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Igby Goes Down

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Igby Goes Down

Starring: Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes
Director: Burr Steers
Rated: R
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: September 2002
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Just imagine a contemporary "Catcher in the Rye" Holden Caulfield and you have Jason "Igby" Slocumb (Kieran Culkin), a charming, angst-ridden rebel from a wealthy but dysfunctional WASP family in Connecticut. He's been kicked out of several prep schools, a military academy and a drug-rehab clinic because, basically, Igby has suffered 17 years of emotional deprivation from his self-absorbed family. His schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman) is "recuperating from life" in a posh rest home, his heinous mother (Susan Sarandon) is a nasty, pill-popping hypochondriac, and his preppy older brother (Ryan Phillippe), majoring in economics at Columbia University, resents him, noting, "If Gandhi had to hang out with you for any prolonged amount of time, he'd have ended up kicking the living sh*t out of you!" So Igby goes on the lam in Manhattan with his mother's credit card, hiding out in a SoHo loft that belongs to his godfather (Jeff Goldblum) who's betraying his oblivious wife with a drug-addicted dancer/mistress (Amanda Peet). Then he meets cynical Sookie Sapperstein (Claire Danes), a pseudo-bohemian, pseudo-sophisticated JAP who's dropped out of Bennington and genuinely wants to divert resentful, self-destructive Igby from "going down." "You're a furious boy," she tells him. "Eventually you won't be a boy and it will eat you up." First-time writer/director 36 year-old Burr Steers continually surprises and delights with his quirky, idiosyncratic characters, sharp insights and saucy dialogue, so occasional lapses of self-indulgence are forgiven in this ferociously ironic black comedy. And the casting is flawless, as are the performances. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Igby Goes Down" is a scathing, wickedly funny 9. On his journey to self-discovery, Igby is irresistible!

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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