Imaginary Heroes Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 1, 2009
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Emile Hirsch, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Williams, Kip Pardue, Deirdre O'Connell, Ryan Donowho, Suzanne Santo, Jay Paulson

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."
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2011
This family drama should have focused more on the emotional impact of the tragedy on the characters. Instead it goes for artificial conflicts and pathetic clichés, suffering also from an excess of information with many unnecessary details added at each moment to create new useless twists.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2011
Such a tough topic, but Sigourney Weaver is the Lifetime movie character actor of real movies. Great acting from all of the cast, but the subject is not a cheerful one.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2010
Full of genuine emotion, powerhouse performances, and tender writing. Dan Harris' film is honest, dark and extremely thought provoking.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2010
"Look at the stars. Same stars as last week. Last year. When we were kids. When we weren't even born. In a hundred years, no one will ever know who we were... They'll know those same stars."

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?
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2007
Pretty standard post American Beauty depression in the suburbs faire. Great performance by Weaver
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2007
A dysfunctional family deal with the suicide of it's golden boy son in differing ways in a low-key indie-style drama that's not as funny or clever as it thinks it is, but it contains some sensitive performances and is delivered with a light comic touch. Makes a nice change from the usual kind of weepy melodrama you expect from this kind of subject matter.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "Imaginary Heroes", Matt Travis(Kip Pardue) is a great swimmer but hates swimming with a passion. His suicide shakes the Travis family down to the core. In an attempt to get away from the misery for a while, the younger son, Travis(Emile Hirsch), goes to a party where he shows off some mysterious bruises to his girlfriend and crashes a car in a drunken attempted getaway...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[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]
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2007
Well, I watched this not knowing anything about it except that Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Williams were in it, which was enough for me to warrant it a place on my rental queue. If I was to compare it to anything else I've seen, I guess Moonlight Mile and The Squid and the Whale spring to mind, but it's definitely an original in its own right. A slow pace that drip-feeds info that doesn't seem relevant until later is a risky approach, and for the first half-hour I was seriously considering switching it off and doing something else. It wasn't because it was boring, far from it, but I was guessing where things were heading and the quirkiness of it was pissing me off a bit. It's not until the New Year scene that things really begin to kick off, the story begins to take shape and character motivations start to become clear. I can't pretend to be unbiased here - a lot of things that happen are spookily resonant from my own experiences - and the climax of the New Year scene onwards I was gripped until the (slightly uneasy) hopeful ending. Plainly but effectively shot, there a few loose ends here which seem the result of some deleted scenes that could do with being put back in, Imaginary Heroes is above all excellently acted. We've all seen movies with the cool parent figure dealing with grief by having a crisis and turning to pot, but Sigourney Weaver's performance puts a fresh spin on a potentially clichéd character. Jeff Daniels initially seems like he's going to be a bore but pulls things together, and there's a moment towards the end here where I was sure I knew how the confrontation with Tim (Emile Hirsch) was going to go down and was surprised and moved when the opposite happened. Sadly, Michelle Williams only has a small role but even so makes an impact whenever she's on screen. Biggest surprise of all is Emile Hirsch, who is simply superb here as Tim - I'm beginning to warm to him as an actor after dismissing him as just another pretty boy. Shame on me. EDIT: After watching The Mudge Boy and noticing some thematic similarities (although the actual tone, setting and style are completely different), I wouldn't be surprised if Emile Hirsch was cast based on his strength in that picture, and he's equally good here.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2013
Not sure how I felt about this movie. Small twist at the end that proves things and people aren't always what they seem.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2009
Good story with some excellent acting efforts a movie of a very dysfuctional family
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2008
Typical family disfunction movie but I still liked it.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2008
I loved this movie. It was sad, quirky, endearing, and eventually redeeming. All of the actors were amazing and really brought this story to life.
February 23, 2012
There's not a lot of plot development in this movie, so I can imagine it won't appeal to everyone, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The acting is great, the family dynamic is realistic, and this is overall a really interesting character study. It's very slow moving and not entirely satisfying, but it's good nonetheless.
December 9, 2010
I would give this movie 6 stars just for the casting alone, if that were possible. Any film that has Emile Hirsch in it is going to be among my favorites, but add Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels, and the awe-inspiringly-beautiful Ryan Donowho and it's going to be...well, right where it is, in my top 3 films.
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2009
The year following a tragic loss lets us in on many family secrets. This excellent family drama shows real life highs and lows, strength and weekness. It shows that life is not always the picture perfect little story, all tied up in ribbons, too many people think it is. Life can be very very difficult, and for some of us it's a struggle just making it day to day. I appreciate this film. I thought it was an excellent story...told really well.
½ October 16, 2008
Dark humor and well defined characters and performances raise this introspective film to a good commentary on the human condition.
June 27, 2007
possibly my favorite film of all time. so emotional and deep. fantastic, pure acting from everyone involved. this film holds a lot of meaning in my life.
March 21, 2007
This movie is becoming one of my favorites. The plotline is great esp. Emile Hirsch's performance.
(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."
Tim: "Why?"
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."
March 9, 2007
I dont think I've ever seen a movie like this. I bought it for myself on my birthday maybe a year or two ago and I fell in love w/ it right away.
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