“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is a coming-of-age tale filled with comedy, sadness, revelation and utter delight. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s best-selling novel is absolutely brilliant. The movie is entertaining in every sense of the word: it’s funny, moving and inspirational. It is a must-see movie.
The story begins in a dream, where Craig (Keir Gilchrist), the 16-year-old depressed teenage protagonist, contemplates jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, plummeting to his death.
He feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. Typical teenage problems like a distant father, controlling mother, school woes, anxiety about college and the future and trouble with girls bring on Craig’s depression and suicidal thoughts.
Realizing his problem, Craig checks himself into a mental hospital at 5 a.m. on a Sunday. Craig believes that this place will give him the “quick fix” he needs.
Due to renovations in the teen psychiatric ward, the teens are mixed together with the adults. Not before long, Craig realizes he is with patients with far worse troubles then his own, and wants to go home. But little does he know that the next five days of his life will change him forever.
Keir Gilchrist’s performance is one of the film’s best. From the moment the movie starts, the young and likeable Gilchrist makes you care deeply about Craig’s future and makes the character much more relatable.
One of the film’s best scenes is a musical interlude in which Craig and the rest of the ward sing Queen’s “Under Pressure.” The scene’s clever use of the song as an accompaniment to the musical stylings of mental patients is particularly entertaining.
Gilchrist is fanatic and mesmerizing. It’s a fantastic song, and a perfect pick for this movie’s core themes. Gilchrist’s portrayal of a confused, soft-toned, average teenager is absolute genius.
Further into the movie, Craig becomes friends with Bobby (Zack Galifianakis). Bobby is somewhat of a mentor to Craig and helps him on his journey to understand that he isn’t so screwed up after all.
Galifianakis is best known for his performance in the smash hit “The Hangover.” However, this new role takes a much darker and serious undertone. In “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” Galifianakis’ performance is absolutely amazing in this film. He is able to bring both his signature comedic style and unexpected dramatic depth to his character and to the movie.
Galifianakis’ strongest scene has to be when he flies into a rage after thinking he’d blown an interview for placement in a group home, which he desperately needs if he ever wants to see his daughter again. Craig is in the multi-purpose room when Bobby walks in and screams into a pillow and then calmly walks to the book shelf and starts violently throwing objects around, before being taken away by the ward staff. This scene was so powerful because it invoked so much emotion and showed a side of Galifianakis we have not seen before.
In his time at the ward, it’s not long before Craig starts to fall for Noelle (Emma Roberts), a teenager with a cutting problem. Noelle is a shining beacon of light for Craig and makes his life seem more liveable. Both Noelle and Bobby help Craig in many ways with various adventures and activities. With the five days in the ward, Craig learns more about life, love, friendship and the pressures of growing up.
Overall, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is like “Girl, Interrupted” meets “The Breakfast Club,” with a dash of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The film has a random quality about it. But in reality, the randomness and every event in the movie help the plot move along. Every moment helps this young, confused, lost teen on a path of not being so lost after all.
This movie was a great watch and invoked feelings of joy, laughter and sadness. The performances of Gilchrist, Roberts and Galifianakis are absolutely astonishing.
This film melds elements of drama and comedy seamlessly together to create a must-see film. In short, it’s kind of an awesome movie.
Rating: 5 out of 5