Ten Thousand Saints

A freewheeling pot dealer (Ethan Hawke) abandons his wife (Julianne Nicholson) and two kids in Vermont to start a new family in New York City with the woman who’s carrying his baby (Emily Mortimer); a few years later he’s joined by his teenage son from the first marriage (Asa Butterfield), who runs wild with dad’s jaded stepdaughter (Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit). Writer-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor) adapted this drama from a hefty novel by Eleanor Henderson, and the film shows all the earmarks of a story too heavily compressed; the complications among the entwined families pile up after a while, and the period milieu—mid-80s Manhattan, amid the civic breakdown of the Koch years and the generational backlash of straight-edge punk—feels arbitrary. Hawke does his shaggy stoner bit as the father, though Steinfeld steals the movie as the haughty but vulnerable object of the son’s unspoken desire.