Ryan Gosling has long since been one of my favourite actors. I purchased 'The United States Of Leland' on DVD up at a cheap price, and because it was title that I hadn't even heard off, I was excepting it to be an average film, not bad but not great either. However, this was a thoroughly enjoyable movie from start to finish.
Once again, Ryan Gosling excels in his lead role, this time he is playing trouble teenager Leland P. Fitzgerald, who is sent to a juvenile detention after stabbing his ex girlfriend's autistic brother to death. It's a senseless crime which shakes up his family (his self-absorbed, callous father is played by Kevin Spacey) and his small community, with nobody understanding why he did it. Awaiting trail, he is send to Juvenile Hall, where he starts to write about his life. His teacher (played by Don Cheadle), an aspiring writer befriends him and takes Leland under his wing. With in-dept conversations with the boy, he tries to understand what makes him tick, with the initial intention of hoping to revive his own career by writing a book.
The film is often moving, genuinely touching and above all - thought provoking. I don't want to give a great deal away but I will say that 'The United States Of Leland' is an overlooked gem in Ryan Gosling's filmography, even if it isn't quite as good as some of his more largely known movies.