Focus Features: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

Far more people teeter on the edge of their realities every day. The signs aren’t always obvious, but the fall is never unexpected.

Zack Galifinakis (Bobby) and Kier Gilchrist (Craig) in

Zack Galifinakis (Bobby) and Kier Gilchrist (Craig)
in “It’s Kind A Funny Story”

Anxiety flows through our veins like instinct. The sound of a car horn, the rawness of a yell, the bat of an eye – everything has the potential to be a trigger. Whether or not we act on it is our own choice. Whether or not we choose to end this thing we call life, is a different ultimatum altogether.

At dawn, Craig (Kier Gilchrist) cycled wistfully alongside the Brooklyn Bridge in hopes that today; he will have the courage to jump off its ledge. Over time, episodes have added and subtracted and led to various fatalistic intents. Some were previously thwarted, others were blissfully rejected and if he is lucky, doubt seeps in; doubt as vivid as an overzealous mother, preoccupied father, and a petulant little sister. Doubt that distracts him from the plunge and instead, ushers him into the nearest hospital emergency room at 5 a.m. in the morning. There he meets the charming Bobby, (Zack Galifianakis) who offers Craig the first glimpse into the world of Three North – the adult psychiatric ward located on the third floor where Craig will undergo five days of rehabilitation – no less, no more, unless recommended.

Lauren Graham (Lynn), Kier Gilchrist (Craig), Dana DeVestern (Alyssa), Jim Gaffigan (George) in

Lauren Graham (Lynn), Kier Gilchrist (Craig), Dana DeVestern (Alyssa), Jim Gaffigan (George) in “It’s Kind of A Funny Story”.

Upon his arrival, he is greeted by the colourful array of personalities within the ward and is forced to surrender himself to them and their involuntary needs. Life, for Craig, will never be the same. The minute ambiguities, the little niches, the people in life that we’re so quick to ignore, they will provide him with an opportunity to venture deep and discover the potential that was always within.

Based on the semi – autobiographical novel “It’s Kind of A Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini, the film, by the same name, does its best at shining a fog light on the elephant named depression that lays cozily in one in every five’s living room. Directed and written by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, “It’s Kind of A Funny Story” tackles the nuances surrounding mental health that are so quickly dusted under the rug and offers viewers a chance to filter through the dust. Kier Gilchrist does a fantastic portrayal as the lowly Craig who seeks any opportunity he can to attain bliss in his dampened life. Zack Galifianakis subtly navigates through the world of Three North as Bobby, the wards not so personal cheerleader, who appears whenever Craig feels he doesn’t need him, but is always grateful when he does. Compliments to the leads are actors Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zoë Kravitz, Jeremy Davies, Emma Roberts and Viola Davis as Dr. Eden Minerva.

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Kier Gilchrist (Craig) and Emma Roberts (Noelle) in “It’s Kind of A Funny Story”

“Depression does not discriminate. It happens to anyone, at any age, of any race, of any gender and shame is not the remedy for integration.”

The film’s cinematography blends fluidly ideally, because the story takes place in one location. Within this ginormous centre piece however, there are tiny nooks and crannies found in vacant stairwells and empty gymnasiums that are privy to Bobby, and later Craig, because he believes that no one should stay in one place for too long. As for the script, well, there is more humour written between the lines than audiences may realize.  The more we neutralize the discussion around mental health, the easier it will be for victims, and the people around them, to confront its stigmas. Nonetheless, this is a narrative. Craig’s voice pops in time and again to remind the viewer that we are watching his story, his demise, no matter how relative his tale may be.

Undoubtedly, the bleakness we find in life, as some would like to believe, is not permanent. Craig’s downward spiral may be akin to any teenage meltdown, although he quickly acknowledges in the film’s first few minutes that it isn’t. Depression does not discriminate. It happens to anyone, at any age, of any race, of any gender and shame is not the remedy for integration. The patients of Three North are an example of that. Only when the majority resigns their defenses, will those affected no longer feel like a minority.

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