Thumbsucker (2005)


When I didn’t get tickets to Dave Chapelle’s Block Party film I chose Thumbsucker (2005) as an alternate. I was a little skeptical at first but a TIFF veteran felt it would be a good film so I added it to my list of picks. He was right. Thumbsucker didn’t suck.

Director Mike Mills, Lou Pucci (the thumbsucker), Tilda Swinton and Keanu Reeves were on hand to introduce the film. Keanu watched the film in the audience which just added to the excitement. I’ve never seen so many flash bulbs go off at a movie.

Thumbsucker is a great film that I think will strike a chord with younger audiences. Some of the older, crusty film critics won’t enjoy the film but don’t pay any attention to them. Thumbsucker is an enjoyable story about an awkward teen who is trying to discover himself, fit in with his peers, seeking the approval and love of his parents.

At times the lead character reminded me of Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous. Lou Pucci does an excellent job in the lead role creating a believable character.

Keanu Reeves provides some great laughs as a hippie, new-age orthodontist. Then there is a Vince Vaughan playing a teacher. I’m sure he was trying to restrain himself but he comes off as being hilarious in his scenes. Thank goodness he was used sparingly. Benjamin Bratt also has some funny moments that will make you laugh out loud, or maybe cringe.

Thumbsucker is beautifully shot and edited. There is interesting use of focus, lingering lens flare in long panning shots, and what I will call the “medication sequence”. The music is also quite effective throughout the film—Eliot Smith and The Polyphonic Spree.

If you aren’t attending the film festival in Toronto this year then you’re in luck. You can see Thumbsucker in theatres starting this Friday. After a dismal summer season of flops, Thumbsucker will kick off what looks to be a promising fall season for films.

Posted in 2005 TIFF and Movie Reviews at 11:05 AM