Monday, October 18, 2010

Movie with Abe: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Released October 8, 2010

Directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who helmed and wrote the stirring 2006 Ryan Gosling drama “Half Nelson,” are back with another impressive film. This time they're adapting a semi-autobiographical novel by Ned Vizzini, translating his brief experience in a mental institution into an entertaining and heartwarming film. The film jumps right into its storyline with a speedy introduction from main character Craig as his cry for help results in a mandated stay that begins to turn his life around as he meets people who might outwardly seem crazy but have something more to offer once he begins to get to know them.

Keir Gilchrist, whose credits up to this point are highlighted by his starring role on Showtime's “The United States of Tara,” is a talented young actor more than capable of carrying this comedy. His dry, witty narration works in concert with the tone of the film. He's surrounded by many showy performers, most notably the fantastic and funny Zach Galifianakis, perfectly cast as a fellow patient who quickly takes to Gilchrist's Craig. Emma Roberts, here playing Craig's spunky love interest, would be better suited taking on these roles in the future than getting lost in a mess like “Valentine's Day.” The entire ensemble, including such familiar faces as Jeremy Davis (“Lost”), Viola Davis (“Doubt”), and Lauren Graham, is in fine form, playing broken characters whose interactions are often touching and endearing.

Craig’s experience is not a normative one, and therefore it’s only fitting that the film should strive to match the peculiarity and wonder of this period of his life. The film is prone to imagined scenes where images and scenery come alive, and it feels more like an adventure than an ordinary drama. Its mental and visual tangents are reminiscent of a film like “The Science of Sleep,” where anything seems possible, even if it’s only in the mind of one character. Yet the film does stay firmly grounded in Craig’s perception of the world, allowing for nothing more than a peek into the psyches and worldviews of the other patients. That focus is important, and helps keep “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” on track and loyal to its title, so that it’s more than kind of a good story.


1 comment:

Jen said...

YAY I'm so glad you gave it a B+!!! (Because generally IF I even see a movie, it's one that you've hated.) I totally loved it--I think it's a cross between Garden State and Girl Interrupted :)