Tuesday, April 19, 2011
TrustMovies was a patient in just such a hospital, back in the mid-to-late 1960s. He had his own suicide attempt and was promptly placed in the custody of New York City's Bellevue Hospital (at the time, that was the first stop for would-be suicides). Bellevue was a pretty horrible place in which you were surrounded by people who seemed truly crazy (those jokes about inmates believing they are Jesus, God, Napoleon and whoever else are not made up. That's exactly what it was like). And as crazy as TM realized that he was for attempting to take his own life, he also realized that -- on other levels, at least -- his hospital-mates were even further away from reality.
IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY -- based on the young adult novel by Ned Vizzini and adapted and directed by Ryan Fleck (shown above, left) and Anna Boden (above, right) -- come closer to my experience those decades ago than anything else I've witnessed.
Keir Gilchrist, right) any kind of stand-in. But so much else is so on-target -- from the amazing variety of types of patients (as well as their disparate ages: on our floor we had males, females, high schoolers, adults, and the elderly, all mixed in) to the doctors and staff, everything rings true. The real and meaningful help that physicians and staff give their patients, as well as the help the patients give each other, combine to make the film one of the most legitimate feel-good movies I can recall.
IMDB rating of between 7 and 8 stars (out of ten). While the movie did not set the box-office ablaze, it did well enough. But it's the kind of movie that got by most people -- which is a shame. (I had lunch the other day with a mother and daughter who consider themselves avid moviegoers, yet they had trouble even recalling the film.) So I'd like to start the ball rolling for a re-think of It's Kind of a Funny Story.
Zack Galifianakis (shown in second photo from top) and Emma Roberts, to hospital staff members (played by Viola Davis, at right), Jeremy Davies (above, right) and Aasif Mandvi -- this gem of an ensemble is worth seeing. For its take on the meaning of mental health and the importance of one's view of the world, this one's a keeper. And for those who claim that this particular hospital environment could never exist, I swear to you, it did. I hope it still does, somewhere.
It's Kind of a Funny Story is available now on DVD and Blu-ray, for sale or rental. Don't let it go by unseen.