Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Thumbsucker (Director: Mike Mills)

This is Mills's first recognizable movie. He did some music video work before this and his debut was something called Architecture of Reassurance. Written by Mills from the novel by Walter Kirn.

The coming-of-age picture often has, at its center, a character who is an outcast, and then goes through some dramatic change that makes that character popular but also turns that person into a complete jerk. So, it's all about finding balance in the end.

Justin (Lou Pucci) is a high school kid who still sucks his thumb--not in public, where in a mainstream movie there would be a ton of snickering popular kids making fun of him, but usually in the confines of his home or in the stalls of the school bathrooms. His main focus in school is Rebecca (the ferociously cute Kelli Garner), with whom he shares a debate class taught by Mr. Geary (Vince Vaughn in movie #4 this year). His parents Audrey (Tilda Swinton) and Mike (Vincent D'Onofrio) have tried many things to get him to stop sucking his thumb, including sending him to mystical dentist Perry Lyman (Keanu Reeves), who tries hypnosis. Hypnosis does work, but like a smoker who quits cigarettes cold turkey gets a little ansy and starts acting inappropriately, and he's soon diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Ritalin. With the drugs, Justin starts kicking ass in school, but of course, becomes a complete dick.

This is an amusing movie, above-average with some funny lines, including a great cameo from Benjamin Bratt as a TV star in rehab (he has two great lines in here that I will make mention of at the end of the year). Lou Pucci is a newcomer we should look out for. Keanu Reeves--we all know the mainstream critical stance on this guy--I've always thought he was a welcome presence in many movies but never a guy to be placed in Shakespeare (you know, like he was in Much Ado About Nothing), and in this small comedic role he is fun. Tilda Swinton does what Brits usually do--awesome acting. I thought this was a strange role for Vincent D'Onofrio, who is usually playing characters who have a boiling edge to them. Here, he's doing a straightforward role.

Like I said, this is amusing, and if you have the chance to see it, it will keep you interested for the most part.


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