My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R   |    |  Drama


My Own Private Idaho (1991) Poster

Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

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7.1/10
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  • River Phoenix and Chiara Caselli in My Own Private Idaho (1991)
  • River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho (1991)
  • River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho (1991)
  • River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho (1991)
  • River Phoenix and Grace Zabriskie in My Own Private Idaho (1991)
  • River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho (1991)

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5 December 2007 | jazzpiano-
10
| My Own Private Idaho
Mike (River Phoenix) has narcolepsy, and whenever he feels super-stressed he suffers what I interpret to be attacks of cataplexy, that is, sleep triggered by heightened emotions. His friend, would-be lover and fellow male prostitute, Scott (Keanu Reeves), has a rich dad who's going to leave him a hefty sum when he turns 21. These two characters are the main focus of "My Own Private Idaho" which deals with common and uncommon themes, such as home, sexual identity and love. Van Sant throws in some Shakespearean language plagiarised straight from Henry IV and a non-linear narrative and you've got one very cute surrealist indie film.

The credits to this film are it's director and star, River Phoenix, whose understated and moving performance lifts this film above the trash it easily could've been in another director or actor's hands. Van Sant uses symbols to represent emotional states and his use of special effects is limited and effective. There is some really heartfelt dialogue in this movie, especially the much-mentioned camp-fire scene.

This film can be irritating; sometimes the Shakespearean dialogue doesn't work (and it's okay to admit that a near-perfect film like this has flaws) and Reeves is sometimes a little stiff. The film is mostly redeemed by its bitter-sweet ending and fun opening titles.

I'm not going to tackle any issues in this film because I just don't have the energy. Just appreciate the film for what it is and have a nice day. :)

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