Igby Goes Down

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Igby Goes Down
Igby Goes Down.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Burr Steers
Produced by David Rubin
Lisa Tornell
Trish Hofmann
Written by Burr Steers
Starring Kieran Culkin
Claire Danes
Jeff Goldblum
Bill Pullman
Susan Sarandon
Music by Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen
Cinematography Wedigo von Schultzendorff
Edited by William M. Anderson
Robert Frazen
Padraic McKinley
Production
company
United Artists
Atlantic Streamline
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • September 13, 2002 (2002-09-13)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million
Box office $6,919,198

Igby Goes Down is a 2002 comedy-drama film that follows the life of Igby Slocumb, a rebellious and sardonic New York City teenager who attempts to break free of his familial ties and wealthy, overbearing mother. The film was written and directed by Burr Steers, and stars Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillippe, Bill Pullman, and Jared Harris. It was given a limited theatrical release through United Artists on September 13, 2002 in the United States.

Plot[edit]

Jason "Igby" Slocumb, Jr. (Kieran Culkin) is a misanthropic 17-year-old boy, rebelling against the oppressive world of his strict East Coast "old money" family. His schizophrenic father, Jason (Bill Pullman), has been committed to an institution. Igby fears he will eventually suffer a mental breakdown like his father. His mother, Mimi (Susan Sarandon), is self-absorbed and distant. Igby mockingly describes his ambitious older brother Ollie (Ryan Phillippe) as a fascist or, alternatively, a Young Republican, and that he studies "neo-fascism" (economics) at Columbia University.

Igby figures there must be a better life out there, and he sets out to find it, rebelling against his family at every opportunity. After happily flunking out of several prep schools, he ends up in a brutal military academy where he gets beaten by his classmates. After escaping and spending time in a Chicago hotel courtesy of his mother's credit card, Igby is sent to New York for the summer to his godfather D.H. Banes (Jeff Goldblum).

While working construction for D.H., Igby first encounters Rachel (Amanda Peet), his godfather's heroin-addicted trophy mistress. Rather than return to school, he escapes into the bohemian underworld of Manhattan, hiding out with Rachel and her friend Russel. Eventually, he and Rachel have sex. After being suspected and assaulted by D.H., he then hooks up with terminally bored, part-time lover, Sookie (Claire Danes), only for her to later leave him for Ollie.

Despite seeming cold and distant, Mimi is not unaffected by her rebellious son. She describes Igby's conception as an act of animosity and it shouldn't be a surprise that his life follows the same course. His name is explained as a family in-joke. As a child, he would blame his toy bear, Digby, for things he had done, mispronouncing it as "Igby". In order to get him to take responsibility for his actions, his family would call him Igby whenever he lied.

Igby is informed by Russell that his mother Mimi is dying from breast cancer and so he returns to see her. She has arranged to commit suicide with help from Ollie, who poisons her with strawberry yogurt.

Before she dies, Mimi makes a final revelation, casually inquiring of Igby, "I take it you know that D.H. is your father?" Igby leaves for Los Angeles in an attempt to finally make a clean break by getting 3,000 miles away from his family.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Igby Goes Down was filmed in locations throughout New York City, including Central Park, Washington Square Park, and SoHo.

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack was released February 25, 2003 by Spun Records.

  1. "The Weight" – performed by Travis, written by Robbie Robertson
  2. "Not You" – Underwater Circus
  3. "Don't Panic" – Coldplay
  4. "Everybody's Stalking" – Badly Drawn Boy
  5. "Bohemian Like You" – The Dandy Warhols
  6. "Anyway" – Jelly Planet
  7. "Frozen Tears" – G. Mittermeier
  8. "Youth is Wasted on the Young" – Krause
  9. "Broken Up a Ding Dong" – Beta Band
  10. "Boys Better" – The Dandy Warhols
  11. "Insanity is Relative" (suite)
  12. "Love and Remembrance" (suite)
  13. "Igby Goes Down" (main theme)

Reception[edit]

Igby Goes Down received positive critical reaction, with a 76% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states: "In the vein of The Catcher in the Rye, Igby Goes Down is scathingly witty and sharply observant"[1] and a 72/100 on Metacritic.[2] Critics have compared aspects of the story to J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye.[3][4][5]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review and a grade of three and a half stars out of four.[6] Stephen Holden gave a strongly positive review in The New York Times, crediting the film with "ruthless emotional honesty" and stating, "Not a false note is sounded."[5] The film was also a New York Times "Critics' Pick."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Igby Goes Down at Rotten Tomatoes
  2. ^ Igby Goes Down at Metacritic
  3. ^ "Igby Goes Down". smh.com.au. 2003-06-07. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  4. ^ "Igby Goes Down :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  5. ^ a b "Movie Review: Igby Goes Down, On the Outs With Almost Everything," Stephen Holden, New York Times, September 13, 2002
  6. ^ Roger Ebert reviews, Igby Goes Down. 20 Sept. 2002

External links[edit]