Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 30
  2. Negative: 6 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 5, 2011
    Restless is far more precious than profound. But that takes little away from this soulful teenage exploration of love, life and death.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Sep 12, 2011
    The picture is so fluttering and tender, so guileless, that you almost can't believe it was made by an old hand like Van Sant. Then again, maybe you can.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 15, 2011
    Restless is a self-consciously quirky coming-of-age tale that's essentially a teenage hipster "Love Story."
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Sep 14, 2011
    Somehow, Van Sant has made a film about life and death in which the stakes never seem higher than whether one insolent kid will stop being such a horrible mope.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Sep 17, 2011
    The insistently quirky details don't disguise the fact that the drama grows ever more predictable and precious, complete with falling-in-love montage. Screenwriter Jason Lew's character insights take the form of the obvious.
  6. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Oct 17, 2011
    Compared to its direct inspiration - Hal Ashby's blackly brilliant "Harold And Maude" - Restless comes off like an anemic facsimile. After the excellent "Milk," this is more like curdled cheese.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Sep 11, 2011
    Gus Van Sant's cinema, which of late has been fixated on immersing viewers in particular times and spaces, takes a detour into excruciating quirkland with Restless.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. DJ7
    Feb 4, 2012
    Don't look for revelation, but portrayal of young angst at the unanswerables of life through a quirky plot and lovely acting you will find. Somewhat endearing. I liked it. Expand
  2. Mar 11, 2012
    When expressing my views on a film I examine my feelings. Did I "feel' something? Was it strong, believable? Did I cry, laugh, hide my eyes, etc. The characters in Restless made me feel something. They communicated their situation. They made me see how their reactions to their personal challenge made sense. In this film plot-lines or a story faux pas does not matter. Two wonderful portrayals of people who fall in love and must deal with heart breaking issues. They do it, they understand the "thing" their dealing with, and hopefully reach a better place in their lives. I "felt" their pain, sorrow, but most of all their happiness in finding each other when they needed someone the most. An A-. Expand
  3. Oct 31, 2011
    This review contains spoilers. For their souls, the titular metalheads challenge death to a game of Battleship in "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey"(a send-up of "The Seventh Seal", and wins, but the Grim Reaper turns out to be a poor sport, so it's not until the surfer dudes dominate at Clue, electric football, and Twister, does the scythe-carrying man begrudgingly lets them go. After Death's battleship is sunk, it's clear that the boys won. Conversely, when Hiroshi, a kamikaze pilot from WWII, "blows up" Enoch's toy pieces to smithereens, every successive sinking presents a paradox, made so by the cultural objective of the player, since it means that the Japanese aviator has won, perversely, by crashing his plane into an American naval vessel, somewhere over a Pacific constructed out of blue plastic. Hiroshi loses his life, many times over, every single day. While Enoch complains that his dead friend always wins, maybe he loses on purpose, in order to keep their symbiotic relationship intact. Win a game, Enoch intuits, and perhaps, Hiroshi will fade away. The kamikaze needs some vestige of that faraway war, whereas Enoch enjoys the pilot's imperative to die. Both competitors need a new game, like Life. It's something that neither Hiroshi, nor Enoch, ever got to experience. In the testimonies of the few remaining "tokkotai" members from the 2007 doc "Wings of Defeat", the aging kamikazes reveal that their comrades were not the automatons as seen in American films such as "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "Pearl Harbor", but were in fact, scared boys, hemmed in by a culture which preached death before dishonor. So scared, in fact, were some of these flyers, that they didn't complete their missions, choosing instead to return back home, rather than die in vain. It's a facet of the Japanese persona we never knew existed. One doesn't normally associate free will with wartime soldiers, whose allegiance to the emperor was a testament to militaristic programming, but these interviewees are, in essence, conscientious objectors, or in other words, from the Japanese perspective: cowards. Over the intervening years, since the bomb ended the war, suicides suc h as Hiroshi, and other pilots like him, after mulling things over, must have realized that their sacrifices were for nothing, but curiously, the aviator squares off against Enoch in a seemingly game of Battleship on a daily basis. Most former soldiers don't like to relive their war experiences, and yet, here is Hiroshi, metaphorically nosediving into aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, and patrol boats. Since most kamikaze pilots received the highest honors in death, being promoted to positions of leadership posthumously, what's the deal with Hiroshi's purgatorial-like deferment from heaven. Why is he stuck in the northwest with Enoch? Furthermore, the Japanese are notoriously closed-mouthed when it comes to talking about themselves, but, Hiroshi rattles off his sterling military record to Annabel before Enoch cuts him off. There's a shrine in the sky? Why isn't he there? Maybe it's because Hiroshi turned his plane around, just like the surviving crew in the Morimoto film; maybe contrary to the love letter that he writes to his sweetheart, the ghost as a man, neither screamed "Banzai!" nor whispered the name of a girl, before plowing into enemy aircraft, because the suicide mission he had purported to carry out, in actuality, was a bogus journey. Game after game, the disgraced pilot defeats Enoch in order to join his decorated comrades, but alas, it's fruitless. Battleship is only a game. It's a real probability that Enoch committed ritualistic suicide("hara-kiri"), because his prolonged life was an insult to those brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice, therefore bringing shame to the family and a Japan razed to the ground by nuclear emissions. "Restless", billed in some quarters as this generation's "Love Story", and sure, the Arthur Hiller film, for good reason, was the go-to film when it came to doomed love, but the seventies classic differs in one crucial way: Enoch, the funeral crasher(ala Bud Cort in "Harold and Maude"), really needs Annabel, an old soul(she dresses in clothes from Ruth Gordon's time) with terminal cancer, unlike Oliver Barrett, the preppie, who ultimately, despite denying it, marries the poor Catholic girl as a way of irking his fabulously rich and snobby parents. If Oliver truly loved the pianist, he would have allowed the scholar to study abroad, in Paris, rather than turn her into a lawyer's wife. Oliver loves what she represents. On the other hand, Enoch just simply loves Annabel. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that Hiroshi is no Clarence, Angel Second Class from "It's a Wonderful Life". The kamikaze pilot hasn't earned his "wings". When Annabel dies, Hiroshi isn't there to escort her to heaven, but instead, acquires for himself a new Battleship partner, in his quest to become an admiral in the afterlife. Collapse
  4. Apr 2, 2012
    A Febiofest screening, nothing signposts that 3 years after multi-Ocsar nominated (including 2 wins) MILK (2008), Gus Van Sant will cook such a cancer-ridden romantic flick grappling with a soul-healing recovery of a parents-bereaved boy after his short relationship with a dying girl although death has been a persistent topic all through his omnibus. The over-simplified structure may impede Gus from a more spacious platform to perform his mastery, and precipitating an out-and-out snub from all sorts of awards consideration and the disastrous box-office turnover is fatal to destroy its investorâ Expand
  5. Jun 28, 2012
    The first hour of this film is wonderful, funny, touching and underplayed. Mia Wasikowska is something special (as is Schuyler Fisk as her sister struggling to accept the reality of the situation) and the relationship between her, Henry Hopper and the Japanese ghost is nicely drawn (after you give in to the logic of it). The problem is the last third of the film. What was being built up to be quite an emotional conclusion, dissolved into cliche quickly and undercut the impact of the film's conclusion. Expand
  6. Sep 30, 2011
    Annabel (Mia Wasikowska) has cancer, but donâ
  7. Oct 10, 2011
    This tedious and sophomoric examination of death stars Henry Hopper (son of Dennis) as a youth who's troubled by the death of his parents, Mia Wasikowska who's facing death from cancer and the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. Did I saw this was about death? They mope and make moon eyes at each otherâ Expand


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