Paul (Schneider) is quite the ladies' man, except that he's running out of ladies in the small North Carolina milltown that is the one thing he's never left. But when his buddy's sister Noel (the extraordinary Deschanel) comes home from boarding school, there's something about her which knocks him back. Could be this one's for keeps. It's simple enough in story terms, but writer/director David Gordon Green (in his follow-up to George Washington) isn't much interested in telling ir straight. Typically, he'll drop in to a scene halfway through, and cut out of it before there's any kind of resolution. The effect is of eavesdropping. You get glimpses of emotional exposure, and divine the rest for yourself. Sometimes the skewed heartland poetics veer towards the cute - cameraman Tim Orr never saw a sun ray he didn't like, and was it really necessary to make Paul's mom a clown? But in a sense even the mis-steps work in the film's favour. Like a vulnerable, ardent suitor, the clumsiness bespeaks its own sincerity. Of the all too few American independents to have emerged in the last decade (Harmony Korine, Vincent Gallo), Green looks like the guy most likely to put together a body of work. I think he's the real deal.