Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.
Thumbsucker is the film that we nearly didn't get to see. First time director Mike Mills had Elliot Smith on board to do the soundtrack and after he committed suicide, the director shelved the project. It wasn't until Mills saw The Polyphonic Spree and met Tim the lead singer that he saw a way to let the film see the light of day. So here with a brilliant soundtrack by both the Spree and Smith is a quietly subtle take on the life of a disenfranchised teenager and his diagnosis of attention deficit disorder due to his lack of energy and still sucking his thumb at his age. What unfolds is a beautiful tale of inspiration and aspirations in the minds of humans of all ages from teachers to dentists, mothers to drug addicts. Shot not unlike Solondz 'Palindromes' or Gondry's 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' it is at times touching and funny. Keanu Reeves is particularly funny as the hippie health freak but elsewhere all the performances are good. If you like little films with little messages then you'll love this movie. A subtle look at life through the eyes of the array of characters portrayed. Music video director Mills has produced a cracking debut and on the strength of this should go on to greater things, not unlike the thumb sucking central character in this film.
I simply have no idea what this film is about. I understand the plot of course, but what this film is saying about adolescence or parenting or the over-medication of today's youth is still a mystery to me. One reviewer remarked that unlike other coming-of-age films, this film tracks the effect of the adjustments adolescents make along the way. I find this comment both insightful and perplexing. It is true that the film denies its character easy solutions, but the ending implies that the ultimate answer lies in escape, independence, and time, all of which amount to, in my mind, an easy solution. Is the film simply saying that yes, adolescence is difficult, but it eventually ends? I don't know.
Overall, I think there's something interesting going on here, but it's escaped me.
I liked this film though. It's good. It sort of felt maybe a tad precious here and there, but overall, it's a nice (and fairly realistic...to a degree) take on dealing with insecurities. The best things going for it are probably the music and the acting. There's some really good (and nuanced) performances on display. Yes, that even includes Keanu. He's pretty funny, but I wished there was more of his character. Vince Vaughn is also good, if a little creepy. That may have been the point though.
Anywho, this is one worth taking a look at. It's a tad surreal, but it IS supposed to be an offbeat indie comedy, so there you go. This one gets a solid B.
A little bit like Running With Scissors, but better in my opinion.
Director: Mike Mills
Summary: Teenager Justin Cobb (Lou Taylor Pucci) has an embarrassing secret: He still sucks his thumb. Berated by his father (Vincent D'Onofrio) for the childish habit and unable to confide in anyone, Justin lets his loopy orthodontist (Keanu Reeves) try hypnosis. Trouble is, it works almost too well, and before long, Justin needs another crutch to keep his angst at bay.
My Thoughts: "A quirky, odd, but yet interesting story. Its an adolescence film to sum it up. Its about a boy who sucks his thumb as a habit to keep all his misery at bay. When that doesn't help anymore, he's on to the next fix. He really is just searching for something to make him feel OK, normal. But none of us are. So his search is never ending until he finally comes to the conclusion that being himself is OK. That he doesn't need to change and try to be someone he isn't for others. So in the end, its just about accepting who you are. It was a good film with great acting, some great quirky characters, and a great group of actors who pulled it all off. Maybe not a film for most. But give it try."