Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
We’ve forgotten what comedy really is. Wait a minute! I’ve actually found a movie that is genuinely funny and will make you laugh. The movie I’m talking about is It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It’s based on the 2006 novel by Ned Vizzini. His motivation for writing the book is based on his own personal experiences being hospitalized for depression.
Stay with me. I know a book about depression doesn’t sound funny. But remember, the movie is titled It’s Kind of a Funny Story. After all, what doesn’t kill you will make you laugh. This film is a true gem. It’s not often I watch a movie that I thoroughly enjoy. This film is the type of movie that often flies under the radar screen. It doesn’t receive the type of attention that it deserves. There is so much truth about life and its complexities packed into this story that it’s almost difficult to know where to start.
Here he meets Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), a middle-aged man who seeks refuge occasionally in the psych ward as sort of a vacation to get away from life. Bobby ultimately becomes Craig’s mentor and shows him the ropes in the mental ward. Of course, there’s a girl involved, Novel (Emma Roberts), who is also suffering from depression and attempted suicide. You’re probably thinking, “How could this be funny?” Trust me. It’s funny.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is both funny and serious. It uses comedy as a vehicle to explore difficult and dark material. At its heart, this film is a commentary on the complexities of becoming an adult and a coming-of-age story wrapped into one. Craig describes the day everything in his life was carefree. And then it was as if overnight someone threw a switch and everything changed. Life became serious. Everything mattered. Every decision had consequences. This becomes the source of Craig’s depression. How do you deal with life?
It’s amazing how this little comedy has so much wisdom to offer. For example, in one scene, Craig is talking to Novel. He is able to be comfortable around her because he can be himself and doesn’t have to be what other people expect him to be. Well, isn’t that a message we all need to hear and embrace?
Everything in this film works. The acting is spot on with perfect casting. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is creative and innovative in how it moves the narrative forward. You will be amazed to see just how funny depression can be.
One therapist in the movie pretty much summed up the entire theme in this well-known prayer: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.