FILM REVIEW The boy who doesn’t get the girl
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a sentimental comedy about teen angst
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Directed by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis
Rated PG-13, now playing
Maybe you didn’t get the girl, and just can’t move on. Or the project you poured your soul into didn’t go as well as you had hoped. All the deadlines and pressures are winding up that knot of anxiety in the pit of your stomach, and you just can’t find any release. As MIT students, we’ve all been there. But what happens when it all becomes too much?
Based on Ned Vizzini’s novel by the same name, It’s Kind of a Funny Story explores the answer to this question by following the experiences of Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a clinically depressed 16-year-old who checks himself into a psychiatric ward after recurring suicidal thoughts. No single dreadful event led him to this point in his life — just the accumulated pressure from his prestigious prep school, father’s high expectations, immature and insensitive friends, and (of course) his unrequited feelings for his best friend’s girlfriend, Nia (Zoë Kravitz).
The course of the plot is clear from the beginning—depressed teen spends time in a mental institution, where other patients show him how petty his problems are and the value of his life. Craig also predictably meets a girl, another patient named Noelle (Emma Roberts), who understands his problems and with whom he can connect. Unsurprisingly enough, by the end of the movie Craig leaves the hospital with a girlfriend, new and repaired friendships, and a brighter outlook on life. However, the story only skims the surface of issues at hand; the details behind the scars on Noelle’s face and wrists are omitted, and status of Craig’s good friend and fellow patient, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), is never revisited once they both leave the hospital.
Despite its predictability and shallow treatment of serious issues, though, the film does a good job of remaining light and entertaining. Between Craig’s unfortunately timed stress vomiting, and the colorful characters of the psychiatric ward, there are plenty of laughs to be had. So, if you’re looking for insight on exactly how to escape the depression that has snuck into your life, or a fresh take on the adolescent romcom format, this film might not be for you. But if you’d like to watch a light, sentimental comedy about the troubles of adolescence, consider It’d Kind of a Funny Story.