IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY
SYNOPSIS: What’s a 16-year-old boy doing playing music and table tennis with adult psychiatric patients – on a school day? It’s kind of a funny story…“It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” adapted from Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel of the same name, is the new comedy-drama from acclaimed writer/directors Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden. It’s @5:00 AM on a Sunday in Brooklyn . Craig Gilner (played by Keir Gilchrist of “United States of Tara”) is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents (Lauren Graham [of “Parenthood”] and Jim Gaffigan [of “Away We Go”]) and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth ward is temporarily closed – so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis of “The Hangover”), soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts of the upcoming “Scream 4’), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoë Kravitz of the upcoming “Mad Max”). With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him by the adult ward’s staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis), Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.
REVIEW: It didn’t take very long for Craig (Keir Gilchrist) to feel a little foolish for checking himself into the psychiatric ward of Argenon Hospital. After practically arguing his way in, he was ready to get right back out when he found himself surrounded by less than glamorous accommodations and actual mentally unstable patients. Ah the teenage years, what a glorious part of one’s life. I’m sure that many of us at one point or another in our lives either would have wanted to check ourselves into a mental health hospital or would probably have needed to be admitted to one. But then again, like one of my favorite songs of all time says, “you’re never gonna survive, unless you get a little crazy” (Crazy by Seal). In this case, Craig, suffering from heavy depression and thoughts of suicide, actually takes action as a desperate measure to save himself from himself. It ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered. This movie is simple yet complex. It is compelling, moving, enlightening, deep and realistic. One of the lessons learned comes from a Bob Dylan lyric, “he not busy being born is busy dying”. So true and it makes you stop and think, doesn’t it? Along the same lines, another catch phrase that caught my attention during this flick was simply “just live”. Need I say more? As I mentioned before, this movie has depth but it is also funny and intelligent with a hint of romance and plenty of human drama. It is enjoyable to watch.
Besides the puzzling yet captivating offbeat story, this movie is blessed with some intriguing performances. You will see Zach Galifianakis in a completely different light than what you might be used to from him. You still get a taste of his typical comical kookiness, but this is a much more serious role for him and he nails it. He was an excellent choice for the part of Bobby, one of the patients. I had never seen Keir before but I won’t forget about him now. Playing the main character, Craig, must have been a challenge for him but not only did he do a fine job with the role, he carried the movie successfully, of course with some help from the supporting cast. His subdued demeanor and low key personality made the character that much more believable and lovable. The only thing that distracted me about him was that I kept thinking I was looking at a young Keanu Reeves. I don’t know, he kind of looks like him, right? Emma Roberts’ star is shining brighter and brighter as her career grows. Also well cast and giving a solid performance, I wanted more from her in this film. Emma and Keir complemented each other well. There is something about Viola Davis that impresses me every time I see her. She plays one of the lead psychiatrists of the ward and although her role is relatively small, she is potent and convincing. Another star of the movie, one that Priscilla enjoys, is the Brooklyn Bridge. We get some nice camera shots of her in all her glory. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck do a great job of showing us that mental patients are people too. They present an interesting insight on the essence of being human and of life through this crazy, feel good movie.
By Cine Marcos
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