Originally Published on Salty Popcorn
The plot for BRIGSBY BEAR is tricky to navigate. I could, potentially, give you a general rundown on what this film is really about, but I don’t want to do that to you. The marketing campaign has been simple and effective, all without ruining any of the film’s many surprises. This is a movie best experienced in the cinema with as little prior knowledge as possible, for the first act delivers an absolute gut punch of a twist that’s certainly best to avoid. But, that being said, knowing the general gist of what this film is about will certainly pull you in with its weirdness and unique originality. It combines together several familiar ideas and creates something fresh out of it.
Think 2015’s ROOM, but with a more comedic twist, delivered in a style The Lonely Island knows best. Screenwriters Kyle Mooney (who’s equally fantastic as the lead character) and Kevin Costello have created an absolutely joyous movie that hits all the right notes. It’s a film that packs a serious punch. Mooney and Costello are able to create a vulnerability and naïve sense of awareness in their protagonist that fits with the style of the movie. James’ knowledge of the world around him is limited, and as he uncovers the secrets hidden within, his journey becomes increasingly emotional, and equally hilarious.
First time film director David McCary, who has received an Emmy nomination for his work on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, crafts a film that’s beautiful in every way. You’ll have a hard time believing that this is his first feature film. It’s jam packed with life and love, backed with several incredible performances from every member of the cast. From Mark Hamill to Claire Danes to Ryan Simpkins to every other character coming and going throughout, they all nail their respective roles. They bring something unique to the table, culminating into a poignant and touching story that brought me, and everyone around me, to tears.
Obstacles are frequently overcome with ease, often defying logic, but they elevate the charm. Certain characters have issues with the way James chooses to live his life, and the tension ranges between being unexplored and then jumping straight into a change of heart. You don’t always buy into the arcs, but the conclusion to them is welcomed nonetheless. They’re supporting characters. This isn’t their story. It belongs to James, and he’s one of my favourite movie heroes from this year’s festival. Audiences everywhere are going to fall in love with his story when this film hits cinemas, and you need to make checking it out an absolute necessity.
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