Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
Justin is a teenager boy, who has an oral obsession with his thumb. His mother seems to be a normal housekeeper, but she has her own obsessions as well, like a crush on a TV-star. The only person who's aware of Justin's problem is his father, manager in a store, but none of his advices seem to be working for Justin. The kid is signed up in a debate workshop, but the thing isn't going well, because he has his mind in a pretty classmate and, of course, in his thumb, affecting all the rest of his classes. So, Justin is a loner kid in the school, who prefers to lock himself in the bathroom and suck his thumb. Justin's dentist, a mystical-hippie person, will try to help to overcome his thumb problem, through the hypnosis. But the school's psychologist will diagnose Justin with the Attention Deficit Disorder, and will prescribe him some drugs. Suddenly, Justin's problem with his thumb will disappear, becoming an hyperactive genius, winning several debate contests and the admiration from his... Written by
"Thumbsucker", one of the most original movies playing locally, deserves to be seen by a wider audience. Mike Mills, its director, has adapted Walter Kirn's novel with honesty and integrity, giving the viewer a picture of a young man and his family at a difficult time in their lives and how they relate and cope with the situation. This is no typical teenage coming of age as interpreted by Hollywood.
The film is an intelligent account of Justin's life and what makes him act the way he does. His home life seems to be the root of all the problems and his addiction to suck his thumb is a way to escape reality because he finds comfort in doing so. Justin is clearly a teenager in turmoil because he doesn't fit in the large scheme of things.
"Thumbsucker" makes a valid point about how easy it is to prescribe drugs for what seems to be afflicting Justin: Attention Deficit Disorder. In fact, what those pills are doing are creating a false security blanket for the young man, who awakens in time to realize the drug he is taking a form of "speed".
The work by Lou Taylor Pucci in the film is amazing. As Justin he shows an intelligence and naturalness well beyond his years. Tilda Swinton and Vincent D'Onofrio are seen as the confused parents. Keanu Reeves and Vince Vaughn make excellent appearances in roles that are different to what they usually play.
The film work because the good ensemble Mike Mills assembled for the movie.
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