Going All the Way

Director: Mark Pellington
Screenwriters: Daniel Wakefield

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Mark Pellington’s adaptation of Dan Wakefield’s novel about a young man coming of age during the 1950s is a great example of the aesthetic imagination that independent filmmaking may elicit from innovative artists and storytellers. In his debut as a feature fillmmaker, Pellington reveals remarkable vision and creativity in constructing an elegant and elaborate tale about the return of two young Korean war veterans to their Indianapolis community.

Sonny (another wonderful performance by Jeremy Davies) is at a crossroads. His deeply religious, conservative parents; his old girlfriend, who is sweet, nice looking, and ready for marriage and a family; and the promise of a boring career at an insurance company are a combination driving him to the brink of despair. Even more significant is the sexual awakening, a lusting for fulfillment, that has seeped through the dam of repression which previously insulated and dulled his desires. Gunner (distinctively portrayed by Ben Affleck) is undergoing a very different but equally disruptive inner turmoil that has him questioning his former attitudes and relationships. As classmates, they hardly had anything to do with each other. But now, in a stifling climate produced both by the temperature and those values and attitudes which have ruled middle America for decades, the two young men share a restless affinity for searching out meaning and direction in their lives.

With wonderful fantasy sequences and one of the great masturbation scenes of all time, Going All the Way is thoroughly entertaining and emotionally resonant. Its fresh and original dramatization of personal growth and longing is a tribute to its talented creators.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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