James White (2015)

R   |    |  Drama


James White (2015) Poster

James, a twenty-something New Yorker, struggles to take control of his self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family challenges.


7.2/10
6,066

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


8 October 2015 | alwayshungryy
7
| Engrossing and heartbreaking glimpse into an unfortunate life
James White (Christopher Abbott) is caught in an endless cycle of self-destruction. He has just lost his father and fears losing his ailing mother (Cynthia Nixon) who he has been taking care of for years. He spends his days drinking, sleeping around and lashing out at others, doing anything to avoid confronting his grief and emotions, which he keeps under the surface, bubbling and waiting to burst. Life has been unfair to him, and this behaviour that manifested sabotages any chance of career or personal growth. He might be using his mother's condition as an excuse not to step out of his comfort zone and try harder in life, which is reasonable to some extent, but he can't seem to change. In his prime, he is jobless and taking his mother's couch as a bed.

This narratively loose drama doesn't offer anything particularly new in giving us a glimpse into the struggles, both internal and external, faced by James. There is not much closure or emotional reward to be given. This is summed up perfectly in one of the very few scenes in which we see James surrendering to his emotions, crying while repeatedly yelling "I don't know what to do".

The best aspect of the film is the acting. Nixon gives an authentic, heartbreaking performance that's understated. Abbott, on the other hand, is given a character that requires patience and sensitivity to sympathize with. James internalizes many complex emotions throughout the film and what goes on in his mind is not always clear to the audience. It's a tricky act to balance but Abbott pulls it off. Their mother-son relationship is the only thing that's certain in their lives and is the core of the film.

The film could have very well ended during its most powerful and stirring scene with James and his mother in the toilet. She can't get up, so they sit and talk about what their ideal life would be like and the future they had hope for. They feel at peace as both of them stay in this moment, still and smiling. This is when the bleak reality of the film truly sets in, as we see these people, both kind and full of dreams and desires, trapped in an unfortunate life.

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,007 15 November 2015

Gross USA:

$101,368

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$101,368

Contribute to this page

The Best TV and Movies to Watch in March

Read our editors' picks for the movies and shows we're watching in March, including "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," Boss Level, and Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Browse our picks

A History of Golden Globe Winning Drama Performances

Take a look back at the talented actors and actresses who took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama since the category was created in 1951.

See the full gallery

The Essential Eddie Murphy Watchlist

As we prepare for the return of Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America, we present our guide to comic legend Eddie Murphy's essential films and where to watch them.

Watch the video

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com