x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

It's Kind of a Funny Story

This feel-good movie is based on a book, which is loosely based on the author's experiences of depression, but it lacks sufficient depth to make any lasting impact.

Keir Gilchrist, left, and Zach Galifianakis in It's  Kind of a Funny Story.
Keir Gilchrist, left, and Zach Galifianakis in It's Kind of a Funny Story.

It's Kind of a Funny Story
Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis

Feeling depressed and fearing that he might act upon his destructive thoughts, 16-year-old Craig (Gilchrist) checks himself into a psychiatric ward, naively imagining that he will speak to a doctor before being released in time for school the following day.

Instead, he's immediately admitted for a week-long stay. During this time, he has the inevitable "finding himself" moment (the upshot being that he doesn't, in fact, want to be the president of the United States, but would prefer to follow a more artistic path), improves his relationship with his parents and even manages to meet a potential girlfriend (Roberts). By the end of the week, having witnessed the plight of several of the long-term patients (although in-depth details are never given) and with the help of his new friend and mentor Bobby, (played rather touchingly by Galifianakis) he comes to the conclusion that life's really not that bad. This adaptation of a 2006 novel by Ned Vizzini was loosely based on the author's own experience of being hospitalised while suffering from depression. Nonetheless, the film is simply too feel-good for its own good. It tries to be quirky and off-beat, a sort of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the indie crowd, but in doing so it unapologetically trivialises the reality of life on a psychiatric ward. It is overly sentimental (with an uplifting soundtrack to match) and lacks sufficient depth to make any kind of lasting impact.