Igby Goes Down [2002]

Many movies strive to capture the confused, yearning spirit of The Graduate or The Catcher in the Rye; Igby Goes Down succeeds. Igby (Kieran Culkin) is a teen struggling to find any purpose or meaning to his life; surrounding him are his tyrant mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon), schizophrenic father Jason (Bill Pullman), wealthy and deceitful godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum), and cold brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe)--all of whom have their own problems. While evading being sent to yet another boarding school, Igby seeks solace with two women: Rachel (Amanda Peet), a drug-addicted dancer who's D.H.'s mistress, and Sookie (Claire Danes), a college student who becomes perhaps his only friend. Culkin carries the film, ably supported by the superb cast; script, direction, and performances are razor sharp. Igby Goes Down doesn't let anyone--including Igby--off the hook for their cruelty, hypocrisy, or lack of empathy. --Bret Fetzer

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