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Teen Review: ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’

It’s Kind of a Decent Movie

Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis star in

Credit: Focus Features

Above: Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis star in "It's Kind of a Funny Story."

"It’s Kind of a Funny Story" (opened October 8 in select theaters) is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck who previously made the indie hit "Half Nelson."

"It’s Kind of a Funny Story" is the story of Craig, a suicidal 16-year-old boy. He tries to learn how to cope with the hassles of life by checking himself into a psychiatric hospital. Craig is depressed because he feels pressured to get into a prestigious and rigorous summer school program. Unfortunately, he suspects they will most likely deny the application that he still hasn't filled out. To add to the stress, his best friend is going out with the love of his life and his parents are too busy living their lives to pay enough attention to him. He begs the doctor to let him into the center but after meeting some of the mental patients, he quickly wants out. But it's too late to back out now. He must stay for a mandatory observation period of five days for a psychiatric evaluation. Since the hospital is undergoing renovations to the teen center, Craig and a few other teens are put in with the adults.

Luckily for Craig his stay in the hospital isn’t so bad. He meets Bobby and Noelle, the two people that make his stay in the hospital worthwhile. Bobby, one of the adult patients, teaches Craig important lessons about life. Bobby is very naïve and could fool one into believing he leads a life without problems. He treats everything carelessly but with good intentions. Bobby teaches Craig not to worry about things too much and everything will be fine. Craig also meets a teen named Noelle whom he falls in love with.

Credit: Focus Features

Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts are teens with problems in "It's Kind of a Funny Story."

This film is an adequate adaptation of the book. It doesn’t go into as much detail as the book does but it does its job. The main focus in the film is Craig’s depression and how he meets new friends in the psychiatric hospital. They never go into much detail about the other characters like Bobby, Noelle, and Muqtada. The film has a very sappy story line but is amusing at the same time. The love story is nothing new and distracts you from the real issues – like mental health and teen suicide -- but I think that is its purpose. Love does that to you sometimes - one minute you’re depressed and feeling lonely and then “BAM!!” you’re in love.

But aside from the sappy love story and the ever present happy ending, "It’s Kind of a Funny Story" deals with the very important issue of teen depression and that shouldn’t be missed. The film pretends to have a simple solution to the very complicated problem of teen depression. The movie doesn’t go into detail about the causes of teen depression even though it has two teen characters that have either attempted suicide or are thinking about it. So it’s a big issue that should be discussed. Kids are being stressed, teased, and bullied into low self-esteem. Sometimes so low that these kids become suicidal and either attempt or commit suicide. This is very sad because teenagers who haven’t even graduated from high school are leaving this world way too early. Children are bullying other children to their deaths and this, my friends, is NOT a funny story.

Someone who was recently on the news is Tyler Clementi. Clementi, 18, jumped to his death, after a video of him having sexual encounters with a male was posted on the Internet. His roommate decided to Tweet about it and videotape Clementi having sex with another male. When Clemeti found out about this he must’ve fallen into a depressive state and jumped because of it. This really bothered me because I am 18 years of age and I don’t believe I have lived a long enough life yet. I haven’t fulfilled many of my goals and I’m sure Clementi hadn’t either. Teen bullying – as well as other issues -- has led many children down this path of self-destruction and it needs to be stopped now. It's kind of a shame that this film didn't address the more serious side of teen depression and suicide to some degree because they are genuine problems.

"It’s Kind of a Funny Story" brings up the issue of teen suicide and depression and now you as a viewer should act to help prevent them. Any sign of depression or suicidal tendencies should not be ignored. Keep our youth healthy and happy… and watching movies! But maybe better ones than this.

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" is rated PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language.

--Jesus Gomez recently graduated from Mount Miguel High School and is interested in pursuing a career as a writer or film critic.

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