A young man's peculiar upbringing renders him unable to competently cope with the struggle of growing up.A young man's peculiar upbringing renders him unable to competently cope with the struggle of growing up.A young man's peculiar upbringing renders him unable to competently cope with the struggle of growing up.
Igby's life consists of one disappointment after another. We soon meet his ruinantly self-absorbed mother (Susan Sarandon), who treats her boys like full-grown adults. 'I call her Mimi because 'Heinous One' would be a bit cumbersome,' Igby remarks. And there's his schizophrenic dad (Bill Pullman) who has long since been confined to a 'home for the befuddled'. Igby's and his preppy brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) have nothing but contempt for their mother. When Igby has just been kicked out - again - of his latest prep school, he is sent to a military academy by his mother, but he swipes her credit card and absconds to an airport hotel in the Midwest. Soon he is dishonorably discharged and sucks his way in by his mother's new wealthy friend D. H. Baines, wonderfully played by Jeff Goldblum, who almost seems to play himself.
Two women play a crucial role in his life, both of them he meets at a cocktail party at "D.H."'s lavish Hamptons home. There's Rachel, a memorable role by Amanda Peet, truly astonishing. I knew her face, but I cannot recall other roles of her. And there is Sookie Sapperstein (Claire Danes), a waitress at the party and couple of years older college student, with whom Igby falls in love. But his brother is becoming a romantic rival or Sookie and when Igby crashes in D.H's fancy Manhattan apartment, in which Rachel is taking residence, he becomes entangled in an ever more downward spiral.
First-time director Burr Steers, who also scripted, filled this one with some very smart, observative and acidic dialog, and Kiera Culkin shows he can carry a film with a very good performance. And where has he been the last four years? Since this one he hasn't appeared in any other films. On the IMDb message boards there are some hilarious speculations about how he is supposedly "on weed". I don't know about that. He's probably going through some rough times, but I hope he'll be back soon. It would be a shame to lose an actor like him.
Camera Obscura --- 8/10
- Nov 18, 2006