Learning with It's Kind of a Funny Story

Grab onto this smart, funny coming-of-age film now.

The writing and directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck swings for the mainstream fences with a setting---a mental ward---that sounds more suited to its first film, Half Nelson. But it’s actually an earnest coming-of-age story toeing the saucy-sweet Juno line, including animated sequences, copious indie rock, cable-minted stars and a fantasy dance number. It begins on a literal precipice, as depressed teen Craig (a very fine Keir Gilchrist, Toni Collette’s son on The United States of Tara) checks himself into the hospital. The teen ward is under construction, so he’s up with the real crazies on the adult floor. His roommate hasn’t left his bed in months. The cute girl his age (Emma Roberts) is a self-mutilating mess. The de facto leader is Zach Galifinakis. Being thrust into an adult world alone is scary enough for a teenager, but Craig is faced with an extra level of mental illness---it’s the thing that makes him realize he’s just another overdramatic teen, but pushes him to grow up faster than his pothead peers. Schizophrenia is for life, but adolescence will pass---grab onto this smart, funny film now.

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