Saturday, August 12, 2017

Brigsby Bear

Another great movie, funny and very tender, even though it comes out of an odd place. James is kidnapped as a baby and brought up by a couple with very strange ideas - they keep him locked inside, believing the air outside is toxic and that the only TV show is something called Brigsby Bear - a stuffed toy super hero which has obviously played a big part in James growing up with a well developed sense of morality and a good education. This is entire world for 25 years! Every single episode of Brigsby Bear were made by James' "dad" (it has some kind of resonance that he is played by Mark Hamill).
Finally the police "rescue" him (he's actually not keen on the idea) and re-unite him with his real family - a sulky teen sister, Audrey, and parents who want the best for him but who are at a loss.

Oddly enough, it is Audrey who is his salvation - she is ostensibly going to a sports game and is told to take James with her. She's really going to a party - where James gets high and a bit plastered, but talks at length about Brigsby Bear - some of the other kids (they're quite a bit younger than him) get very keen on the bear. So too does the policeman who is tasked with looking after James. So, when James gets the idea to make a movie about Brigsby, he has lots of helpers - Spencer is a camera man, the cop steals lots of props from the evidence room and so on. There is so much optimism, a total belief that they can do this, that its heart-warming. James has his very first sexual encounter - the girl is very enthusiastic, but he has no idea why she puts her hand inside his pants.

Of course, there are obstacles - a therapist (played by Clare Danes) things James has to move on from Brigsby and when he doesn't, his parents have him put in an institution, and another cop puts an end to matters by returning the Brigsby Bear head to the lock up. This seemed really wrong to me, as making the film was his way of re-adjusting - luckily his parents saw some of the footage and came to the same understanding.

The movie ends with the screening of the film - James finally loses his nerve so badly that he can't actually watch it, he's so worried people won't like it.



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