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Full Review

Harry Potter in New York.
No wait, that's Igby

Igby Goes Down

Guide Rating -  


While J.D. Salinger and his Holden Caulfield positively own the territory of runaway upper class malcontents in New York, this funny and touching film does justice to the genre. Igby Slocumb (Kierkan Culkin) is the rebellious, wealthy, and attractive malcontent. He hates school and has a skill for getting kicked out of one after the next. He hates his pill-popping mother (Susan Sarandon) and he also hates his older, upstanding, republican brother (Ryan Phillipe). His beloved father, played by Bill Pullman, is a schizophrenic who has spent the last decade in a mental institution. When it all becomes too much, Igby goes on the lam.

On the run in the big city, Igby 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 becomes problematic he finds better solace with Sookie Saperstein (Claire Danes), a bored, ironic college student temporarily on the run from college.

First time director Burt Speers has assembled an immensely appealing, A-list cast for an independent film. Jeff Goldblum, as Igby's money-bags godfather, shines as the supreme phony. Claire Danes has grown up since "Romeo & Juliet," and she is a delight to behold after so many years off the screen. Kierkan's younger brother Rory portrays young Igby in tender, effective flashbacks scenes of the boy witnessing his father's breakdown. In one hilarious but otherwise unnecessary scene, Susan Sarandon sits on her maid. Another central character in the film, New York City, looks shiny and inviting. If only all New Yorkers got to live in spacious lofts in Soho, or book lined apartments on the Upper East Side. If only our problems could seem as delicious, sad, and lovely as Igby's.


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