Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.
Director and co-writer Mike Mills presents the film version of Walter Kirn's novel and nails the issues we all face with relationships and life. So many teen angst movies provide us one dimensional adults or even one dimensional teens. This film shows the struggles we all face at every age and every stage in life. Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen" was a powerful movie focusing on girls. "Thumbsucker" is every bit as powerful, if not a bit softer in its approach.
Relative newcomer Lou Taylor Pucci is stunning and brilliant as Justin, the seventeen year old thumbsucker who, along with 98% of the others his age, just can't seem to figure out what its all about. His character turns out to be one of the lucky ones who finally determines that none of us really get it. That includes his friends, parents, teachers, orthodontist and celebrities.
The supporting actors are stellar and very well cast. Justin's parents are played well by the great Tilda Swinton (slightly underused here) and Vincent D'Onofrio. His hypnotist would-be guru orthodontist is hilariously played by Keanu Reeves and Benjamin Bratt is the TV celeb whom Justin's mom carries a torch for. Vince Vaughn flashes some real acting chops as Justin's Debate Team sponsor. This is not the typical punchline Vince that we have come to expect. A real standout is Kelli Garner as Rebecca, Justin's first crush. This role was originally going to Scarlett Johansson which would have been a mistake. Garner is so believable as the would be world saver if she could just understand why everyone acts the way they do. Looking forward to more of her work.
For a movie that tackles such tough subject matter, it does an amazing job of keeping the viewer from being depressed. There is actually hope in the message. The soundtrack was a bit of a distraction at times, but not enough to ruin any particular scene. Also, there is a story line about Ridlin and ADHD that would require a thesis to to describe my disgust. This is a film that deserves a bigger audience than it will reach. Sadly, too many will line up to see "Proof" which only impersonates an important film.
- Sep 29, 2005