Thumbsucker (2005)

MIKE MILLS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB

USA, 2005, , , .  Screenplay by Mike Mills, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Unlikable, randomly plotted film based on the cult novel by Walter Kirn about a teenager () who continues to suck his thumb despite the fact that he’s about to graduate high school and should be well over the habit by now. His competitive father () is ashamed of his son’s inability to do well in school or keep out of trouble, while his patient mother (Tilda Swinton, who also co-produced) has faith that he’ll straighten up eventually. When he is diagnosed with hyperactive disorder and put on medication, Pucci gives up his thumb for a new addiction and a new attitude towards life. Now he is an overachiever who makes captain of the debate team and is focused on success, but his personality is false and hollow and a crash and burn is not far off on the horizon. Despite many opportunities to address the misguided attempts that adults can make in trying to shape teens into the leaders of tomorrow, this film manages to avoid any sort of wicked indulgence in quirky behaviour or emotional revelation. Instead, the actors move through a vaguely shallow landscape that even they don’t seem to be very aware of. Features celebrity cameos by  (who is quite funny),  and .

Berlin Film Festival Award:  Best Actor (Lou Taylor Pucci)

Toronto International Film Festival:  2005

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