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Thumbsucker
UKScreen Rating:

Thumbsucker – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Justin (Pucci) is a sweet and innocent high-school kid, with a highly competitive and unsupportive father (D’Onofrio), an unsatisfied mother (Swinton) and an insecurity complex that makes him unable to give up sucking his thumb.
Justin is constantly stressed and too shy to approach the one girl at school he’s ever wanted. His only solace is to retreat to a toilet cubicle, to pop his thumb in his mouth, in private.
He turns to his new-age orthodontist Perry (Reeves) for advice, and ends up on a course of hypnotherapy and medication.
Initially, this all sharpens his mind, but soon, it begins to take its toll as his behaviour gets out of hand, in this offbeat, coming of age movie.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

For a film which is essentially about a shy, unhappy teenager, struggling towards the end of his schooling, against a background of his uncomfortable family life – not the most original territory for independent American movies – it seems surprisingly fresh.
That’s largely thanks to some oddball supporting characters – like Keanu Reeves’s guru, Vince Vaughn’s teacher, Tilda Swinton’s insecure mother and Benjamin Bratt’s TV celebrity, who’s the target of Swinton’s lovesick dreams.
But the stand-out performance in this thoroughly likeable and quirky gem is from Lou Pucci, whose touching turn rightly earned him acting prizes at both Sundance and Berlin.
It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it’s a charming, slightly twisted, new look at the familiar theme of teenage angst.

Opens nationwide on 28th October 2005

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