For anyone who has read the novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini, you will understand when I say that this story was destined to become a movie. When I first began seeing trailers for this movie, I became very eager for its release. The book tells the profound story of a depressed teenager, Craig Gilner, who has had enough with the chaos of high school and nearly commits suicide. He checks himself into the mental health ward at a local hospital, and, over the course of five days, is exposed to people with any sort of mental illness you can think of.
I went into the movie theater trying as hard as I could not to let my love for the book hinder my critique. Almost as soon as the film began, I knew something was wrong. I soon discovered that, even if I hadn't read the book, the beginning of the movie was very incoherent. Craig (Keir Gilchrist) wakes up from a troubling dream, proclaims himself to be suicidal and checks himself into the hospital within the first five minutes of the film. This leaves the audience wondering. Why is he suicidal? What does the dream mean? How long has he been suicidal? The list goes on.
As the movie progressed, it gradually became more entertaining and more consistent with the book. The characters were developed with such authenticity, I was instantly projected into the neurotic world of Craig Gilner. I found myself laughing at nothing and everything all at once with the characters, all while I was introduced to the profound message that was slowly unfolding for the main character.
This films was so captivating because the casting was impeccable. For example, Zach Galifianakis' performance is an astounding example of the success that can emerge when an actor strays out of his/her comfort zone. His degree of excellence came out of nowhere, and his portrayal of the bipolar, disturbed Bobby was flawless. Even the supporting roles were cast to such an extent that I can do nothing but applaud them.
The only issue I have with the movie, unfortunately, is Craig, the main character. Gilchrist certainly looks the part of an awkward, confused, hormonally imbalanced teenager. However, his performance seems as if he was recruited directly out of a middle school production. There were parts of the movie where I genuinely wanted to like him, but the artificial nature of his acting made it very difficult. Aside from a few high points throughout the movie, I feel the role could have been played better with more professional coaching.
Fans of the novel will most likely leave the theater halfway pleased. Nevertheless, the film has the potential to captivate anyone who comes with an open mind and the ability to appreciate the small details of a story.
Danielle Grimm is a sophomore at Clarence High School.
"It's Kind of a Funny Story"
3 stars (out of 4)