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Igby Goes Down (Widescreen)

Kieran Culkin , Susan Sarandon , Burr Steers    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:DVD
This unconventional film about a teenage boy struggling to escape the crushing pressures in his life defies categorization. While one could describe it as a dark comedy, it is funny only in places, and then in a desperate, cynical way. But it doesn't take itself as seriously as a true drama. "Igby Goes Down" works best as a film that is what it is: the story of Igby (Kieran Culkin), who has been kicked out of every private school his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) has enrolled him in and who goes on the lam to avoid the next one. Igby's father (Bill Pullman) has been in a mental hospital for the past six years, and his mother is a snooty matron dying of breast cancer who spends her time fiercely trying to get Igby into yet another school. His brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is a snobbish self-important Columbia undergrad. Igby's life is truly messed up, and no one can stand to be in his company for long before they feel like hitting him. The one thing Igby has going for him is an often charming wit, and that, combined with so many things beyond his control, endears him to the viewer.
Culkin shows surprising range as Igby, moving convincingly from sarcastic to resourceful to desperate - and back again to sarcastic. Claires Danes is spunky and perfectly edgy as the Bennington drop-out Sookie, and Amanda Peet is even better as the sensual non-dancer dancer and junkie Rachel. Jeff Goldblum turns in a fine performance as DH, Igby's godfather, who, as Oliver says, is finely-tuned for only one thing: making money. Susan Sarandon seems to float through this movie until the end, when she, too, reveals astonishing aspects of her character. Every last character is this film is quirky.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CRACKLING DIALOG IN A GRITTY BOHEMIAN DARK COMEDY April 18 2004
Format:DVD
If you enjoy narratives like American Beauty or Catcher in the Rye, you must watch this under-rated dramedy. Sufficiently quaint characters, a murky and disturbing story that manages to hold up because of its laconic wit, and a brilliant cast all round.
Culkin does fairly well in his role as a precocious kid who school-hops more often than he change his clothes, hates his quirky family (mother, father, brother all roles played by A-list stars), and eventually goes on the lam.
On the run in the big city, he meets up with various eccentrics: he finds refuge with his godfather's trophy girlfriend, a heroin addict played by Amanda Peet and her arty, bizarre friends. When this relationship sours he finds better solace with Sookie Saperstein (Claire Danes), a bored, ironic college student temporarily on the run from college.
It may be flawed and occasionally embittering. It may be (intentionally) artsy and ultimately obscure. But this stunning debut is an absolutely watchable treat that I'd recommend in a blink if you care about cinema that evokes thought.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much! Feb. 20 2004
Format:DVD
There could have been a great movie here, maybe even two great movies, but there's too much on the plate. The obvious comparison would be with "Catcher in the Rye" but the action in that is compressed into a short period of time, whereas "Igby" has enough backstory and sequel story to fill a mini-series, much less an hour and a half movie! The film is truly exhilarating from the moment Igby jumps out of the limo to escape prep school to the moment he catches his Godfather with his pants down -- I would have liked to have seen the movie concentrate those months and not try so hard to paint a larger canvas. The filmmaker/writer can't resist a clever line or poignant situation until the whole thing collapses in melodrama. It's even untrue to the "black comedy" it attempts, backing away from the provocative first scene to make it almost sentimental and giving Igby a very mechanistic explanation for being so difficult. The middle section deserves to be amplified and I think there's also a good movie about a disfunctional family with a schizophrenic dad and an uptight mom in here but this isn't it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling coming-of-age tale Jan. 9 2004
Format:DVD
When Igby Goes Down hit theatres last year it disappeared despite its stellar cast and positive reviews. It's not really a movie to everyone's taste that's true, but this slice of Catcher In The Rye-type teenage angst is never short of compelling. The story has Igby (Culkin) being kicked out of every school his mother Mimi (Sarandon) places him in, eventually dropping out to experience the boredom, despair and decadence of those around him.
The acting is pitch perfect. Kieran Culkin makes you honestly believe that he was born to play a role like this, a young man desperate to never conform, terrified that any passion in him will be crushed in the same way his father's (Pullman) spirit was obliterated, eventually landing him in an institution. Sarandon, as ever, lends the proceedings some class as the rich snobby mother who cares not one jot for her family. Goldblum plays the confident man surprisingly well considering his past affinity at playing the nervous type in movies such as The Fly. Ryan Phillipe impresses again in a role in which he's dangerously close to being typecast in - the upper-class snob. His roles in Gosford Park and Cruel Intentions were great, and it's clear here that he should stick to fare such as this rather than trash like Antitrust. I'd never seen Amanda Peet in anything before this but she plays her drug-addled character (really a symbol of the very depths of despair, something Igby wishes to experience but doesn't want to overrule him) so well that it can't belong before she becomes a bigger star. Clare Danes seems to gradually be clawing a comeback with small roles like this and in The Hours. She's perfect for the role and, importantly, we can see why Igby would be attracted to her charatcer.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic movie
I cant believe how closely this resembled my high school life going to a new england prep school-the same angst..the weight that Igby talks about...the end of innocence. Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by Aprajita Veronica Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars What Kind of Name is Igby?
The kind of name a person named Sookie should not be asking about. In high school we have all read The Catcher in the Rye and we all for some odd reason really liked it well Igby... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Rachel
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but what's up this video?!
Did I get the wrong video somehow? One of the best things about this movie (in the theatre) was the haunting refrain that you could also hear on the Igby Goes Down website. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother...
The sometimes stellar acting cannot save this film from itself. I went in expecting something great, especially from all the hype that enveloped this movie during it's theatrical... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004 by M. Neal
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age with emotional neglect...
Jason "Igby" Slocumb, jr., a 17-year old misfit with a sense of irony, is struggling with his emotionally aloof family where his father has been institutionalized, his mother is a... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by Kim Anehall
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent "Catcher"
"Igby" has a quick wit and darkly comic mentality that set it apart from just about everything I've seen lately. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2003 by Anonymous
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreck
I had to post a review after seeing that the Amazon editors chose this empty, unwatchable movie as one of the best DVDs of 2003. Who are these editors? Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Alex Lubertozzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Kieran grows up
Most people remember Kieran Culkin as Fuller from the Home Alone movies or the little brother in the Father of the Bride flicks or simply as playing young Mac in several movies. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by K. Hardaway
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Igby Goes Down is a terrific dark dramedy, due mostly to Kieran Culkin's ridiculously sincere performance. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2003 by UniqueChicFreak
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