Igby Goes Down (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes, Ryan Phillippe
Director: Burr Steers

IGBY GOES DOWN is difficult to categorize. It’s not really a comedy and certainly not a romance. If anything it probably comes under the definition of a coming-of-age movie but from the point of view of a youth who’s extremely mixed-up… far more so than most teenagers and who’s from a privileged background.

Igby (Kieran Culkin) has dropped out of boarding school, disappeared from his socialite mother’s (Susan Sarandon) grasp, misses his institutionalised father (Bill Pullman) and has a love-hate relationship with his elder brother Ollie (Ryan Phillippe).

He does however manage to be successful with very attractive girls, in particular older girls, as he beds not only Sookie (Claire Danes) but also his rich godfather’s mistress Rachel (Amanda Peet).

This is where the film really is completely unbelievable in that 17 year-old Igby would get even a shot at dating two gorgeous older women like Sookie and Rachel let alone having sex on a regular basis with them.

IGBY GOES DOWN is a strange movie. It has appeal but I can’t say I really enjoyed it that much. Kieran Culkin certainly plays Igby very well, Ryan Phillippe almost recreates his role from CRUEL INTENTIONS, Claire Danes is the most normal person and looks great as does Amanda Peet who is always entertaining.

In fact all the cast seem to nail their parts spot on and yet as the film is only about a short period in Igby’s life and the events that let him pass from one stage to the next, you can’t help leaving the theatre like you’ve been short-changed.

3 out of 6 stars