The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


Based on Michael Chabon's influential novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh seductively captures that moment when getting derailed from complacency opens your mind to the endless possibilities life has to offer.

Set in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, the story chronicles the last true summer of Art Bechstein's youth. Stuck in a dead-end job working for his eccentric sometime-girlfriend, and forced into an endless series of airless dinners with his mobster father, Art begins to believe that perhaps he doesn't even exist at all.

What begins as a mundane summer is quickly interrupted when he encounters a beautiful debutante and her lusty boyfriend. Together they reveal a side of Art—and Pittsburgh—that he has never known. As the summer boils on and their adventures darken, Art decides to risk everything to preserve his newfound paradise: he thrusts himself headlong into the blurring boundaries of family, friendship, and love.

Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber and his immensely gifted cast bring Chabon's pages to life with passion, humor, and pathos, wholly capturing the joys and pains that come with encountering people who change your life forever. This movie, a stunning study of human interaction and liberation, is for anyone who has ever been rocked—for a moment or for a lifetime—by someone truly extraordinary.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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