ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Paranoid Park DVD Review

Updated on October 21, 2015

No One to Turn To

This is the story of 16 year-old Alex (Gabe Nevins) whose immature parents are divorcing and have no time to give him. His acquaintances are all consumed with sex and with behaving in a manner older than their years, so they are incapable of real conversation. Alex is a boy whose "girlfriend" sees him as a conquest. He is a boy who has one friend, Macy (Lauren McKinney) who actually cares about him. Alex's  one boyish love is skateboarding.

Alex is a boy who has no coping skills and no support network and no idea what to do about the fact that he has accidentally killed a man.

Teens are Children!

I care about Alex. His motivations are ambiguous, but I think this is because a real boy would have ambiguous motivations in this situation. With all of the terrible things that were happening in his life that he was supposed to be taking in stride, it was hard to look at Alex knowing that his parents, teachers and friends were not seeing him as a child.

The actor, Gabe Nevins, had an innocence and a vulnerability that just made me think, "This is a child! This is just a little child!" every time I looked at him.

A Skate Kid's Life Turns Upside-Down

Photographer: cbonanno:
Photographer: cbonanno:

Alone in the World...

Clearly, no one in his life thought of him this way. His ne'er do well Dad talks with him about the divorce as if he were a peer. His cowardly mom teeters at the foot of the stairs to his basement room (where he sleeps on a mattress on the floor and lives out of a suitcase) unwilling to take a few steps into the room or ask a few more questions to find out what might be wrong. His acquaintances and predatory girlfriend talk about nothing but sex. His little brother recites an entire lengthy scene from Napoleon Dynamite word-for-word in a monotonous sing-song while Alex sits, shell-shocked in the aftermath of what he has done, mutely unable to say what he needs to say and almost completely alone in the world. Others see him as they need him to be; even though, he is just a child.

Calm & Controlled

A Haunting Movie

An interesting novel...

A Captivating Soundtrack!

The music was a delight. The soundtrack to this movie is offbeat and quirky and contains everything from rap to classical.

  1. Il White Lady Loves You More - Smith Elliott
  2. Giardino Delle Fate - Rota Nino
  3. I Can Help - Swan Billy
  4. Tunnelmouth Blues - Davies Henry
  5. Outlaw - Cast King
  6. Strongest Man in the World - Menomena
  7. La I Heard That - Scott Terrance
  8. Porticina Segreta - Rota Nino
  9. L' We Will Revolt - Ramires José
  10. Arcobaleno Per Giuletta - Rota Nino
  11. Symphony N°9 "Choral" 4. - Beethoven Ludwig V
  12. La Song One - Rose Ethan
  13. Chambre Blanche - Normandeau Robert
  14. Walk Through (Resonant Landscape) N°2 - White Frances

Each song tells you something about the scene and the characters in it. All are just a little bit jarring in the setting. You think about the music - just enough.


The movie was also filmed in a very interesting manner. Adults were almost never fully in the frame or fully in focus - with two exceptions - the man Alex accidentally kills and the police officer who could and would help if Alex would only let him. These two and Alex's one true teen friend who actually cares about him are also the only characters in the movie who ever make extended eye-contact with Alex.

I was astounded by the plot of this movie. It was arresting, engaging, original and unique. The young characters were realistic. The ending - the resolution - was a total surprise; although, there is really no other way the movie could have realistically ended. It is definitely not a Hollywood ending. When I turned off my DVD player the first time I saw Paranoid Park, I felt that I had never seen anything like it. I needed to see it again, and I watched the very next day. That was several months ago, and I have thought of the movie many times since. I plan to see it again soon, but I want to read the novel first.

Five Stars

On a scale of 1-5, I would give this movie 5 stars. This 2007 drama was directed by Gus Van Sant (Elephant, Drugstore Cowboy, Gerry, and Private Idaho )and is a Cannes Film Festival 60th Anniversary Prize winner. Although it is based on a teen novel of the same name (by Blake Nelson) I would not recommend it for young teens.

I think one should be over 16 to watch this movie and should have a parent present for discussion afterwards. This is a film that raises a lot of issues and could be the catalyst for many meaningful and important discussions.

Ten Points for Interest!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say this movie is a definite "10" for holding my interest. In fact, it still holds my interests months after viewing! Initially, the skateboarding scenes were a little boring for me, but when I saw them in the context of the movie, I came to appreciate them. I believe the dream of mastering this skill gave Alex some hope of having control in his world.

How would you rate Paranoid Park?

Choose 1 Star/Bad - 5 Stars/Great or Haven't Seen It.

See results


Something to Think About...

I would recommend this movie to any other adult. I would even recommend it to adults I know would hate it. The reason is, I don't think it is possible to watch this movie and forget all about it. In the back of your mind, you will keep turning it over and over looking for the key that unlocks it completely, but you will never find it. This is a slice of life movie that is unlike any other. It is an eye-opener into the way our self - interested adult society is shaping the youth of today without even thinking about it.

I would recommend this movie to other adults because it is something we need to think about.


Submit a Comment
  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! Yes! It's terrific! :)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    God review of a non-mainstream film, the sort that should do better. I saw this last year at Cannes and can recommend it.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Elena! The filming isn't annoying. I noticed it right away because I look out for that kind of thing, but I read lots of reviews by people who didn't notice it at all and were quite sensitive to the rest of the movie and its message.

    What is really astounding about this movie is that none of the adults are exactly doing anything "wrong". They are present. They talk at Alex. There's food in the house. No one hits him or yells at him. But still, he has no real connection with any adult in his life and hardly any with his peers. And that seems to be the status quo.

    I hope you will watch it! :)

  • Elena. profile image


    9 years ago from Madrid

    Suzanne, I never even heard of this one before. The way you describe how it's shot, I'm not sure it's up my alley, BUT the content most certainly is, it seems a thought provoking film on the aillments young kids may face nowadays, inability to cope, lack of support from parents that are too immature and self centered, the feeling of inadequacy and not fitting in... I'll keep an eye out for this one, thanks!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)