The United States of Leland

Synopsis: As a detached kid spends time in juvenile hall for the unspeakable murder of a special needs kid, a writer and the people around him try to comprehend and cope with his reasoning for commiting this murder from the writings in a classroom book from his juvenile class, where he tries to let people know "the why".
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Matthew Ryan Hoge
Production: Paramount Classics
  1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min


When I say I don't remember that day,

I'm not lying.

I wish I did,

but I just don't.

Sometimes the most

important stuff goes away.

It goes away so bad,

it's like it was never there to begin with.

It's funny,

the stuff that sticks in your head.

I could tell you forward and backward

about some day when I was five,

and my dad bought me

a stupid ice-cream cone.

I could tell you the

flavour of the ice cream...

Was... pink bubble gum.

...and even stuff about

the girl who scooped it out.

Her hair was fire red.

All that stuff is there like

it was happening right now, but...

I don't remember that day.

At least, not the stuff

that they want me to.

I remember it was the

first really hot day of spring.

I remember how the sun felt

on the back of my neck.

That's about it.

Here's another one

of those things that sticks.

This one is something

a friend of mine said to me.

"You have to believe that life is more

than the sum of its parts, kiddo. "

I remember it right

down to that "kiddo" part.

But when I think about what she said,

the same thing always comes into my head...

What if you can't put the pieces

together in the first place?

# And this I know,

his teeth as white as snow

# What a gas it was to see him

# Walk her every day,

into a shady place

# With lips, she said...


Just hold on one sec.

# Hey, Paul, hey, Paul, hey, Paul

Let's have a ball...

Come in.

- How are you, Beck?

- Good.

Yeah, you know, I'm pretty good.

I'm good.

Daddy, how are you?

Where's Ryan?

I was telling her the same thing

five minutes ago, Mrs Pollard.

I swear, it's like she doesn't

wanna listen to us.

I just don't think I sounded

as good as the other girls.

I think it's a good experience for you.

You've never done one of the musicals.

Yeah, well,

this is the first and the last.

I love your voice.

You'd say that if I sounded like

a harpy with throat cancer.

- You think it's bad?

- No.

Of course not.

# Stuck here out of gas

# Out here on the Gaza Strip...


Julie Pollard, Tim Wallace from the Drama

Department at Iowa. Just checking up on you.

Wondered if we can expect

to see you in the fall.

Give me a call here at the office.

I'll be in tomorrow.

You should call him,

let him know you settled on ASU.

- You did send your confirmation?

- I think I still have a few days.

Oh, Mom, the shop called.

They say you can pick up your car.

What's the damage?

- They didn't say on the machine.

- Oh, that's a great sign!


Slow down, Harry,

I can't understand you.


What happened?

No, I'll... I'll be right there.



Hi, Mommy.

Are you all right?


I think I made a mistake.

I can't imagine too many details

have been released...

...suspect's here.

Do they have any leads?

- Yeah?

- Are you watching the news, chief?

Er, yeah, you know I gotta stay

on top of the topical shit.

The TV boys say the

suspect is 16.

Ten bucks says the SFK winds

up here in your class tomorrow.

- Why would he be Special Handling? - You

can get by with a lot of shit in this world

but you can't stab a retarded

kid and not be Special Handling.

S.F.K. chief.

Sick Fucking Kid.

# Another one we

all walk away

# Never a dream your eyes,

wont you play

# Rhythm alone won't

hold me in mind

# Ooh want to set it all on fire

# Bury my feet in the

cold of a meadow

# Into the unknown

northern wind

# Dreams to ignite through

northern fields we'll fly

# Fly

# Don't tell me its all the

same in the middle

# So memory lie

outside your meadow

# Tow me around

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Matthew Ryan Hoge

Matthew Ryan Hoge (born 1974) is an American writer and film director, known for writing and directing The United States of Leland (2003). more…

All Matthew Ryan Hoge scripts | Matthew Ryan Hoge Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The United States of Leland" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <>.

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