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It's Kind of a Funny Story (4 stars)

Impressive exploration of mental health doesn’t compromise its indie values

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It's Kind of a Funny Story

(12A) 101min

Having impressed with Half Nelson and Sugar, indie stalwarts Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden complete a commendable hat trick with It’s Kind Of A Funny Story.

Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, the film follows suicidal 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who, upon checking himself into hospital, finds himself on an adult psych ward as the youth facility is temporarily closed.

Once there, he meets and befriends Bobby (The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis), a fellow patient who instils a renewed sense of confidence in him that helps Craig tackle his feelings of anxiety about himself, his friends and family and, naturally, girls.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story marks the most mainstream offering yet from Boden and Fleck but, crucially, doesn’t compromise its indie values. The issues of mental health are never trivialised but there’s a sly coolness about the script, which neatly balances intimate revelations about each character with crowd-pleasing highs such as a wild performance of Queen’s Under Pressure.

As a result, the film touches the heart without feeling forced and gives Galifianakis a career-best, semi-serious role to savour. Gilchrist and Emma Roberts, as another patient, also impress.

General release, Fri 7 Jan.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
  • Cast: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis

Gilchrist plays a suicidal 16 year old in an adult psychiatric ward, befriended by Bobby (Galifianakis), who sets about restoring the teen's confidence. Crucially, the issues surrounding mental health are never trivialised, but the film retains its indie cred and is cool, yet heart-warming, throughout.

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