Film Review: ‘Ten Thousand Saints’

Asa Butterfield and Ethan Hawke

“This would make a great movie,” all of us have sighed while mind-directing a film from the novel we’re reading. But most of the time it wouldn’t really make a great movie, because a movie is a different animal entirely. Ten Thousand Saints conveys a passionate desire to capture a 2011 novel by Eleanor Henderson, but it looks like a quickly sketched version of something much, much larger. You want big canvas, you’ve got big canvas: We follow teenager Jude (Asa Butterfield, the kid from Hugo) from his turbulent life in small-town Vermont to the grungy streets of the East Village in the late 1980s. His drug-dealing adoptive father Les (Ethan Hawke) returns to the boy’s life to insure he has a place to crash in the city. The movie has hardcore music, a tragic death, and that laziest of plot devices, the unexpected pregnancy that changes everything.

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