wears a smock.
A Neurotic Anti-Love Story
This film is simply astounding, in my opinion. The acting is top notch
as well as the soundtrack, writing, editing, and photography.
I'll start with the general story:
Hal Heffner (Reece Thompson) is just an ordinary , no frills
high-school kid who happens to have a severe stutter. He has a
some-what broken home life, living with his older, bullying, thief of a
brother, Earl (Vincent Piazza). Their parents don't get along so
well… Hal has a difficult time dealing with his stutter in school as
well as general daily life. He is especially shy. Well… Hal is
approached by the school Debate Team Star, Ginny Ryerson (Anna
Kendrick) and she entices Hal into joining the Plainsboro High Debate
Team. Hal develops a fondness for Ginny and desperately attempts to be
closer with her. Hilarity Ensues…
The Acting in this film is nothing but astonishing. Reece does an
incredible job of balancing his lines and creating a very convincing
stuttering problem. Not only this, but the jokes he has to carry out
are low-key and very natural. The very impressive fast-paced and
garbled speech that Anna and Nicholas D'Agosto (Ben in the film), as
well as the other debaters in the film have to employ is incredible.
According to Jeff Blitz, real debaters speak faster, but the
Actors/Actresses had to slow their speech so that everything was
intelligible. Every player in this film speaks so naturally and
fluently that the jokes are not obvious. They require thought, despite
their beautiful simplicity. If you know Wes Anderson films, you know
what I am talking about.
Speaking of the Writing, it is, once again, amazing. The love story
that this film illustrates is a very different type of love story. It
takes the genre and flips it upside-down at every turn. This trend also
emanates in all other facets of the film as well. Just when your mind
thinks one thing is going to happen, something unexpected happens. This
film is very unpredictable, which is very nice as this film does not
follow the fairy tales that are so common in film today.
Rocket Science is also just beautiful looking. The film was made
predominately in the Baltimore Area. The crew did a most convincing job
of turning South East Baltimore into Trenton, NJ and turning the
suburbs of MD into those of NJ. As a Dundalk resident myself, I can
The editing is also innovative in that it employed its fitting
soundtrack into the cutting. The music will fire up to match the
sequence and then pause to let a key moment carry itself out, and then
pick up right where it left off. Speaking of the music, The Violent
Femmes are all over the place and their songs of Love Angst match
perfectly with the entire flow and story of the film.
All in all, this film was a most enjoyable experience. The laughs I had
are unforgettable and the emotions that I felt watching Hal chase his
dreams really tapped into me. Its a realistic film with a slight
neurotic sitcom twist to it. Jeff Blitz is simply brilliant and it
shows in this work. Reese has a most bright future and will be fully
discovered once this film hits.
For a truly uplifting, however, realistic experience that will
certainly make you laugh and impress as well, go see Rocket Science
when it releases on August 10th.
-Daniel J. Carlin-Weber