Imaginary Heroes Reviews
Director: Dan Harris
Summary: The seemingly stable Travis family crumbles when one of the children kills himself in this wrenching drama about long-buried secrets and lies, and ties that bind too tightly. Soon after the tragedy, patriarch Ben (Jeff Daniels) distances himself from everyone else, intent on coping with his pain alone; his wife, Sandy (Sigrouney Weaver), turns to pot for release and escape; and their restless son, Tim (Emile Hirsch), longs to be elsewhere.
My Thoughts: "Great movie with a great cast delivering great performances. There is a scene near the end of the movie between Jeff Daniels and Emile Hirsch that just blew me away with the strong emotions it generated through the screen. I felt every bit of it. This movie is relatable to anyone who has lost someone close to them, who feels very small in a big world, or who has never fit in. I am sure we have all had those moments. Loved Weaver's and Hirsch's mother and son relationship. Just a good movie about a family fighting to hold on. Struggling to make sense of life and where it's going, and if they will make it to another day."
The Travis family façade is destroyed by an event incomprehensible to them -- an event which will open locked doors and finally reveal the secrets that have haunted them for decades.
Imaginary Heroes, the remarkable work of the then 24 year-old Dan Harris, is tag-lined "People are never who they seem to be". Perhaps this is wisely chosen as a stratagem of marketing; yet, I rented this movie in spite of the tag-line, rather than because of it. And, I'm glad I did. I found the move an insightful examination of tragedy. I personally found it to be a movie about coping with dreams: particularly those which are lost. In the case of one son, "loss" requires deep examination of what he had, and didn't have, in his life. Yet, the central tragedy of the movie, while posing enticing questions in its own right, acts primarily as the backdrop against which different coping styles are set into relief. I believe the film inquires into an important question: how do we cope with our dreams, particularly where heroes become imaginary?
[font=Century Gothic]"Imaginary Heroes" goes over very familiar ground of an affluent suburban family trying to grieve for the death of a young family member.(Over the course of the movie, the family members all try to disappear either literally or figuratively by controlled substances.) The movie is guilty in trying to tie up all of its loose ends too neatly. There are two eleventh hour revelations - one explains everything while the other is wholly irrelevant. But great performances(particularly by Jeff Daniels) and mordant wit make the film quite respectable. [/font]
There is no finer young actor, and damned few older, than Emile Hirsch. If you haven't seen 'Into The Wild', you really, really ought to. It takes a once-in-a-generation actor to pull off Emile's performance in that movie.
But as for 'Imaginary Heroes', it too will go into my list of movies I'd want if I were stranded on another planet. The kiss scene with Ryan Donowho alone could burn into my TV and I'd be just fine with that. Their interplay was dead on, and I suppose the fact that they wrote and performed a song together in the film says something about their artistic relationship and talent. I love this film.
(Tim and Vern talking in a hospital patient lounge)
Tim: "What happened to you?"
Vern: "Well I've been trying to relocate to a higher plane of life, unsucessfully."
Tim: "You have to cut up and down not across."
Vern: "Yeah, if you don't mind bleeding slowly for five hours."
Vern: "Because there is nothing here that I even remotely care about. I've got nothing to fight for, and if I don't want to live here why should I have to, and I don't care how much better off I am than everyone else, thats not the point."
Tim: "I think you're my new hero."
Vern: "You know one of two things happen when you meet your heroes. Either they're assholes, or they're just like you are. Either way you always lose."