All the Real Girls is writer/director David Gordon Green's achingly romantic follow-up to his acclaimed George Washington, and, shot in the same elliptically poetic style, it confirms Green's status as an American original -- a distinctive chronicler of Southern small town life. The film's nearly abstract approach to plot and dialogue and its idyllic analysis of romantic love and its discontents evoke the early films of Leos Carax, but Green has his own unique rhythm and style. The quiet power of Green's film is greatly abetted by the performances of Paul Schneider as Paul, the callow ladies' man who meets a girl who awakens him to his own hidden depths, and especially the luminous Zooey Deschanel as Noel, the romantic novice whose seeming clarity of purpose masks a morass of confusion. The emotional climax of the film, when Noel reveals something to Paul that jeopardizes their budding relationship, is a beautifully wrought and powerful depiction of the vicissitude of romance. It's a scrupulously honest and memorable scene. For all the poetic non-sequiturs and lush imagery of All the Real Girls, its real power comes from its open simplicity in depicting the joy and pain we're all capable of bringing to those we love.
by Josh Ralske review