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Igby Goes Down
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that they should think twice about letting young teens watch this film. The hero suffers much emotional and physical abuse at the hands of authority figures. The film features teens and adults abusing alcohol, as well as illegal and prescription drugs. It also includes semi-graphic scenes of teenage sex and extramarital affairs. The characters use profane language freely. The film starts and ends with the assisted suicide of a character.
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What's the story?
IGBY GOES DOWN tells the dark story of a trust fund baby (Kieran Culkin), whose family includes an abusive and insensitive mother ( Susan Sarandon), a depressive father in residence at the "Maryland home for the befuddled" (Bill Pullman), and his nasty overachieving older brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe). Flunking out of school and smoking whatever he can find, Igby heads to New York to work for his godfather (Jeff Goldblum). In the city, Igby finds escape in a waitress (Claire Danes) and a drugged up artist (Amanda Peet). New York turns out to be less than the haven Igby had hoped for. He must navigate family secrets, disdain for his dying mother, and drug abuse as he tries to find himself.
Is it any good?
Igby Goes Down is a perfect vehicle for the depressed Generation Y teen. Only Kids can make this film seem like an upper. Full of trauma at the hands of deceitful and abusive adults, the film constructs the adolescent as almost helpless to the whims of those in power. The film lacks wholly redeemable characters. Even our hero -- stoned, escapist, and self-centered -- fails to come off as very likable.
However, this film has an engaging narrative and interesting (if not very nice) characters. The music of bands such as Coldplay and the Dandy Warhols underscores the edgy teen angst. Nominated for the Golden Globe, Culkin (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) does a fine star turn as the troubled Igby and proves to be more than just a footnote in the Culkin brood.
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