Starring: Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes, Amanda Peet, and Ryan Phillippe
Directed and Written by: Burr Steers
I started watching Succession and soon went down a rabbit hole of watching interviews and getting to know the cast better. First came Kieran since Roman particularly peaks my interest. I wanted to see what other characters he has played in the past and how much of Roman is in his blood and how much is conjured up by his imagination.
While I have seen Home Alone way too many times to count, I never actually paid attention to any of the characters besides Kevin. Plainly put, his family is annoying and dulls his sparkle, so I grouped them all into one bowl. But this holiday season I watched the film looking out for the little kid with glasses that is the bed wetter of the family, Fuller, played by little Kieran.
So I clicked play and here’s how it went…
It took some time to get into the groove of the story and in tune with the tone. The exposition isn’t direct so I had to collect context clues in order to put the pieces together. However, I enjoyed compiling the puzzle because Igby (Kieran) is just an interesting guy and I wanted to figure him out.
He’s arrogant, but I had fun trying to pinpoint what is so great about himself that he is so proud of? He’s angry, but rich and also poor. His family has money but he doesn’t.
The story is full of contradictions, juxtapositions, falls and elevators, and the structure does a good job at mirroring life’s inconsistencies and its unpaved road. The pace is not fast but I still enjoyed following the exploration of different avenues of Igby’s life in a not so straitjacket pattern.
From the start of the film, it is clear that something fishy is going on between the mother, father, and two sons, but the source of the pungent odor was not exactly clear. As more is revealed, I started to see Igby as a brave young adult instead of a troubled teen reveling in mischief. He is just doing his best to survive and that is something everyone can relate to.
Of course, I have to mention that was watching interviews and saw that adult Kieran was asked about this role. He mentioned how he had no idea what he was really doing at the time, or the heaviness of the material and it’s potential impact. I’d venture to guess that he probably had an idea but he is just a humble guy.
How It Made Me *feel*
After watching more of the Culkins act, I have come to the conclusion that yes, they are a weird bunch (I mean that in the best way). They don’t look like the Zac Efrons or Channing Tatums of the world, but they exude charisma and charm. I think that is why I cared for this film the way I did. Kieran made Igby funny and relatable, he is cocky but there is a softness there too. It’s clear he is hiding something, trying to run away from problems, trying to find himself in the madness.
“Not going to New Jersey isn’t procrastinating, it’s common sense.”
“If I’m immature, you’re prenatal.”
“I think you’ve been pissing in a well from which you drink.”
“I feel this great, great pressure coming down on me. It’s crushing me.”
“Why do you want me here, mother?” “Comic relief.”
I don’t normally include spoilers in my reviews but I cannot write about this movie without talking about the ending. This is your warning to stop reading now if you have not seen the movie. Go watch it on Amazon, it’s free as of the time I am writing this.
Right before Igby and Oliver’s (Ryan Phillippe) mother dies, she says to Igby, “I take it you know DH is your father.” Igby says, “No,” and his face falls into such a heartbreakingly innocent expression. My heart hurt and still hurts now just thinking about it. This show of emotion so starkly contrasts the hard exterior he has been putting up for so long.
Then, he falls asleep holding his mother’s hand after crying intensely, telling her he is sorry and he wants her to come back. Too bad she cannot come back this time. She is already gone.
Following this, Igby finds sheer pleasure in calling up all of his mother’s contacts, telling them she has died, and then hanging up abruptly. The conversations go a little like this: “Hi, how are you?” “Oh, she would love to but she can’t. She died.” Then he hangs up before they can say another word.
The emotional whiplash is real. Sad. Cope. Funny.
So, should you watch it?
Is the sky blue? Igby is a funny, hurt guy. Can you relate? Then you should watch it. And if you can’t relate, maybe you should watch this film so you can understand the power of dark jokes to help people cope during hard times.
My Rating: 8/10
I kind of hate how much I love this film. It is distinguishably sad and sadly relatable, but for some reason I want to rewatch it. However, at this moment my body is not ready to go through all of those emotions again.
When a young man is caught in the crosshairs of growing up in an unstable home, he tries to leave to survive.
Where can you watch it?
*Now go listen to The Weight by The Band a.k.a. the unofficial theme song of the film…