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Leaves of Grass starring Edward Norton - A Movie Review

Updated on November 5, 2013
Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass is a must-see for anyone who loves quirky, politically incorrect comedies. See Edward Norton at his finest with two polar opposite roles.


Excellent acting, irreverent humor and thoroughly quirky

4 stars for Leaves of Grass, starring Edward Norton

It just goes to show -- intelligence isn't everything

You would think that Daisy Kincaid (Susan Sarandon) would be exceedingly proud of her driven, intelligent sons. Both are well above average, and both very successful in what they do. A professor of classical philosophy in the Ivy League, Bill (Edward Norton) just celebrated Harvard’s offer of opening and running his own department. His brother Brady (Edward Norton) is, bar none, the most successful marijuana grower in the state. He has developed his own ingenious automatic hydroponic system, which allows him to effectively grow and care for thousands of the finest plants. For some mothers, this might serve as proof that sons should have more than just brains and drive.

Now Brady has gotten in deep with some big-money drug lords. He concocts a plan to bring Bill back to the backwater Oklahoma town where the boys grew up. Brady and his best friend, Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson), devised the perfect way to get out of their current mess – but they have to have a bomb-proof alibi. Who could ask for a better solution than an estranged identical twin?

Take a look at the official trailer, then read below for the critique

Summary? An unforgettable tale from director Tim Blake Nelson

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed Leaves of Grass, a somewhat dark and very quirky comedy. Essentially, the tale is about the consequences of attempting to heal the ages-old rift between two brothers. The cast certainly has its share of stars with the likes of Keri Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, and Melanie Lynskey. While some of these secondary characters seemed a bit lackluster, it could just be in comparison to Norton’s own performance, considering they all have pretty good reputations in their own right.

Lots of awesome acting in this one, but just to name a few...

Edward Norton, through a slew of well-chosen roles, has built a name for himself as an actor of extraordinary talent. That said, no other single movie showcases those talents quite as effectively as Leaves of Grass. The twin brothers Norton plays couldn’t get any more opposite – one a refined professor with soft, perfectly metered schooled speech, and impeccable manners. The other is the quintessential redneck with his tattoos, shaggy hair, back-country twang, fast temper and horrible manners, and an almost unnatural affinity for his beat-up old hat.

Richard Dreyfuss’ role was pretty minor, but it was well-played and, considering some of his past choices of “socially correct” roles, viewers may enjoy this casting as a devout Jewish drug lord. Susan Sarandon also had a fairly minor role, and one that did not really offer much insight into her capabilities – overall, Mrs. Kincaid was a pretty forgettable figure. As for Tim Blake Nelson, he has proven his abilities as “the dumb redneck” over and over, including his roles in Dead Man’s Walk and Oh Brother Where Art Though. Nelson really shines in this particular type of role, and has certainly had plenty of opportunities to practice the character.

If you like off-beat, completely politically-incorrect comedies, then this is a must-have for you. There are not many movies that can pull it off with a little bit of intelligence, as opposed to flat-out slapstick or some other noisome format. That said, if you’re easily offended – about-face and walk away right now, because this movie will probably leave you irritated or angry rather than entertained. If you can laugh at just about anything, then this is a great reminder that no one should take themselves too seriously – even an orthodontist.

Thank you for reading this hub! Let’s keep the conversation going. Please comment below with your favorite Edward Norton movie or quirky/dark comedy and what you liked about it.


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    • wychic profile image

      Rebecca Mikulin 3 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      It's a completely separate story :). They probably got the title from the Walt Whitman poem, and decided it's a fitting tongue-in-cheek connection.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Before this, I though Leaves of Grass referred to the Walt Whitman collection of poems. Is there a link or is this movie a completely separate story? Norton is a great actor and I look forward to watching the movie.