Monday, April 18, 2011

Grainy Greenberg

B+ (8.2)

Picture this. You're a man who's in his 40s. You have accomplished nothing, do not care about life, refuse to do anything social because it has moral implications but you just got out from a mental hospital. This is a life where no human being would take even if he has mental health issues.

Ben Stiller is Roger Greenberg, a New Yorker in his 40s who arrives at Los Angeles to house keep his brothers house while he and his family are on vacation. He's unemployed, but works as a carpenter. He does nothing, has no ambition, but at least he's write complaint letters to companies, which is doing something (insert sarcasm). He meets up with his former bandmate (Rhys Ifan) who suprisingly still talk to him despite Greenberg responsible for breaking up the band. As he cannot tolerate parties, he doesn't want to talk to people, he wants to find a connection. He forces himself to connecting with his brother's personal assistant Florence (Greata Gerwig) where it's her whose trying to restart his life.

Greenberg is the omega male. Opposite to the alpha male, he's the lowest person of the male social structure. He doesn't want to be held responsible, socially inept and doesn't want to keep up with his peers. Ben Stiller nails this intriging character study. You don't need to like his character because of his anti-social and possibly strange behaviour, but at least you could understand why he's doing it because he's a damaged person who suffer from anxiety. Greenberg may be autistic (in that case he's Aspergers) since he doesn't want to adopt to social gatherings yet he's intelligent in many things (which may be the only positive note of the character).

A film directed by Noah Baumbach whose a frequent collaborator with Wes Anderson, the dude knows dysfunction to his characters and it is well written and so has it been directed. The supporting cast is also great especially Greta Gurwig whose character's in and out of a relationship who's on the verge of becoming an "it"girl and the best thing is that she kindly reflects on Greenberg who can be at times prickly. Rhys Ifans does a good job, but I really want to see more of his presence of his character.

I myself reflect to Greenberg. Like him, he hates everything around his world. Like him, I want to find a connection. And like him, he quotes "hurt people hurt people" which I do.

IF you don't enjoy characters whose behaviours are certainly strange yet they are perfectly norman, then you're not going to like this film. But if you have anxiety or who want to connect with people and at the same time forget about the past, see this movie.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is a film I am highly interested in. I heard that it was Stiller's best performance, which made me instantly want to see it, but unfortunately I have not gotten to it yet. But it is on my list! Great review, and nice blog.