Brigsby Bear

Critics Consensus

Audiences attuned to Brigsby Bear's strange frequency will be moved by its earnest -- and endearingly original -- approach to pop culture's impact and the creative urge.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 158

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,936
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Movie Info

Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children's TV show produced for an audience of one: James (Kyle Mooney). When the show abruptly ends, James' life changes forever, he sets out to finish the story himself and must learn to cope with the realities of a new world that he knows nothing about.

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Critic Reviews for Brigsby Bear

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (33)

Audience Reviews for Brigsby Bear

  • Nov 18, 2018
    You know, it's interesting to me that this movie was released the same year as The Disaster Artist as both share a lot of the same themes. Granted, I feel that, at their cores, both films are also quite different from one another. For one, in the Disaster Artist, Tommy Wiseau was not kidnapped as a newborn and, essentially, held hostage in this underground bunker by his abductors and raised as their own, told that he is on an inhospitable planet where they need gas masks to even be able to breathe the air in the outside world. Tommy Wiseau also did not have his 'father' produce a long-running educational show, with his own money, called Brigsby Bear, which is the only thing that James (in this movie at least) has to connect with anyone from the 'outside world'. Essentially, Brigsby Bear is the only thing that James has as, again, his parents shield him from ever going outside. Well, of course, you know what happens. Cops arrest Ted and April, the people who abducted him, and James is sent off with his real parents, to live in the real world for the first time. So, yes, perhaps in terms of narrative, Disaster Artist and this one couldn't be more different, the former seems to be more about following your dreams, no matter how many people close the doors on you. While this movie, on the other hand, is about the bonds that James form with people around him based on their shared love of the show he grew up watching as a kids. So, while The Disaster Artist is definitely about the creative process and achieving one's dreams, this movie is more about the bonds you form with people, however big or small they may be, throughout the forms of entertainment we come to enjoy. I've formed friendships with people based on our shared love of horror movies, so it definitely hits on something real. Though, to be fair, I do think The Disaster Artist hit upon the shared experience of people enjoying The Room, as bad as it was, and coming together because of it. But I do think this movie is more about the shared experiences first and a love of the creative process itself, slightly, second. As if the rating wasn't obvious, I really enjoyed this movie a lot. Honestly, upon having finished watching it, the first thing that came to my mind was how lovely this film truly was. It's one of those movies that will put a sincere smile on your face thanks to its characters, its writing and its tone. There are no real villains in the film (even the people that abducted him, as illegal as what they did was, seemed to legitimately care for him) and, while the film might not be laugh-out-loud hilarious, its heart and emotionally resonant lead character shines through. What I do love about the movie, and there's a lot to like here, was how they use Brigsby Bear as a plot device for James' journey to, really, come-of-age. Given that he's led his entire life being sheltered from the real world, it should be obvious that he is in a state of *Ron Howard voice* arrested development. So that journey of adjustment from the insulated world where he grew up in versus the real world is one that's intriguing to watch. And the thing about it is that Kyle Mooney, who plays James, is performs the role completely earnestly. He's not looking to make fun of James or people like James. That's the best approach to this type of character, because they could have, quite easily, made fun of James for his peculiarities and use that as the driving force of the movie, but they didn't. This just so happened to be the way that he was and it's about exploring the dynamic between the fake world he lived in, the real world he now finds himself in and how Brigsby Bear, in a lot of ways, is the bridge between those two vastly different worlds. That's another thing about the movie, while James' biological parents feel that going on with this Brigsby movie is bad for his mental health, as a result of the fact that it might take him back to when he was abducted, in reality, while Brigsby Bear is still very much part of his life, he needs the show and its characters in order to connect with people in the real world. Finishing the Brigsby Bear movie, ultimately, allows him to find closure to that part of his life when he was held hostage by the people he believed to be his parents and allow him to move on with his life and go on to something new. To me, it's really strong storytelling. Because, again, Brigsby Bear is the bridge to James' past and his future. As much as his parents might not want him to go back to that, and they eventually do come around, he needed Brigsby as much in the real world, at least for a little while, until he bonded with people, became friends with them, etc, etc, etc. Again, I really love the way the story is told, all of the characters are likable, even if some (mostly his biological sister) are obviously not that accepting of James initially. The cast is great all around and, really, one thing that was weird to me, completely unrelated to the movie, was how much Greg Kinnear looked like a younger Mark Hamill, who's also in this movie and plays Ted (who abducted James along with his wife). I don't know if it was done on purpose, to have a similar father-ish figure in James' life as he transitions to his new life with his real parents, but it is something worth noting. Seriously though, the entire cast is great and this movie benefits from their efforts. With that said, however, the movie never reaches a great territory. It really falls just incredibly shy of that. Like, if I were doing quarter scores, this would be a clear 7.5. It's a really damn good movie, but it's never great and I don't know why. I guess some people, not me, would dislike this movie because of its perceived indie quirk, which is an unfair criticism. Sometimes indie quirk CAN be overbearing, that's not what I'm saying, but what I am saying is if you enjoy the movie, then who gives a shit??? Let people say what they say, as long as you enjoy it. Regardless, I don't know, I don't feel comfortable saying this is great. With that said, however, this is such a good and really quite lovely movie. A celebration of how, really, we connect through pop culture and the creative urges those creators feel when they put pen to paper or what have you. I would, quite easily, recommend this movie, particularly if you're feeling down. This will cheer up even the grumpiest of people. Not Hitler, though. Fuck that guy.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2018
    There's not a single note in this Spike Jonze wannabe Sundance indie that rings true or plausible, as it plods along with serious tonal issues until reaching a stupid ending in which the characters behave in ways that are completely incoherent with what we just saw from them.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2017
    A commentary on those souls whose lives are all but empty but for immersion into fantasy worlds wrought by skilful (or not) creators. The set-up here is interesting if unrealistic, while the follow-through is more movie-of-the-week than serious insight. Still the point is a salient one, insuring timeliness.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2017
    Brigsby Bear is a one-of-a-kind, uplifting film filled with sincerity. It's quirkiness may turn some audiences away - but it is by far one of the most original films of 2017.
    Sean T Super Reviewer

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