Powered by a breakout lead performance that’s nothing short of a revelation from comic star Zach Galifianakis, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a deft dive into the world of teen angst. It’s also a surprisingly funny film from the directors of Half Nelson and Sugar.
Checking yourself into a psych ward may seem extreme, but if you’re like Craig (Keir Gilchrist) – sixteen years old, attending a school for gifted students and carrying a ticking time bomb of high expectations from your upper-middle-class New York parents – then it can be a mature act of self-preservation. Unfortunately for Craig, a shy, sensitive boy prone to shocking moments of awkwardness, the adolescent ward is being renovated and he can find room only in the adult wing.
Craig quickly learns the ropes of the ward, including how to navigate mandatory activities like group therapy and art class, with some help from his psychiatrist, Dr. Minerva (Viola Davis), and Bobby (Galifianakis), a long-time resident. Bobby proves to be a supportive surrogate father to Craig, challenging the demons that inhibit the teen while juggling profound issues of his own. Craig meets the other troubled patients and they invoke renewed feelings of compassion. Of particular importance is the only other teenager on the ward, Noelle (Emma Roberts), a beautiful, intelligent, yet deeply distressed young woman.
Adapting Ned Vizzini’s bestselling autobiography, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden capture the unerring insight of Vizzini’s writing on young adulthood, while adding some brilliant grace notes of their own. The film is chock full of strong performances – Gilchrist as a captivating lead, Roberts as Noelle, Zoë Kravitz as Nia (a former friend of Craig’s) and the ever-compelling Davis as the good doctor. But the superlative joy here is the performance of Zach Galifianakis, best known for his comic turn in The Hangover. Having lost everything due to his oppressive mental illness, Bobby attacks each day with raw optimism, humour and compassion for everyone around him. His performance leads this film to its deeply affecting conclusion. —TIFF
Anna Boden is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known as the co-writer of the 2006 film Half Nelson. She is known for her collaborations with fellow filmmaker Ryan Fleck.
While studying film at NYU, Boden met Ryan Fleck on the set of a student film. Soon they began dating and decided to collaborate. Together they made the short documentaries Have You Seen This Man? and Young Rebels before they wrote and he directed the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn, a sample feature aiming to attract potential financiers to their undeveloped script, Half Nelson. The short won a prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Boden and Fleck then made the film, Half Nelson starring Ryan Gosling in 2006.
Boden and Fleck have since co-written and co-directed the 2008 film Sugar, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, about a 19 year-old Dominican who immigrates to the United States to play minor league baseball. They wrote the screenplay together… read more
Ryan K. Fleck (born September 20, 1976) is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known for directing and writing the 2006 film Half Nelson and the 2008 film Sugar. He is known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Anna Boden.
Fleck was born in Berkeley, California and raised in Berkeley and Oakland, California. He attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film. At this time he met Anna Boden on the set of a student film and, after he finished his thesis short film Struggle, they began dating and decided to collaborate. Together they made the short documentaries Have You Seen This Man? and Young Rebels before they wrote and he directed the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn, a sample feature aiming to attract potential financiers to their undeveloped script, Half Nelson.The short won a prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and Fleck and Boden were subsequently invited to the Sundance Writer’s Lab to receive… read more
It’s a kind of funny story est assurément un film pour adolescent un peu à contre courant de la production américaine traditionnelle, car il ne prend pas les plus jeunes pour des attardés mentaux… read review