It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Review by Thomas W. Campbell
On September 14, 2010 I did a Q & A with cast and crew of It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The filmmaking partners Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were young, sharp, engaging and fun and Emma Roberts, of Nancy Drew fame, was engaging as well. Zack Galifianakis came in late (others have done it, we’re just glad to have you here) and then pretended to fall asleep the moment he sat down. It was perplexing, and extra fun when he finally woke up. They cared about the small film and we discussed the research and character work that were part of the film experience.
Link to original NBR review
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is kind of a comedy about a subject that isn’t easy to find the humor in. The main characters – Craig, a suicidal 16 year old boy, Bobby, a suicidal 40-something man, and Noelle, a 17 year old girl with her own problems – find each other in a Brooklyn psychiatric ward where their lives become intertwined. Based on a novel by Ned Vizzini, who ended up in a psychiatric ward himself because of the pressures to repeat the success of his first book, Funny Story is the third feature film written and directed by the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
As in Boden and Fleck’s previous features, Half-Nelson and Sugar, the theme is one of discovery and overcoming odds. The story is told from the point-of-view of Craig, who checks himself into a mental hospital only to discover that the youth ward is closed to renovation and he will have to stay with the adults. Craig is a middle class boy with too much pressure on his shoulders. Surprised and overwhelmed to have been accepted into the most elite private school in Manhattan he has become an outsider among his own friends. Adding to his angst, the girl he likes has become his best friend’s girlfriend and his father relentlessly pressures him about career achievement. And he seems to have a chemical imbalance for which he has stopped taking his medication.