Igby Goes Down

"Excellent"

Igby Goes Down Review


Snarky, 17-year-old, silver-spoon-raised Igby Slocumb has been booted out of every prestigious (and not-so-prestigious) prep school on the East Coast -- and one military academy too. A bored, intelligent, resourceful and willful screw-up, he's almost proud of this record, even though he'd be the first to admit it's a cry for attention.

With a blue-blooded, pill-popping, self-absorbed mother (the hilariously dry Susan Sarandon) dying of breast cancer at home; a materialistically hollow, young Republican brother (a perfectly cast Ryan Phillippe) shining at Columbia University; and an asylum-committed, schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman) who haunts all his childhood memories, Igby (Kieran Culkin) seems to be the only Slocumb sagacious enough to emerge a better person from his sad yet comically dysfunctional family.

So despite the title of this tart black comedy -- "Igby Goes Down" -- its young hero is determined to stay on his feet. He's grown a sardonic, wry sense of humor (if not a tough skin) and become an expert at running away from home. Now, having escaped the limousine taking him to yet another upscale boarding school, he's on the loose in Manhattan, having resolved to get by on his own (or at least with the help of his mother's American Express card), even if he's not entirely sure what that entails.

Sharp, philosophical and zestfully tangy, "Igby Goes Down" is a vaguely familiar but inventively tweaked and poignantly melancholy coming-of-age story that first-time writer-director Burr Steers executes flawlessly and with discerning enthusiasm. Tightly packed with droll dialogue, gloriously glib personalities and crackerjack acting from an under-appreciated cast, the film follows Igby's survival of wits in New York, where he has invited himself to crash at the loft that his flippant, millionaire developer godfather (Jeff Goldblum at his suavely smarmy best) keeps for his saucy, sultry, dancer-junkie mistress (the brilliantly attune Amanda Peet).

"She's a dancer who doesn't dance," Igby muses. "She has a friend who's a painter that doesn't paint. It's kind of like a BoHo version of the Island of Misfit Toys."

With his sunken, expressive, hound-dog eyes and his knack for insightful, empathetic, tormented performances, Culkin ("The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," "Cider House Rules") fully embodies Igby's shrewd and sarcastic, gloomy but hopeful, weary and badly bruised soul. The kid's ironic self-awareness of his own self-destructive streak, and his aching desire to somehow untether himself from his patrimonial demons, drive Culkin to admirable, extraordinary extremes.

Another sublime performance comes from Claire Danes, acting again after three years hitting the books at Yale. She is sexy, sullen and equally caustic in the pivotal role of Sookie Sapperstein (I love that name!), a college bohemian who Igby thinks could be his cynical salvation -- until she hops into bed with his perniciously predatory brother.

"We're the same age," she reasons, crying through her locked apartment door as Igby has a breakdown in the hallway outside, knowing his brother will chew her up and spit her out.

But as wistful and pensive as "Igby" can get, Steers never loses sight of his incisive, scintillating comedy instincts or Igby's determination to climb out of the well-bred quagmire into which he was born.

This film is one of those rare, exhilarating cinematic delights that gets even better in hindsight, as you mull over its every nuance in your mind.



Igby Goes Down

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 1st May 2003

Box Office USA: $4.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $4.8M

Budget: $9M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: United Artists

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 97 Rotten: 31

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jason 'Igby' Slocumb, Jr., as Sookie Sapperstein, as D.H. Banes, as Russel, as Rachel, as Oliver 'Ollie' Slocumb, as Jason Slocumb, as Mimi Slocumb, as 10-Year-Old Igby, Peter Anthony Tambakis as 13-Year-Old Oliver, as Lt. Ernest Smith, Pershing Academy, Kathleen Gati as Ida, Gannon Forrester as Little Cadet, as Bunny, as Lisa Fiedler

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.