Friday, February 25, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

I had read the novel It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini last year and was really excited when I found out that there was a movie of it being made, so I chose to review the movie version. It's Kind of a Funny Story is about a boy named Craig (played by Keir Gilchrist) who is contemplating suicide. In a moment of panic over his thoughts, Craig goes to the hospital emergency room and accidentally checks himself into the adult psychiatric ward. He tells them he mistakenly checked in, but they tell him that he cannot leave for at least 5 days. While he's there, he meets the other 2 main characters of the movie, Bobby (played by Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (played by Emma Roberts), and forms friendships and bonds with each of them, and with the other patients in the ward.

Whenever you read a book and then watch the movie version, or vice versa, you are always going to compare them and decided which was better than the other. In this case, I definitely think the book was better than the movie, but I feel like that is going to be the conclusion in most book/movie comparison cases, so with that in mind, I would still say the movie was quite good. The book showed alot of the relationship between Craig and Noelle and I felt like the movie focused mostly on the relationship between Craig and Bobby. I think that Zach Galifianakis added alot to this movie, and it was a very different role than I'd ever seen him play. It was cool to see him play a bit more serious role than usual, but still put his quirky spin on Bobby. From reading the book, I think Zach fit the character of Bobby perfectly. I think that this movie is different from other movies in the, sort of, teen drama-comedy genre, because it takes a really serious subject (teen suicide) and puts a funny twist on it, and it makes it light hearted, while still have having serious moments where you sort of hold your breath because its a really intense, and you weren't really expecting it.

I think this movie is important and matters, because it discusses a really serious issue that most people don't talk that much about, but that needs to be talked about. The reason Craig got so deep into his depression and suicidal thoughts is because he didnt TALK to anyone about them. People tend to think that they are alone, that they are the only person who is feeling a certain way, and I think this movie did a great job of showing that, even though you feel alone, you are not, and there are other people who feel the way you do. I don't think, however, that the intended audience is only people who are depressed or suicidal or feeling alone, I think anyone could watch this movie and relate to it, or get something from it. For instance, in the movie, Craig seems to think he's figured out Bobby pretty well, that he knows what he's all about, but then he finds something out about Bobby that is completely unexpected, and it gives Craig insight as to why Bobby is the way he is. I think thats an important message that reoccurs in many movies: You never know what someone else is going through.

There were 2 weaknesses in this movie that bothered me a little. The first was this awkward pausing thing it did. It would pause on a frame and Craig would narrate a little, and then it'd unpause, but it happened on weird frames where like the actors face was blurred, or the whole thing was blurring... it just paused on awkward frames. I would have preferred if it froze on a really sharp image, when the character is making a face that really expresses their emotion or something. The second thing was that the time between him contemplating suicide and then being admitted was very short. He is on the Brooklyn bridge, about to jump, but then he says it was a dream, but then he is in the hospital all of a sudden.... it was just a very confusing beginning to the movie. I definitely don't think the movie went into how he ended up in the hospital enough. Other than those 2 small things, the rest of the movie was very strong in my opinion. I thought the cast was great. Its the best when you are watching a movie after having read the book version, and you go "That person is exactly how I imagined them!" and this movie definitely did that for me. The biggest strength I thought this movie had, was portraying it's overall message. I really took away from it the idea that no matter how alone or sad you feel, someone else out there feels just as alone and sad. And for every bad thing you are so focused on and upset over, there are 5 other good things to be happy about. The last line in the movie from Craig was a great one, so I wanted to share it:

"Okay, I know you're thinking, "What is this? Kid spends a few days in the hospital and all his problems are cured?" But I'm not. I know I'm not. I can tell this is just the beginning. I still need to face my homework, my school, my friends. My dad. But the difference between today and last Saturday is that for the first time in a while, I can look forward to the things I want to do in my life. Bike, eat, drink, talk. Ride the subway, read, read maps. Make maps, make art. Finish the Gates application. Tell my dad not to stress about it. Hug my mom. Kiss my little sister. Kiss my dad. Make out with Noelle. Make out with her more. Take her on a picnic. See a movie with her. See a movie with Aaron. Heck, see a movie with Nia. Have a party. Tell people my story. Volunteer at 3 North. Help people like Bobby. Like Muqtada. Like me. Draw more. Draw a person. Draw a naked person. Draw Noelle naked. Run, travel, swim, skip. Yeah, I know it's lame, but, whatever. Skip anyway. Breathe... Live."

After seeing this movie, I am thinking about reading the book again, just so I can fully compare the 2, since I read the book over a year ago. I will watch this movie again, I'm sure, and I definitely recommend that all of you watch it, too. It will not be a waste of your time :)

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