• PG-13, 1 hr. 36 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Marilyn Agrelo
    In Theaters:
    May 6, 2011 Limited
    On DVD:
    Nov 1, 2011
  • IFC Films


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An Invisible Sign Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

April 12, 2010
Tries desperately to be a quirky indie drama, but all the oddball characters and twee songs in the world can't save this dull and mostly pointless mess. Only diehard fans of Jessica Alba should try sitting through this, and trust me, it's still going to be tough.

Super Reviewer

April 1, 2012
This film took me by surprise. From the trailer, I wasn't expecting much. However, after watching the film, it took me pleasantly by surprise. I thought it was really well done.

This happens to be one of Jessica Alba's best performances so far. She definitely shines here. She has a good on screen chemistry with Chris Messina. Chris is good here too. John Shea and J.K. Simmons provide some solid supporting work here.

I definitely recommend this film.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2011
One of the quirkiest films you will ever see! Jessica Alba tackles a different kind of role then we are used to seeing her in, and she is absolutely fantastic. Despite the subject matter, An Invisible Sign is surprisingly heartfelt and witty. This kind of flew under the radar, but I strongly recommend checking it out.
June 30, 2011
This is a weird one.Mona (Jessica Alba) is beyond awkward, she obsesses about numbers & her mentally ill father(John Shea) & is depressed & lacks confidence & social skills.Always waiting for the numbers to give her a sign.Reluctantly she becomes a math Teacher, but comes off as very weird to her students, except one who is also number obsessed & a bit of a cast out.When another Teacher(Chris Messina) shows romantic interest in her, she pushes him away & EATS SOAP, yep, that is weird.Her awkwardness results in an Axe Accident that gets her fired, but is the sign that changes her life for the better & brings her out of her shell.Although this has a nice ending & message, it's a long way to that result in this slow, strange Film.
November 11, 2011
There were parts that were a little strange. It was at least interesting. Mostly to see how odd she was going to become next. I didn't realize at first she was eating soap, strange. You never do actually figure out what is wrong with her dad, and that is a little annoying, but it does at least have a happy ending.
January 27, 2013
...just a monotonous barrage of incomprehensible thoughts put together to synthesize a depth which eventually is nowhere to be found.
Carlos S.
October 20, 2013
I tried so hard not to punch someone after seeing this movie. DO NOT WATCH! this is suicide for your eyes.
March 25, 2013
Absolute Bollocks, very very hard to watch
February 28, 2013
This movie was fantastically done. While capturing a magnificent, heart-wrenching story full of foreshadowing, somber moments and comedy, An Invisible Sign's actors wonderfully highlight all of its positive traits. Characters, albiet unusual, have great purpose in their actions when given a closer look towards mental illness. This movie is for those who really like them quirky, and is definitely one you can watch over again as so much of the story ties together.

I strongly recommend this film.
January 5, 2013
Assuming you've even heard of An Invisible Sign -- and really, what reason is there for you to have? -- it's probably because you've seen the trailer. I want you to forget about that, as it completely misrepresents the film that I'm talking about here, and if you base your expectations on it, you'll come away sad, in large part because this isn't the quirky, happy movie that the trailer -- and, indeed, the opening scene -- promises. This is a darker film than you expect, and if you're not ready for it, it has the potential to hit you quite hard.

Filmed in 2008 but shelved until 2011, An Invisible Sign stars Jessica Alba as a young woman named Mona, who, at a young age, made a deal with the universe: If it -- God, or whatever -- would fix her father's unexplained mental illness, she would give up everything she enjoyed forever. No tasty food without ruining it, no movies, no music; even if she kissed someone, she'd have to rinse her mouth out with soap afterward. She's now a loner since she decided to stop having friends, and because of this personal decision, she's finally getting kicked out of her parents' house.

Soon enough, she has become the teacher of an elementary school, teaching math because numbers are the only thing that bring her comfort in the world. She lied about finishing college, but that matters little in the grand scheme of things. School is hard, she learns, but eventually finds herself adored by some of her students, including a young girl named Lisa (Sophie Nyweide), whose mother is sick with cancer.

The heart of the story lies with this little girl, who reminds Mona of herself when she was young (and played by Bailee Madison in flashbacks when the film thinks it's important that we see things from when she was much younger). This girl's life is tragic, and it alone is enough to break some hearts. I know that thinking about it now makes my eyes water a little. And seeing Mona completely unable to deal with it, while also seeing the girl's perseverance -- it's something that the trailer does not prepare you for.

There's more to the film than just this, as it's only one way that its message about becoming okay with who you are is going to get through. There's a subplot involving a neighbor (J.K. Simmons) who wears a number with a necklace on it representing how well he's feeling on a particular day -- you know he's sad if he's wearing a 2, but if there's a 15, he's in a good mood -- and a romantic subplot that's completely one-sided given that Mona isn't looking for any happiness; she still thinks that her father will be okay if she doesn't allow herself even one iota of joy.

It's all trying to say something and send a message, which is important, but it's such a drank and sad experience that unless you want to watch a depressing movie, you'll want to watch a different movie. It's not a message that's rare in the movie world, so I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding a happier one. This one definitely isn't for everyone, and while it approaches melodrama at times, I didn't feel like I was ever being manipulated by the story events.

This would all fall apart if it weren't for some pretty good actors, and while I know Jessica Alba gets her yearly Razzie nomination and is generally considered a pretty face and nothing else, she can be good when she commits to a project and the majority of the hate is undeserving in my opinion. Here, she dulls herself down as much as possible (while trying to capture Zooey Deschanel's "quirky" look, to mixed results), and carries the film with her acting, not her looks. While this might not be a career changing movie, it's something that many people need to see in order to convince people that Alba is fine (or go watch the couple of seasons Dark Angel got).

Holding her own as well is young Sophie Nyweide, whose character has had life throw frank knuckleballs the whole way through, but she keeps trucking on. Child acting isn't supposed to be this good, folks. She shows and evokes emotion, and you really feel for this child thanks to the performance and the situation that the writing presents her with.

When An Invisible Sign doesn't work, it's when it feels like nobody is helping themselves, when the characters frustrate us by doing things that make no sense, when the 96 minute running time makes it feel like we're in too big of a rush, and when the other third grade children get speaking roles, because they're so bad, especially compared to Nyweide. That might sound like a lot, but it doesn't really add up to much when I think about how involved I found myself in the story and how much it made me feel.

An Invisible Sign isn't for everyone. If you aren't in the mood for a dark and sad -- yet still occasionally quirky and funny -- movie, then you'll want to put it aside and watch something happier or funnier. But if you're willing to invest, or if you want a movie to prove that Jessica Alba isn't deserving of all the hate (and really hasn't been for a while, in my opinion), then you'll want to give An Invisible Sign a watch. It's a good movie that you might not have ever heard of, and it's worth the time it takes to sit through it.
July 30, 2012
A really sensible movie about the most precious asset of all: the human mind. It's actually explored in different ways: the father's mental ilness, the old math teacher's moods, the teaching experience with kids, and the main character's own quirkiness. (Spoiler warning - don't read further unless you've seen the movie): I really liked that they took in the little girl at the end... it conveys a message of hope and of love. Let's not forget there are so many children in the world who feel abandoned, lost, who need a family... if this movie can inspire just ONE adoption, it was already worth it.
July 22, 2012
OH MY GOD it's so cute.
May 30, 2012
Beautiful masterpiece depicting that not everyone has to be happy all the time, sometimes it's okay to give up. Alba's character is inspiring and loveable, and you can't help but root for her through her awkward ways.
April 29, 2012
Me gustó, me gustó que existiera una peli sobre esa extraña costumbre de algunas personas de encontrarle números y ubicar la constante en todo. Me sentí menos rara.
March 3, 2012
This was a spectacular, funny, emotional, dramatic, and very touching movie about working with kids in an elementary school. Jessica Alba is A+, and I would recommend this movie to anyone who loves a good story!!!
March 3, 2012
This was such a brilliant movie. Very touching, emotional, and Jessica Alba does an A+ fabulous job on this, working with kids teaching in schools. It was such a cute, dramatic, funny and off the wall movie. I'd recommend it!
February 21, 2012
If you put yourself through this film you have only yourself to blame. Utterly, utterly boring. I'm sure there was a moral at the end of the film but I had rushed off to hospital after poking my eyes to avoid the rest of this abomination
Richard B.
February 4, 2012
Slow paced but ultimately enjoyable film. A little sentimental but nevertheless watchable film with a few moments of genuine interest. I imaginge Jessica Alba would be more proud of this film than most of the other high profile drivel she has appeared in. Well done, young lady.
January 20, 2012
I loved this movie. Its quirky, adorable, and Alba truly plays a new role well, in An Invisible Sign
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