Igby Goes Down (2002)

BURR STEERS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 2002.  United Artists, Atlantic Streamline, Crossroads Films, Helkon Media.  Screenplay by Burr Steers.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by . Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Golden Globe Awards 2002.  Independent Spirit Awards 2002.

 gives a fine performance as Igby, a troubled teenager who constantly infuriates his socially upstanding mother (Susan Sarandon) by getting himself kicked out of every prep school on the eastern seaboard. He eventually decides to strike out on his own, quitting his latest scholastic institution and becoming an independent man of New York City. The many characters he encounters include his morally dubious godfather (), a junkie dancer () and a beautiful waitress () with whom he falls in love.   gives a brilliantly subtle performance as Igby’s older brother, a cynical Republican who has no patience for his family’s lack of normality, while gives his creepiest performance as the family’s mentally unstable patriarch. Highest praise goes to Sarandon’s most indelible acting put on screen yet: certainly her character’s wackier qualities are noticeable thanks to first-time director Burr Steers’ excellent screenplay, but even in the most darkly humorous situations it’s her ability to infuse the role with a genuine sense of humanity that makes it impossible to see anyone else playing it.

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