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The Unbelievable Truth (1989)

Cast: Adrienne Shelly, Adrienne Shelly, Robert John Burke, more...
Director: Hal Hartley, Hal Hartley
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Olive Films
Genre: Comedies, Independent, Black Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English
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Writer-director Hal Hartley's first feature -- shot in less than 12 days in his backyard for a mere $200,000 -- is a dry and dark comedy about the dangerous undercurrents that exist below the surface of normal middle class existence. Over the credits, Josh (Robert Burke), a man garbed in black, is seen hitch-hiking back to his Long Island home. People ask him, "Are you a priest?" and Josh responds, "No. I'm a mechanic." Back in Long Island in the town of Lindenhurst, beautiful and somber 17-year-old Audry (Adrienne Shelly) is busy worrying about the forthcoming apocalypse. Josh arrives in Lindenhurst and is hired by Audry's father (Chris Cooke) as a mechanic at his garage. But Audry's father worries about him, particularly when he falls in love with Audry. Her father's problems compound when Audry dumps her old boyfriend and rejects an invitation to attend Harvard. The whole town is now gossiping about Audry's new boyfriend, with rumors spreading that Josh is a mass murderer who killed two members of the family of local waitress Pearl (Julia McNeal). Pearl tells Audry, "He seems like a nice man." Audry responds, "Even though he killed your father and your sister?" Audry finally makes her father happy when she tells him she won't see Josh again, but dad's relief is short-lived when Audry informs him she's moving to New York to become an underwear model. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Book of Life
About the only other Hartley flick out on DVD at the moment, this short but sweet end of the world comedy is also one of his best

Surviving Desire
Made for PBS, this romantic comedy is another must for Hartley fans

Shelley co-starred with future indie fave Billy Crudup in this art-house drama

GreenCine Member Reviews

Good Absurdist Film by MGallen January 28, 2012 - 8:52 PM PST
The Unbelievable Truth is a fun absurdist comedy by Hal Hartley. It relies less on the typical romantic comedy pratfalls than on bizarre dialogue and at times grim observations of its characters. Although the dialogue is at times stilted, it is well worth watching.

interesting and significant, though not my cup of tea by maritoni August 1, 2004 - 11:36 PM PDT
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful
appreciate the originality (at the time) of hartley's approach and it's not hard to see the influence hartley has had on indie filmmaking. the tone is quirky and self-important with lots and lots of dialogue (delivery of which feels deliberately whiny and hokily earnest), and not too much in the way of plot or action. worth a view if you are an indie film fan, just to know hartley's work. but i can't say i really enjoyed it.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.92)
115 Votes
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