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Thumbsucker (2005)

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Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.

Director:

Mike Mills

Writers:

Walter Kirn (novel), Mike Mills
5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ted Beckman Ted Beckman ... Stoner Guy
Benjamin Bratt ... Matt Schramm
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Mike Cobb
Arvin V. Entena Arvin V. Entena ... Perry Lyman's Assistant
Tyler Gannon Tyler Gannon ... Stoner Chick
Kelli Garner ... Rebecca
Allen Go Allen Go ... Biology Teacher
Dakota O'Hara ... Girl on Plane (as Dakota Goldhor)
Walter Kirn ... Debate Judge
Kit Koenig Kit Koenig ... Principal
Sarah Lucht Sarah Lucht ... English Teacher
Eric Normington ... Hotel Desk Clerk
Nancy O'Dell ... Herself
Lanette Prazeau Lanette Prazeau ... School Nurse
Lou Taylor Pucci ... Justin Cobb (as Lou Pucci)
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Storyline

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 Alejandro Frias

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug/alcohol use and sexuality involving teens, language and a disturbing image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Age Difficile Obscur See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$85,327, 18 September 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,325,073, 4 December 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Justin is browsing through a copy of "Be Here Now", Ram Dass' 1960s new-age classic, while in the orthodontist's waiting room. See more »

Goofs

It is stated that Ritalin and cocaine have only three molecules different. Both are actually single molecules. Although similar in shape, there are several atoms difference. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Audrey Cobb: You're good at stuff like this. I have to find something distinctive about myself.
Justin Cobb: You're beautiful, Audrey.
Audrey Cobb: Seriously.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A special thank you to the following people and organizations for their support: ... Everyone at Rock Paper Scissors ... Everyone at Tualatin High School ... See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.1 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Reiki
Written by Shastro
Performed by Shastro and Nadama
Courtesy of Malimba Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great performances from lead and Reeves, funny movie with some good messages
26 August 2005 | by Rich BSee all my reviews

Keanu Reeves is so funny in this movie. He has some superb lines to deliver, and superbly done. I couldn't decide if there was some tongue in cheek writing going on while thinking about his previous roles in Point Break and Matrix, subtle sayings and nuances of the character just made me think of that and laugh. Anyway, that's the first thing that has to be said, he is superb in the movie as Dr. Perry Lyman, the transcendental dentist! A similar mention needs to be given for Benjamin Bratt as Matt Schraam, you'll know him when you see him, who plays a TV Cop entered into drug rehabilitation and is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow. His performance is extremely tongue in cheek...and indeed hand in...well. Let's say that he was willing to have much more than just the mickey taken out of him.

Vince Vaughn also surprised me with a really good performance as Mr. Geary, the teacher in charge of the debating team. From what I've seen of him before he really does back down his performance and play a strong role. I was impressed by his acting, and I really will have to re-evaluate my opinion of his talent after this movie.

Since I'm talking about the talent in the movie I'll keep going and give the biggest and most deserved mention to the lead, Lou Taylor Pucci as Justin Cobb, the teenager who is just starting out on his journey of really growing up, finding girls, himself and a new relationship with his parents, something we've all been through (unless you were finding boys!) around that age and we have all faced with equally different results. It's only in this role that I've ever seen him act, and he does so perfectly convincingly, he doesn't falter at all throughout the movie. On screen he's totally engaging, as many actors far older than him must aspire to, his face just draws your eyes to him and with a subtle and almost meek performance he commands the scenes he enters.

It's interesting when looking at the roles of the parents. For the most part of the movie I thought Vincent D'Onofrio was the weaker part and the lesser actor, however I ended up feeling that this was down to his role and that of the dysfunctional Father who is having severe problems coming to terms with his own life. Likewise I felt that Tilda Swinton was the stronger actor of the two, until the Father gained more scenes, then I felt she was much weaker and her storyline seemed relegated to merely showing us that another of the characters has their own problems, and to introduce us to Matt Schraam, the addicted to anything actor.

At the beginning of the movie we find that Jason has a problem, he sucks his thumb for comfort and the movie shows us in an easy and effective way what he actually feels and hopes for during these moments. The movie is about a few things, but really about the fact that we're all messed up in some way, we all have problems, and we all have to deal with them. It just makes it easier if we open up a little and deal with them together. Through the film it explores this through the idea of addiction, and how some people need to be addicted to something to get them through, from the extreme of the actor to the lead himself who starts out addicted to sucking his thumb.

Another issue brought out of this movie is the idea that drugs are the answer, and that if there is a problem with someone then they immediately should turn to a Doctor and attempt a cure. The idea that a miracle pill is the answer to everything is explored very well in the movie. It's clever actually that many of these issues are sneaked in through the back door (sorry Schraam!), in that there's a light and a humorous angle to many of the scenes yet we're dealing with a big and contentious issue. The moment where Jacob and the parents are sitting in with the Teachers discussing his symptoms and suddenly the answer is the magic pill for Attention Deficit Disorder. These symptoms being, as the mother describes, as vague as easily distracted, fidgeting, etc. In other words, a teenager! That scene is very strong, and at that moment when the Teachers leap you don't know whether to laugh or feel awkward and ashamed that society has turned so easily to drugs being the answer instead of trying to turn to each other, open up a little, and not being so wrapped up in yourselves.

It's filmed really well, and apart from the dream\comforting scenes and the representation of the effects of the ADD drug, you forget that you're watching a camera filming the movie. In fact I can't remember being aware of the shots themselves, which is an excellent thing and means that I turned to the movie and really got pulled in.

Although the ending is a little twee, and it is really a feel good movie, it's the journey that is the important part and what is said on the way. It has an interesting look at how families behave and keeps you wondering where everything is going to turn out. In particular it has a lot to say about addiction, drugs, and both teen and adult angst.

It's a funny movie, with Reeves getting the biggest laughs without a doubt, it's also very serious but given to you in a lighter tone. I'm really glad I went to see this and I was surprised to have liked it so much. It had a lot to say in an easy digestible style, much like the pill for ADD, I'd prescribe this to anyone in a heartbeat.


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