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Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
UK release date: 7 January 2010
UK release date: 8 October 2010
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis, Jeremy Davies

IMDB page

She said:

I had not seen a trailer for this film before I went to see it - I was simply drawn to it because it was set in a mental health hospital and starred Zach Galifianakis (I totally would, fyi). I was expecting something with an indie feel, something a bit quirky and with a bit of heart to it. This is exactly what I got. And to top it off the patients weren't all walking around in padded rooms wearing pyjamas! Huzzah!

This film is essentially a coming-of-age story about self discovery... the clever part was setting it in a psychiatric ward. Where better to learn that life isn't as tragic as it seemed then by being able to compare yourself to people who really are struggling? However by making this film a comedy drama I had concerns it would either trivialise mental health or else glamorize it. In fact it did neither - it struck a nice 'matter of fact' balance, which, as someone who works in a mental health setting, I really appreciated.

Despite a breakthrough performance by young star Keir Gilchrist (who played main character Craig) the star of the film is undoubtedly Zach Galifianakis who plays Bobby, a patient that befriends Craig when he comes into hospital. Bobby is a man who despite the optimism he hands out to others has almost given up on his own life, or at least accepted it the way it is. Kudos to Zach G. for taking on the task of playing such a complex character and still managing to make you leave with a smile rather than wanting to 'check in' yourself.

Overall I thought this was a nice, quirky little film. Perhaps it didn't change my life totally, but it did make me think, and let's be honest teen films don't often do that. By the way if you are wondering yes this is a book and on Amazon's "people who bought this also bought" there are two John Green books as well as 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' and 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'. I think that tells you much of what you need to know. I give this film {{{3.5 out of 5}}}

He said:
I really enjoy when a film tugs at my heart strings, for the most part I am not led blindly by my emotions like so many people I have known, but every once in a while I will come across a film of novel that pushes all the right buttons and manages to retrieve an emotion stronger than happy or annoyed.

Keir Gilchrist appears to be a very talented up and coming young actor and he proves in this film that he has the acting chops that so many child actors lack to make the successful jump to adult acting. As Helen says above Galifianakis steals nearly every scene he is in. At one point Helen turned to me during the film and said that she has added Mr Galifianakis to her Guilt Free three, thankfully to me my wife seems to be physically attracted to a body type that is exactly like my own.

The only issue I had with this film is how disingenuous Craig's family seem to be, at no point during the film was I convinced that the boys parents were at all concerned that their child had checked himself into a psych ward in a hospital because of his thoughts of suicide. If anything they appeared to be put out or annoyed that he was seeking attention. Though they were happy to visit him and lend him money. I give this film {{{3.5 out of 5}}}

They said: This is a film that is worth watching and may have otherwise gone underneath your radar. We give it [[[7 out of 10]]]

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How many films can you think of that are set in a mental health hospital?

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