Sucking in Various Ways
At 17 Justin (Lou Taylor Pucci) is screwed up and likes to suck his thumb. It is little wonder that he is so screwed up when his mum acts like a teenager with a crush on a TV star and his father who whilst knowing that Justin needs to stop sucking his thumb struggles to communicate with him. It doesn't help that Justin goes to seek advice from his dentist Perry (Keanu Reeves) who after giving him a lot of hippy psycho babble about connecting with his inner animal then prescribes him drugs to help with his thumb sucking addiction. The drugs seems to have a profound effect on Justin whilst all those around him change as well.
I had never heard of "Thumbsucker" before I watched it and I did a quick browse to get an idea of what it was about. One person commented that this was a movie full of real people and I thought well that will make a change from the normal Hollywood types. But the truth is very different as "Thumbsucker" doesn't feature real people but Hollywood's vision of what screw ups are like and as such whilst Justin may look like a typical moody teen his strange habits are anything but real nor is his mum's infatuation with a TV star and as for Keanu Reeves' hippy dentist it is anything but real.
But the lack of realistic characters was not that big of a problem when it came to "Thumbsucker" the biggest problem is that it is seriously dull. Moody teenage sucks thumb, dad gets annoyed, he seeks help, ends up on drugs and drugs causes things to change, not just for Justin but those around them. The trouble is that none of the characters are interesting, none are sympathetic and none make us care for them so when they start to change it fails to interest us.
Now in fairness "Thumbsucker" isn't a mainstream movie and it certainly has a storyline built around character development, something which usually entertains me. But because director Mike Mills presents us with such an uninteresting and unreal bunch the character development fails to be entertaining. The knock on effect of this is his message he is trying to get across about the ease in which children are prescribed medication is less than subtle.
What this all boils down to is that "Thumbsucker" is an acquired tasted and it turns out it wasn't for this movie fan. Maybe I expected more realism; maybe I expected more interesting characters due to the cast but for what ever reason "Thumbsucker" just failed to entertain me.