Lyle Jensen is subject to sudden and violent outbursts, and he is committed to the juvenile wing of the Northwood Mental Institution. Several other youths are there with a variety of ... See full summary »
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Lyle Jensen is subject to sudden and violent outbursts, and he is committed to the juvenile wing of the Northwood Mental Institution. Several other youths are there with a variety of serious problems. Lyle interacts with other patients and staff on a human, and sometimes not so human level. The psychological problems of the patients also forms the fabric by which we see what's right with them, and what's wrong with the society that affects them. Written by
Scott from Milwaukee, WI, USA
An open examination of teenagers with destructive mental illness.
An open examination of teenagers with destructive mental illness, societies need to create and control them, and their own quest for control in their lives. The pace is consistent, and the direction is strong and steady as the audience is made to feel like they are directly observing the story unfold. Teenagers who are real patients for the same kind of mental illness helped out in the coaching of the actors which made the improvised work that much more stark. Digital film making heightens the sense of reality since it is used in a documentary style within a good set.
The casting was excellent as each member of the ensemble portrayed their character with depth and individual motivation, and they all interacted believably.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lyle Jensen sets himself apart from all his previous roles. His portrayal of a disconnected youth full of vague rage and a low threshold for violence gave him many subtle challenges to which he arose. His subconscious search for meaning is the pavement upon which our journey is taken. Don Cheadle is one of the best yet most under appreciated actors there are. His conflicted Dr. Monroe keeps the balance as he tries to manipulate these kids to self control as he precariously avoids the demons of his own past. Michael Bacall plays Lyle's institutional friend Chad. He is great as the basically nice guy with the realistically subtle bipolar disorder who has his own conflicted agenda. Zooey Deschanel's Tracy is a depressed teen with crushingly low self esteem. Her beauty and kindness are in contrast to the others as we struggle to understand her cause for being committed. Sara Rivas maintains balance well as she plays the wannabe hardass Sara who is recovering from severe drug addiction. Sara is destructive to herself, but she does act somewhat as the nurturer for the other patients, especially the meek Tracy. Cody Lightning is compelling as the quiet and messed up Kenny who is also the youngest patient in the wing because he is so messed up. Elden Henson is successful in making the audience completely hate his character Mike. He has problems similar to Lyle plus he behaves ghetto to compensate for his self identity. The Lyle versus Mike conflict is the driving point of the story because they can't escape that what they hate about each other is that within the other they see themselves.
This film describes mental illness for youths in a raw upfront manner that Hollywood could never handle, yet it is to be seen.
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