“You’re about twenty-five years old, and you’re no more than, shall we say, intermittently employed, so you spend a great deal of time talking with friends about trivial things or about love affairs that ended or never quite happened; and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you fall into bed, or almost fall into bed and just enjoy the flirtation, with someone in the group.
“This chatty sitting around, with sex occasionally added, is not the sole subject of ‘mumblecore,’ a recent genre of micro-budget independent movies, but it’s a dominant one. Mumblecore movies are made by buddies, casual and serious lovers, and networks of friends, and they’re about college-educated men and women who aren’t driven by ideas or by passions or even by a desire to make their way in the world.
“Neither rebels nor bohemians, they remain stuck in a limbo of semi-genteel, moderately hip poverty, though some of the films end with a lurch into the working world.
“The actors (almost always nonprofessionals) rarely say what they mean; a lot of the time, they don’t know what they mean. The movies tell stories but they’re also a kind of lyrical documentary of American stasis and inarticulateness.” — New Yorker critic David Denby in an essay about “this low-key but cheering [cinematic] movement” in the current issue.