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Netflix movie suggested by Etta.

Even though the plots are completely different, this movie is sort of along the lines of Pay it Forward.  And it's more than just that Kevin Spacey is in both.  They're both low key movies where an out of the ordinary kid finds a mentor.  I guess the plots are different enough that the only thing similar between the two is a reflective tone.  And adults trying to figure a kid out.

Other good people in the movie were Jena Malone, Don Cheadle, Lena Olin and a couple others who I recognize, but don't know their names.

The title of the movie comes from a workbook that Cheadle gives to the kid.  He scratched his name on the cover under the title of the workbook.  That was what he used as a journal.

Some of the story is told as narration of his journal.  That often segues into flashbacks.  They jump around so much that I was never quite sure about the sequence of events.  When did she go back to the drug dealer?  And when did the friend go get her?  I really wasn't sure if those happened before or after the boy was killed.  I have no idea about the total duration of the story.

And I think that's a big part of what kept me from really liking this movie.  It came across just a little disjointed.

I think the kid is supposed to be us.  I figure most people view themselves as nearly as detached and introspective as this kid.  I know I do.  He doesn't know what he's supposed to feel.  He isn't mad at the girl because she broke up with him.   It just didn't work out.  The past isn't important, because you can't do anything to change it.

I kept wanting Cheadle or one of the other characters to tell him that, while you can't change the past, if you acknowledge what has happened and deal with it, then that can greatly affect the rest of your life.  But they never did that.  The kept harping on the futility of wanting to change what has happened.  I guess they just felt it wasn't necessary.

I'm not sure if they were trying to show the intersection of several stories.  The beginning kind of implied that.  They jumped around from the dead boy, to the father reacting the news, to some of the other characters.  But somehow they didn't really show the connections.  They told us about them.  But with all the jumping around they felt shortchanged.

I really wanted to like the movie.  Parts of it were somewhat thought-provoking.   Jumping to conclusions, dealing with mistakes, unrequited love.  And Etta really likes it.  But the thought provoking elements just felt lost in the jumble.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental.  Somewhat thought-provoking, but somewhat jumbled.

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