|Igby Goes Down (Dol) [VHS]
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Many movies strive to capture the confused, yearning spirit of The Graduate or The Catcher in the Rye; Igby Goes Down succeeds. Igby (Kieran Culkin) is a teen struggling to find any purpose or meaning to his life; surrounding him are his tyrant mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon), schizophrenic father Jason (Bill Pullman), wealthy and deceitful godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum), and cold brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe)--all of whom have their own problems. While evading being sent to yet another boarding school, Igby seeks solace with two women: Rachel (Amanda Peet), a drug-addicted dancer who's D.H.'s mistress, and Sookie (Claire Danes), a college student who becomes perhaps his only friend. Culkin carries the film, ably supported by the superb cast; script, direction, and performances are razor sharp. Igby Goes Down doesn't let anyone--including Igby--off the hook for their cruelty, hypocrisy, or lack of empathy. --Bret Fetzer
A stunning ensemble of stars, including Kieran Culkin (The Cider House Rules), Claire Danes,Jeff Goldblum, Jared Harris, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillippe, Bill Pullman and Academy Award? winner* Susan Sarandon, illuminate this "scathingly funny" (Elle) dark comedy. Acclaimed byaudiences and packing "an emotional wallop" (The New York Times) this "perfectly cast, perfectly written [movie is] the best coming-of-age film since The Graduate" (CNN)! 17-year-old rich kid Igby Slocumb is a rebel with a cause: to break free from his pill-popping mother, his schizophrenic dad and his fascist brother. Seduced by sexy older women and subverted by family andfriends, the ever-resilient, witty and inventive Igby is determined to keep upno matter what goes down. *1995: Actress, Dead Man Walking
- Youth Is Wasted On The Young
If only I had the words to describe what this films means to me right now at this moment in time. You can read all the other reviews regarding this film's parallelism to Catcher In The Rye, and whether or not Culkin's performance was great or not, and if Burr's writing and direction were spot on or a complete miss. Read some of the reviews discussing how self-conscious this film was with such self-conscious big words.
This film pushed me to do something and be something more, and that's a complement to those who created it, and this is my thank you to them....more info
- realistic, emotional, brilliant!
When I first saw this movie I knew that it was one that I was able to relate to - Igby's struggle of not wanting to be a part of a government that has failed him and the few people he cares able. It's surprising to me that the people I know who have seen this movie have not been able to relate to it even though they seem to come from simular lives. I guess not many people are able to understand and relate to this movie so well....more info
- IGBY'S A BORE
Simply put, IGBY GOES DOWN just didn't work for me. The characters were one-dimensional and unconvincing and the plot fell short. While striving to be a dark comedy about an affluent Manhattan adolescent boy searching to understand the meaning of life amongst his dysfunctional family members, I quickly became bored and uninterested. I was disappointed that Igby's motivations were never explored or even hinted at. He simply appeared to be just another rich kid rebelling against society. While the cast of this film is impressive, only the father (Bill Pullman) provided an exceptional performance as the mentally ill father. Otherwise I failed to feel any sympathy for the others and didn't care what happened to them.
Maybe I just don't get it? Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind when I watched this film? Nobody knows. What I can say with any assurance is that I had high expectations for IGBY GOES DOWN....more info
- Bloody Brilliant
The fact that the reviews of this DVD are so varied makes me love it even more. It is aloof and heartbreaking and witty and dark. If you liked Catcher In The Rye and The Graduate you have to see this film and then decide for yourself if it is the worst movie ever or the second coming. I loved every minute of it. The performances are sterling and the dialouge will have you reaching for a pen and paper ever other scene. Amanda should have gotten an Oscar nomination and for that unexpected thing alone, it is a great....more info
- Igby Goes Right (or, Don't Listen To The Critics)
I'm glad I don't listen to critics. Had I read the generally poor reviews for this movie before watching...well, I wouldn't have watched, most likely. It would have been my loss. Some critics called it derivative of Catcher In The Rye. Well, lots of movies are derivative of lots of things. Why screenwriter Burr Steers got slammed so hard in an industry that swims in derivation is strange to me.
The film has also been criticized because the title character, played by Kieran Culkin, is snotty and a brat. Yes he is, if you don't look closely. But Culkin's performance is such that we feel the soft inner core of Igby more than we do the faux exterior brat. Ditto for his partner-in-crime older friend/lover Sookie, played to perfection by an actress I'm growing more enamored over every day, Claire Danes.
She more than holds her own in stallar company. Everyone plays their parts as though they were born to them: Ryan Phillippe has the perfect prep-school east-coast snobbery; Amanda Peet is spot-on as the drugged-out, anorexic trendy babe; Susan Sarandon is the cold, controlling mother; Bill Pullman the broken-down, shadow-of-his-former-self father; Jeff Goldblum the shallow, oily scumbag godfather, and Jared Harris is the flaming Russell.
I'm generally not a big fan of ensemble casts of eccentric, grating characters in New York or LA, but somehow I loved these messed-up narcissists. Unlike those who found the film's tone snide and the characters completely unsympathetic, I found (many of) them likeable in their own twisted way. The New Yorker critic above states that the film doesn't have nuanced characters and thus lacks genuine impact, but I'd submit that it does, if you watch closely. For just two moments, watch Igby when Ollie tells him the doctors have "found another lump." He shouts "good!" but his look betrays a deeper reaction. Also note the attempts at the very end of Mimi to come to some sort of terms with Igby, how she tries to give him a little affection in her final moments of life, and how he rebuffs her--until she's dead. It's very haunting and a little bit frightening, honestly. Anybody who thinks Igby is just a sniveling adolescent isn't watching this film very well.
Director Steers--who is surefooted and focused in his big-screen debut--is always finding interesting things for his characters to do on screen--they constantly move about the frame, they fidget, they smoke, they play with their hair, they gulp wine without really tasting it. Perhaps most amazingly, nobody in this movie has any sort of insight into anything, yet somehow *we* get insight--into their world, into the concepts of money and privilege, into class differences, into the insecurities and confusions of youth. The scenes where Igby and Sookie bond, only for Sookie to go off with Igby's hated "fascist" brother, are beautifully done by Culkin and Danes--and hurt to the bone. It, along with many other moments in this film (Pullman's breakdown in the shower, the final farewell between the brothers, and the remarkable, wordless scene where Rachel preps for her final meeting with DH, artfully hiding a shiner with makeup) make this movie something far beyond a sniveling and snotty comedy that most critics passed it off as. Maybe you won't learn the meaning of life--yes, the main point of the movie is that most people--even those who seem different in the beginning--are shallow shells who care more about their outward appearance than about anything that could pass for the faint glimmer of a soul. But while not an original observation, it sure is a true one. And I can name other films that don't have the same burden of originality placed so heavily upon them by critics.
Originally I had the minor complaint that Mimi, the mother, wasn't mean enough, and wondered why one particularly biting scene was cut from the final film. (It's available on the supplements.) A commentary track for the outtakes--rare in itself--explains the reason for the cuts. They were legal rather than artistic, and it's sad that they had to be made.
Ignore the nay-sayer critics, and enjoy this gutsy movie. It's sad, funny, happy, filled with pathos, love and hate, all at the same time, and with a stylish look and, for once, a soundtrack of pop songs that actually works. (The original scoring, by Uwe Fahrenkrog Petersen, is also quite good and very effective.) DVD extras include a making-of documentary that's lots of fun, outtakes, commentary by Steers and Culkin (I would like to have heard from the rest of the cast as well), and the theatrical trailer. For me, this is more than a rental. It's a must-own, an original work in a sea of copycat films that for some reason get more accolades and attention....more info
- Not too bad
Not a bad film. Not too bad at all. I'm not really interested in writing a review at this moment. Deal with it....more info
- I didn't like it
I was really disappointed in the movie. The trailers made it look like this kid was going to be really different and alternative, but he seemed just kind of annoyed but not that amazing. I thought it was stupid....more info
- Painfully funny and honest
Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin) is a rebellious seventeen year old who dreams of getting as far away from his crazy family as he can. Haunted by his father Jason (Bill Pullman)'s breakdown when he was little Igby lashes out at his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) who is constantly putting her husband down. Mimi dotes on Igby's older brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) who is being molded in her image which causes resentment between him and Igby. Igby is constantly mouthing off which has resulted in his expulsion from numerous schools. His mother, in a last ditch effort to straighten Igby out, enrolls him in a military academy. Ingenious Igby finds a way to misbehave there as well and at the first chance he gets he escapes and hightails it to Manhattan where his rich godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum) lives. D.H. offers Igby a job for the summer and Igby meets Rachel (Amanda Peet) who is D.H.'s mistress. She rents a loft from D.H. and Igby asks if he can hide out there. Rachel hesitantly agrees as long as he takes the proper precautions to insure that D.H. will never know about it. Now that Igby is amongst the rich and privileged he attends his first Hamptons party where he meets Sookie (Claire Danes). Igby teases her about her name but Sookie doesn't seem to mind. Something about Igby interests her and the two start hanging out and getting to know each other. Sookie wants to know why Igby is so mad at his family and what he plans on doing with his life. After much playful teasing and Igby's sarcastic answers he opens up to Sookie and tells her that he is scared of being alone and that he wants someone to go with him. The two begin a romance that is very sweet to watch thanks to the brilliant acting of Culkin and Danes. With a spacious loft and a hot girl to take there things are looking up for Igby. Igby's family eventually spoil things for him once again. Rachel o.d.'s at D.H.'s loft and in the process of getting her to the hospital D.H. learns that Igby has been staying there. The next day Oliver pays Igby a visit and informs him that their mother is dying of cancer. While Oliver is in Manhattan he meets Sookie and he tells her what Igby won't about their childhood and their father's illness. Sookie falls for him which gives Igby further reason to hate his brother. All alone and with no place to go Igby has to find the strength in himself to forgive his family and move on with his life. Igby Goes Down is very similar to many a teen film that has come before it most notably the Graduate or Garden State but what makes this film stand apart is its brilliant writing and sensitive portrayals of the characters. The film is full of wicked laughs courtesy of Igby who uses his sarcasm as a shield against others and who can always be counted on for coming up with a funny put down. Balancing out the humor are very emotional and sensitive scenes that deal with the effects that a serious illness has on a family. In the last act of the film Igby pays a visit to both his dying mother and his institutionalized father and the scenes are heartbreaking to watch. Even if a film tells a familiar story it can still be something special if it is done well and Igby Goes Down is proof of that....more info
- 3-1/2 stars: not incredible, but not bad
Like Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye," this film is a study in upper class interpersonal dysfunctionality. However, set in contemporary times and in cinematic rather than book format, it doesn't quite pack the same unified wallop of the novel.
Part of the reason why is because this film demands several sizable suspensions of disbelief, namely in the central anti-hero's sexual accomplishments with two women who are way way out of his league: Amanda Peet, playing a heroin-junkie of a paid girlfriend to his godfather, and Claire Danes, as a hilariously pretentious but overall decent JAP. Besides severly testing the viewer's credulity, this also contradicts one of Holden Caulfield's most poignant traits: his total ineptitude with the fairer sex. In fact, Igby's resemblance to Holden mainly lies in his getting kicked out of one private school after another, occasional attempts at fibbing, occasional bouts of profanity, and serving as human punching bag on more than one occasion (the martyr complex).
Kieran Culkin is a fine actor, but the script makes him into too much of a conventional hero rather than the prickly anti-hero of Salinger's novel. The film is saved however by solid performances from the strong cast, especially Jeff Goldblum and Susan Sarandon, and many witty and well-written bits of dialogue. I especially enjoyed Igby's explanation of the word "vegetarian" as a character description.
Lastly, one of the many pleasures of Salinger's novel is its totally open-ended, unresolved ending---in contrast to this film's quasi deus-ex-machina which provides for a bit more high drama bordering on tragedy and ties up too many loose ends.
Anybody else smell a focus group at work here?...more info
- Igby Goes Up
Kieran Culkin has come a long way since his debut as the boy who wets his bed on "Home Alone". His Golden Globe nominated role on "Igby Goes Down" is the perfect movie to express that. It has many daring scenes that explore what few other producers dare. One must respect them for taking that big risk. Its creativity keeps the audience's eyes wide open curious to what happens next. Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillippe, Amanda Peet, and Claire Danes add depth to the scenes with their wonderful acting.
Igby, an almost adult, is tired of living with his mother. He leaves home soon before she discovers that she's dying of cancer. She thinks Igby is in a boarding school when actually, he's living in an apartment with a woman he's met a few times. His relationships with women and his living harshness add to the movie's climax giving a shocking conclusion. Some must watch it twice to fully understand the movie, but in the end, the audience will be happy....more info
- Dont listen to the bad reviews
This movie was wonderful. I truly enjoyed it, the acting was superb, the script was wonderful. It all fit together wonderfully. It had been months since i'd seen a good movie and i was starting to wonder when i'd finally see a good movie again, Igby Goes Down fufilled all my expectations. I loved Igby's dark humor, but then again i have a very dark sense of humor so this movie really aligned with me. But i really reccomend anyone looking for a dark comedy, or just a good movie....more info
It's not that I can't see good in this movie...I can understand why so many people like it. I, however, found it very hard to watch--it was like a chore, and by the end I felt wrung out. It's not that I am not a fan of depressing films--I am. I've seen my share of Requiem and other such movies. This time, however, I just couldn't take it. The characters were intresting--well, mainly Igby. Claire Danes portrayed the typical cool, jaded, older college girl that is seen in so many films nowadays--you know, the character who always has an answer for everything, who never hesitates or slips up. Oh, and is it me or does Ryan Phillipe play the EXACT SAME CHARACTER in every movie he is in? Deju vu... Anyway, Igby was precocious and funny and carried the movie well (or as well as he could). Otherwise, it was a long hard journey that tried to be unique and original but was full of cliches. It was not without its moments but they were not enough to make up for the struggle it put me through. Bottom line: enjoyable for some, but not for everyone....more info
- Interesting Character Driven Movie that's worth the watch
Just relax and watch Igby wander among his rich East Coast family. Can Igby contain his anger and get his life straightened out before he implodes or is murdered by his relatives? He has plenty of reasons to be angry, and cynical, and depressed - dying mother, crazy father, perfect older brother - but somehow he has to find his way in the world. His relatives have plenty of reasons to want to kill him too - he's an irresponsible, angry, smart mouthed, punk kid. In short, a real teenager. I enjoyed this portrayal of a young man growing up in rich, confusing, hypocritical society. All the actors gave fine performances and seem to enjoy their roles. Amanda Peet's artist/junky was especially good. I won't make great claims for this movie but I liked it....more info
- The Best Movie that I have ever seen!
This movie is great, I can't believe that everyone I talk to hasn't watched it already. The movie is just so moving, and has some very funny parts in it. This is a must watch, and must buy!...more info
- "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."
This movie blew me away like few that I've seen, and can easily list: Lone Star, Almost Famous, Grand Canyon, Europa Europa, and maybe one or two others.
For me, a great movie is one that teaches me something profound about the world that I didn't know before, and might not have learned otherwise. This is that kind of movie, though as other reviews make obvious, it isn't a movie for everyone.
Don't read the back of the box. Don't look at the cast list. Don't scan the rest of the video shelves looking for something better. Take a chance. Get it. Watch it....more info
This movie starts out good till about 1/2 way through when you stop believing it. All the actors are cast in roles that they always seem to play. I don't know, its good but really 1/2 way through it starts to suck, sound track in all. But its got an interesting plot. I'd rent this film first maybe, see if you like it....more info
- An under rated gem. Igby goes along way in my books.
Kieran Culkin seems typecasted to play snotty brats, but in this movie it pays off as Kieran gives an excellant performance along with the rest of the cast(and shows excellent future potential). Excellent, cold chilling performances are given by Goldblum, Ryan Phillipe, Sarandon, & Amanda Peet. While Pullman & Clare Danes give performances of a warmer nature that help add a vital element of sympathy to the tale.
Many people seem to have written off "Igby Goes Down" for an odd intense dislike of the characters portrayed. While some of the characters aren't the most likeable people, they never were meant to be, the movie isn't meant to be some perky teen drama filled with lucky how to do characters, its meant to show some more of the cold, intense and disturbing characters you'll find in real life walking down the street.
Igby maybe not be the perfect person, he's just a character trying to find his way in an also imperfect world.
The movie also does a bit of genre bending, although probably best considered a drama meets black comedy. The dialouge is razor sharp, the characters (while not always likeable) are interesting in their own ways, and oddly enough I find the overall theme oddly comforting. A "at some point, whats real will shine though" moral to end the film.
A personal favorite, worth 6 stars....more info
- One of my favs.
I love this movie. I had it stolen and had to purchase it again because I was sad without it....more info
- Funny, but heartbreaking at the same time
Watching this movie, I found it to be really disjointed, with sometimes mis-matched & unrelated scenes. However, that's the good thing about the movie. It's not trying to be anything superficial, or an unreal look at a teenager's life. It's telling it honestly as it possibly can, and if it doesn't make sense, then you obviously don't understand the movie.
I've never really seen Kieran Culkin as an adult in films, so I hope this means he's finally coming out of his brother's shadow. (Look out for another Culkin brother, Rory, as a young Igby, in terrifying scenes, watching as his father's schizophrenia slowly took over. Exactly how many of these kids are there, running around? Macaulay, Rory, Quinn, Christian, Shane and Dakota. Anymore we should know about?!). I've seen him as a younger actor in films like She's All That, Father Of The Bride 1 & 2, and Home Alone 1 & 2. His character, Igby, is very hard to like and understand, but little clues are scattered throughout the movie - his father's schizophrenia is obviously deep rooted, and he's scared of ending up the same; his mother (played magnificently by Susan Sarandon) never really showed him any love, is self absorbed, and favoured his older brother (Ryan Phillippe, in a role similar to the one in Cruel Intentions), and also Jeff Goldblum, as his phony godfather. Cover your eyes when Igby walks into the room and sees Jeff Goldblum in his y-fronts: that image is burned into my mind now, along with Ozzy chasing a burglar naked. The degeneration of Amanda Peet's character is almost painful to watch.
I've read some reviews that compare this to Catcher In The Rye, which I've never read, but I'm curious, but probably not that curious. It was always one of the recommended books at school, but I never got round to it I guess.
There's probably a few things I'll never understand about this movie, particularly why Igby takes his mother's pills, apart from the fact to annoy her. Or why Ryan Phillippe drinks scotch. Or why they decide to kill off the mother, because of what sounded like snoring! Or the scene with the two schoolgirls fighting. What the hell was that all about? And seeing Jeff Goldblum with his trousers around his ankles was necessary to the storyline why?! I think my poor eyes could have handled his shirt off, but that was too far.
This film is depicted as being a comedy (the only bit I laughed at was Igby getting hit on the head by a key), but it's emotionally charged, and will definitely leave an invisible mark on you for hours after watching it. ...more info
- Martin Kosztowski
This movie goes on my list of all-time favorites. The ideology of the character is very similar to that of Holden from Catcher in the Rye, but this movie still maintains its uniqueness. The main character is born into a world of privilege, but he is afraid to walk the path to success that has been laid for him because of his father's mental breakdown. Rather than allow himself to eventually become like his father, he decides to rebel by quiting school, sleeping with older women, and taking drugs. This movie is fantastic and I highly recommend it. ...more info
- Fascinating portrait of a horrifying society
Igby is a thorougly disagreeable 16-year old with way too much money, surrounded by thoroughly disagreeable parents and caretakers, so it is perhaps understandable that he drops out to live with (and sleep with) his godfather's drug-addict mistress and takes a job delivering drugs for her flamboyantly feminine dealer-boyfriend (a viciously homophobic stereotype who seems to be straight). The only aspect of the adult society that he approves of is heteronormativity, which is fortunate because every woman in the movie is desperate to engage in statutory rape with him (but they always dump him for older/more powerful men.
A fascinating portrait of a horrifyingly amoral, soulless society, which characters whom you can't help despising. No one ever feels anything. Even godfather Jeff Goldblum, who offers pats on the back and summer job one moment and beats Igby to a pulp the next, feels neither love nor hate. It would get five stars, but the heteronormativity is extremely offensive....more info
- A small work of genius
One of the most intelligent analyses of upper-middle class life I have ever seen - dark, funny, beautifully scripted, and above all TRUE....more info
- It would have been better with Macaulay Culkin
I thought this movie was very quirky and sad. But I also thought there were some parts that were very confusing and discraseful. Like the scene where Igby'S (Kieran Culkin) godfather beats the [...] out of him. And I also thought that it was so sad when Igby's mother (Susan Sarandon) dies. So I guess the film wasn't so bad. But I still think the movie would have been a hit with Macaulay Culkin. ...more info
- Considerable style, but no center.
I couldn't plug into "Igby Goes Down." I tried and failed. Ultimately, Burr Steers' movie is intended to be some sort of hip comedy -- the ribald music sountrack would clue you into that -- and I didn't laugh. The humor, however black, is the entry point into this movie through which you reach the deeper, sadder veins. That way, you can see Igby the way Steers does, as troubled but brave, and brazen, as a kid jerk trying to keep his head above the fray by his wits and fears.
Because I snuck in the back door, so to speak, I found Igby depressing and his sophiscation juvenile. I was like the shrink in the movie's opening scenes, who smacks Igby upside the head. You can't really like a movie that's this frustrating, can you?
The movie's opening half hour, I have to admit, put me in a foul mood with all its itty bitty scenes and tonal shifts. Steers takes a long time to settle down, and by then, I've had it....more info
- Kieran Culkin gets his day.
When I started to watch this, I immediately compared Igby to Holden, there were similarities that I couldn't dismiss. However as I came to the end, Holden was nowhere in my mind, only Igby and his incredibly touching presence throughout this story. Kieran Culkin brought Igby to life in so many detailed ways, he made Igby more clever than I think even the director imagined him to be. What a pretty picture he painted, leaving me wanting more but being satisfied that I got to be a part of his life, even if it was only for a couple of hours. Those hours were golden. Pete Yorn's "Murray" is played as the end credits rolled. What an amazing surprise. Amazing song to end an amazing movie....more info
- 2.5 Stars. It was okay.
This movie had a lot of potential to be a good movie, and actually it wasn't bad. Don't over-analyze character development and all that like the rest of the critics. This movie is designed for a very specific audience. Those who are 15 - 25, bored with their life, and afraid of their uncertain futures.
Even within this target audience, the movie has it's misgivings. The problems with this movie center around the main character Igby, which isn't good.
Kieran Culkin was not a good actor. I could accept him for most of the film, but in the final scenes of emotional release, his feeble acting job didn't quite bring the anguish his character should have been feeling.
Aside from the acting, the film also had some pretty weak dialogue. I get the impression that Igby's jokes were a little too pseudo-intellectual for me, I just didn't get the humour.
Overall, the film comes off as someone's life story, that while honest, wasn't interesting enough, so it got butchered by a screenwriter until plausibility was lost. This still would have made a decent movie if the lead actor could show more believable emotion in the very few scenes that required it.
I think this film is for younger kids who can probably connect more with lonliness and emotional voids in their family relationships. To the rest of us, this film while moderately entertaining, is an average comedy/drama movie in every way....more info
- Poor Igby
Looking back, it seems American indie filmmakers in the late 90's, early millenial were just crawling over each other to find a way of representing the more dysfunctional family. Igby Goes Down is a good movie, and has its exceptional moments, but time is already starting to drag on this one.
Igby is rich, he keeps getting kicked out of school, his father is insane, he hates his mother, his brother is a "Young Republican", his Godfather is Jeff Goldblum, and he just is feeling so darned existential all the time. He runs around New York being phony (hence the thousands of people comparing him to Holden Caulfield), attends parties in which he feels alienated (hence the thousands of people comparing him to Ben Braddock), and purposefully attempts to make things awkward to get the attention of his mother (hence my comparing him to Harold Chasen). He's also a teenager's wish fulfillment fantasy as he manages to sleep with hot women who are either not concerned with having a relationship or pleasantly reject him so that he can feel more alienated, run around New York being gloomy and hep, and, well, get his parents out of the way from time to time.
Hey, I'm not complaining: all of that is good justification for watching this movie. However, not all of it was all that great. One of the things that kind of ruined it for me was the character Sookie's relationship with Igby and his brother. Now, I'm sorry, but who starts relationships with two brothers based entirely on their bemoaning hatred of their mother? Really, who does that? "Oh, give me more of that angry childhood trauma, baby, you talk so sexy..."
Nonetheless, most of the beginning is funny, the scene that bookmarks the movie is really cool, and its episodic structure helps it keep moving (this movie is kind of like the weather: if you don't like the scene, it will probably soon change).
Anyway, cute film.
- Brilliant Dark Comedy
"Igby Goes Down" is one of the most intelligent and inventive films in recent years and certainly a surprising accomplishment for the typically formulaic American movie industry. As a dark comedy and a social commentary, the genius behind this film ranks it with other notables such as "Magnolia", "Rushmore", "American Beauty", and "Y Tu Mama Tambien". While Igby features an all-star cast including Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillipe, Bill Pullman, and Susan Sarandon, their celebrity personae are thankfully overshadowed by the quality of the story and its characters. In subsequent interviews that are available on the DVD, many of the actors stated that they were so impressed with the screenplay (written by director Burr Steers) that they were willing to work in a low budget film for a fraction of their normally astronomical wages. As a result, the viewer is rewarded with a kind of performance integrity that is hard to find in normal Hollywood films. The actors really want to act, not simply to be their public selves on screen.
The story begins with two brothers, Oliver (Phillippe), and Igby (Culkin) Slocum suffocating their mother, Mimi (Sarandon) to death. It then backtracks to show us the tortured world of the Slocum family and the strange but radically different paths with which the brothers respond to it. Mimi Slocum is a despotic and dysfunctional mother who is prone to violent fits while her husband Jason (Pullman) is a schizophrenic. From an early age, Oliver internalizes whatever pain and anger he feels toward his family situation and becomes a highly accomplished student, dutiful family member, and a faithful employee. In fact, Oliver evolves into such an intense conformist that the only thing that makes him likable is the sense that on some level his life is a sick parody of itself even if he doesn't fully realize it.
Not so for Igby who contrasts Oliver's stellar behavior by becoming the family's problem child. Kicked out of one private school after another and finally "on the lam" as he puts it, Igby plunges into a series of increasingly outrageous situations and delivers some of the wittiest lines of the film. Brilliant, vulnerable, chaotic, and self-destructive, Igby is hardly self-deluded and is certainly no weakling. The fact that Igby is fully aware of who and what he is prevents even the most tragic and difficult parts of this film from being manipulative. Igby never allows himself to hide behind pity, sentimentality or false bravado, and as a result, he prevents the audience from doing this as well. We're stuck with Igby on his crazy ride and we're forced to view the world with his wit and honesty.
Much of the communication in this film is handled with a subtlety that is almost fragile. While Mimi remains a poisonous matriarch from start to finish, she displays incredible moments of humanity with little more than a slight change of expression. Where one might think that with all of his condescension and indifference, Oliver must really hate Igby, this is hardly the case. There is tenderness there, but Oliver has managed to bury it beneath his well-crafted layers of conformity, that he's not about to dismantle as part of some idiotic emotional denouement. And even Igby's suave and sometimes brutal god father D.H. is not as simple as he seems.
For a film of ideas, sarcasm, and gut-wrenching emotion, "Igby Goes Down" is an amazingly smooth experience that can be enjoyed on several levels. I loved this film for its intelligence, its uniqueness, its thought provoking concepts and the wonderful quality of acting....more info
- Would give it 10 stars!!!!!
As a person who shares similar lost hope for this world we live in, I found this movie to be incredibly well done. Forget the stupid and idiotic reasons people gave for handing this movie less than 5 stars, the movie captures it's fair share of genres including, romance, drama, and yes comedy. Did the director or screenwriters try and poke fun at certain touchy subjects like breast cancer, perhaps but inadvertently so. It's a dark comedy in some aspects, certainly a coming of age piece and yet I found myself drawn to Igby. Brash and immature yes, yet his sharp wit reminded me of myself, his nasty older brother played by the acting genious or Ryan Phillipe, reminded me of the snobby private school types with lots of money whom which I unfortunately had the fate of going to school with, and don't forget Claire Danes in this bubbly performance, she takes your breath away with her beauty and grace. The movie can relate to many people who have struggled to find themselves among the everybodys. It may not be for heroine addicts however.... If you can find a trailer online watch it, then decide whether it's worth the rent or purchase, which in my case both were done. Thanks for reading
- Surprisingly Good
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, probably because I hadn't even heard of it until it was old enough to be on TV. I honestly wasn't expecting much...But now this really is one of my favorite movies. It's smart, funny, and actually portrays the dynamics of a dysfunctional family in a way that isn't cheezy, sappy, or overly cynical. Igby is obviously a take on Holden Caulfield, but I think it's a well-done take. There are similarities to The Catcher in the Rye (like Igby's "I hate phonies" attitude and how he's kicked out of multiple fancy schools), but this film has its own charm, too. You can't go wrong with such a great cast, quirky characters, and dialogue like this:
Sookie: You call your mother "Mimi?"
Igby: "Heinous One" is a bit cumbersome.
Igby: And Medea was taken. ...more info
- Smart and funny
If this movie was not made as a dark comedy, it would definitely be a great film noir. Story about the upper class New York family full of its own skeletons in the closet. This disfynctional family consists of pill popping mom, schizophrenic father, opportunistic older brother and idealist main character Igby (his nickname that everyone seems to love) having difficult time to fit in. It is a story of absurd life and party of the rich New York crowd where money cannot buy happiness but it surely makes life so much easier. Middle aged man have enough to cover for the regular wife, ex-lover's child's private school, current kept woman's appartment and well being -- and run a successful business on top of it all. Women are shared and passed on between friends and lovers, and when they are not, they happily seek out men they can sleep with - if for no other reason then for the reason that they can because they are so hot. But of course, being that they are women and financially dependant, such escapades always have unhappy ending for all involved, particularly women themselves. Made in the style of "Royal Tannenbaum's" this is fun movie in a dark kind of way....more info
For a review, please refer to the title I have chosen for this review. Bad. Real bad....more info
- Igby was great!
Kieran Culkin should have exploded on the scene after this film was released, for his performance is one of those subtle acts of brilliance that doesn't so often come around, especially not with young talent who's soul obsession seems to be to star in those pointless teen comedies. In this brilliantly scripted and superbly cast film, Culkin plays young Igby Slocumb, a confused adolescent who lives in the shadow of his schizophrenic father Jason (Pullman), eccentric and at times downright unbearable mother Mimi (Sarandon) and his pompous jerk of a brother Oliver (Phillippe).
Trying to avoid yet another boarding school, Igby seeks refuge in the loft rented by dancer Rachel (Peet) who just so happens to rent from Igby's godfather D.H. (Goldblum) who is also having an affair with Rachel. Igby takes a liking to Rachel, but also to Sookie (Danes), a young beauty whom he meets at a party held by D.H. on evening. As Igby struggles with what to do with his life, and how to best avoid his mother, he's brought to many crossroads with his relationships with these two women.
Kieran perfectly captures the sarcasm and teenage wit that surrounds Igby and serves as a prominent young star. In fact the entire cast was perfectly placed in their assigned roles, each one bringing the right amount of themselves to each character to create a believable and enjoyable ride. Who better to play the cocky older brother than Ryan Phillippe who just brings this arrogance to almost every one of his roles? The leading ladies, Danes, Sarandon and Peet, all bring so much life to their characters, so much authenticity. It was also neat to see Kieran's younger brother Rory getting to play Igby in flashbacks (that Rory is also a very talented kid, just see `You Can Count on Me').
`Igby Goes Down' is one of my favorite films of 2002, one that definitely breaks into my top five, and is one I'm sure most everyone will enjoy. It's a nice detour from the average teen dramady for it has intelligence and originality and is wonderfully acted, littered with genuine talent, and will be a film that's remembered for years to come. Why they can't make more films like this I'll never know!...more info
- Hypnotic and darkly humerous fil with a big heart
First time screenwriter/director Burr Steers has done what many others couldn't; made a thoughtful film that perfectly captures teen angst of today without becoming and cliche and mellow dramatic. Kieran Culkin is surprisingly good as Igby, a rich kid bouncing from boarding school to boarding school while he is surrounded by his tyrannical dying pill popping mother (Susan Sarandon, fantastic as ever), his institutionilized father (Bill Pullman who steals the film in the beginning), his wealthy and deceitful godfather (Jeff Goldblum in one of his best roles to date), and his uncaring older brother (Ryan Phillippe). While on the run from his mother, he finds a little bit of peace and solace in a drug raddled "dancer who doesn't dance" (Amanda Peet), her drug dealer (Jared Harris who nearly steals the entire film), and a college student (Claire Danes) as he slowly watches everything crumble around him. Culkin is great and carries the film, as does the rest of the phenominal cast, and the darkly comic vibe is carried throughout as well. However, be noted that Igby Goes Down is not a film for everyone, and may not be something you'll like at first, but find appreciation for after repeated viewings....more info
- Igby Is Bad!
The only redeeming feature of this "Comedy" is the pinpoint-perfect performance of the Waspy, preppy-bro, Ryan Phillippe. I suppose I thought this character capable of intelligent thought, but unfortunately, the script makes him do two so unfunny things, I can't reveal the horror without blowing the script.
Look, I know everyone thinks Freud was wrong about homosexuality's derivation related to weak fathers and strong Ethel Merman like mothers, but this film is set up in such a way that I am convinced that the two brothers could not possibly be straight. I think that is a defect in the plot. Sexually they are normal, having sex with two beautiful girls, but, nahhh, I don't believe it from all the perversion of their world; why would they be straight?
Black comedies are by definition laughs from unexpected sources, but we at least have to like the characters in a film to care about their problems. By the end of this film, I wanted Igby to do drugs and die.
- Saved by the performances
"Igby Goes Down" has been repeatedly compared to "Catcher in the Rye" and I really have to wonder why. Holden Caulfield struggled to find real people in a world filled with phonies and he failed. Igby Slocum on the other hand is a semi-sympathic [...] rich kid who fights valiantly not to make the transition from phoney-in-training to the real thing.
"Catcher in the Rye" comparisons aside, "Igby Goes Down" is neither compelling nor funny. (With the exception of Igby's razor-sharp quips.) I didn't have any affection for the characters, but I must commend the actors for their perfomances.
Spoiler Alert! The film's worst moments come near the end. The mother drifts into death and Igby's emotions come pourimg out,a mixture of deep sadness and searing anger. "this is the only time I've ever felt somewhat close to her and she's dead" Igby tells his brother Oliver, to which he replies "you beat up her corpse" I don't think the chuckle that remark elicted from me was worth robbing the scene of its dramatic power. Then it gets worse. Igby is assigned the duty of informing people of his mother's death. He starts out by introducing himself and the person on the other end inevitanlely asks to speak to his mother and he replies "you can't she's dead" As someone whose mother is a breast cancer survivor (the disease from which Igby's mother dies) I really didn't find this last bit funny....more info
- Igby should've stayed down.
Igby Goes Down (Burr Steers, 2002)
Igby Goes Down, the first film for director Burr Steers (who has yet to make a second in the intervening five years, which should tell you something), commits the cardinal sin of being a comedy that's not funny. It wants to be funny, but never quite gets there. It has some arresting scenes and some relatively witty one-liners coupled with some excellent performances, but the movie never comes together; it just kind of sits there like a failed souffle.
Igby (Kieran Culkin) is a cynical kid from New York City who has a pretty hard time fitting in. His mother (Susan Sarandon) is a drugged-out harridan, his father (Bill Pullman) is insane, his mother's new boyfriend (Jeff Goldblum) is trying too hard to be his friend, and his brother (Ryan Phillippe) is, in Igby's words, a young republican. Then, at a party, he meets two older women, Rachel (Amanda Peet) and Sookie (Claire Danes), and oh, here comes the beginning of teen angst. Which one does he have more feelings for? Etc.
The performances, in short, carry the movie. The wonderful, and woefully underrated, Jared Harris (b. Monkey), as Rachel's roommate, steals every scene he's in. This is the first time I've seen Susan Sarandon in a movie where I haven't loathed her in twenty-five years. Goldblum gives his best performance since The Fly, and Phillippe finally shows that the praise justifiably heaped on him after Cruel Intentions wasn't all wasted. That Danes is excellent should surprise no one at this point. That leaves Pullman, who doesn't get enough screen time to make much of an impression, and Peet, who's just kind of there (which is surprising, she's normally quite good).
Unfortunately, those performances sit atop a rather large mound of nothing. The script has all the wit, verve, and style of a Perez Hilton special on VH1 (and for those of you who may be misinterpreting that metaphor, let me spell it out for you: I hate Perez Hilton with the burning heat of a thousand suns). The plot is nonexistent, but there's not enough coherence for the movie to be character-driven, even despite the fantastic performances. There's no pacing to speak of, nothing remarkable about the direction, camerawork, or sound, etc. It's not thoroughly awful, but it's definitely not one for repeat viewing. **...more info
- A Razor-Sharp Comedy
'Igby Goes Down' is an unsettling dark comedy about Igby (Kieran Culkin), a young man raised in the cold and hostile environment of the amoral super-rich. The only positive influence in his life is his father (Bill Pullman), a schizophrenic who rebels against the dictatorship of his wealth and his icy wife (played by the excellent Susan Sarandon), only to dissolve into a catatonic state. Taking after dear old dad, Igby makes one attempt after another to break free from his family's clutches and their ironclad expectations of how he should act and who he should be. Enduring military school and near homelessness in New York City, Igby experiences some of the more mundane aspects of a coming-of-age film (love, sex, violence).
But 'Igby Goes Down' is far from a mundane film. Igby is an imperfect hero, not surprisingly because he was raised by the original Ice Maiden. There are elements of this coldness in his own character, which makes it difficult to sympathize completely his plight.
For that matter, there is coldness in all the characters, save Sookie (Clare Danes). Jeff Goldblum is surprisingly perfect as DH Barnes, an indifferent wife-cheating "friend of the family" who treats Igby with only the barest of interests. Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is Igby's perfect older brother, accordingly cold, calculating, and ever-opportunistic. Rachel (Amanda Peet) and Russel (Jared Harris) make up Igby's surrogate family in the City, and despite drug addiction and various dementias, actually seem better suited for Igby than his real family.
This film has been compared to the classic novel, 'The Catcher in the Rye,' and indeed, there are some similarities. Igby is a saner, heartier Holden Caulfield, who survives on wit and a callousness to the savage world around him. A stunning and often funny film, that, like Igby, just seems unable to pull free from icy wit into real brilliance....more info
- A rotten film about rotten people
Very strange to have a film where every single character in the movie is a cynical egotistical self absorbed spoiled immature brat....more info
- no good
A clever script doesn't make for an enjoyable film. I find every Culkin to be a disgrace to acting, while the other actors are just plain annoying. Much of the dialogue seems sophisticated beyond the characters intellect. The plot is dollar-paper thin and a steal from various books and films. By the end of the movie, you hope that not only does Sarandon's character die, but that Igby goes six feet down....more info