Thursday, October 28, 2010
It's Kind of a Funny Story: It's kind of sweet
I didn't know much going in when I went to see this film. I wanted it that way. I find, too often, that I know way too much about a film before I even see it. I'm glad I had fresh eyes for this one. It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the story of 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist, looking a bit like a young Keanu Reeves) who suffers from depression and voluntarily checks himself into a psych ward in an involuntary kind of way. Before he knows it, he's locked up in the adult ward, due to renovations in the other ward. He just wanted some drugs to feel better and maybe stay a few hours, but soon realizes that he's there for a minimum of 5 days since he's suicidal. In the ward, he meets a cast of characters ranging from an Egyptian roommate who won't leave his room, a teen girl who cuts herself, a Hasidic Jew with uber-sensitive hearing, and of course his sort of mentor, Bobby, played with subtle charm and sorrow by Zach Galifianakis.
It's a coming-of-age tale set in one location but feels larger than that. Craig learns that his problems are not as bad as others, but they still need to be dealt with. His journey is relatable and connects to an audience, at least to me. The movie isn't laugh out loud slapstick funny. The humor comes from the characters being real and that's what makes this film likable. It doesn't talk down to us. I think the reason for that is the film is based on a true story, a memoir by Ned Vizzini who, as a teen, spent time in a psych ward.
Zach Galifianakis really does a great job with his role. He isn't his funny, over the top self. He's understated in a good way. He made me really believe that he's mentally ill, and filled with sadness, the kind that just won't ever go away no matter what the outside situation is. I felt for him, without feeling sorry for him.
It's a sweet, little film. Catch it in the theatres, if not then rent it one day. I think it's worth a look.