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

It’s Kind of a Decent Movie

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.

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

Focus Features

Above: 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.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Gabriela'

Gabriela | October 13, 2010 at 9:49 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Well done, Jesus!

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Avatar for user 'hsubedo'

hsubedo | October 15, 2010 at 11:58 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This was an interesting review. Excellent!

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Avatar for user 'johanna03'

johanna03 | October 17, 2010 at 5:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez did it a good job of giving a review of the movie, "It's Kind of a Funny Story". Jesus Gomez criticize the movie as being funny in where you get to crack a laugh or two, but Jesus also touch on how the movie itself did not go into detail about the problem that is rising in America, which is teen suicide and depression. Teen suicide and depression is a serious condition that should not be put out there in movies or in the media itself for others to see. You never know how it can touch a teen some might even think that its a normal, funny and that its ok to do. Which is not ok for teens to be thinking. If teen suicide or depression is to be out there,it should be where it gets to go in detail about the serious condition that is cause and about the solution that is out there so that there could be a stop to it. This review made me not want to see the movie due to the way its portraying teen suicide and depression. This also made me want to look our for the signs of teen depression too help those who might need it and help stop this growing issue.

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Avatar for user 'krysta20'

krysta20 | October 18, 2010 at 5:23 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I give Jesus Gomez two thumbs up for his review of "It's Kind of a Funny Story". He made me want to go out and see this movie. I loved the way he talked about the movie, giving some information about the story and telling some of what happens without giving everything away. I also liked how Jesus gave some background to the teenage suicide and depression issues, and that he made the issues easier for people to relate to by giving Tyler Clementi's story. I think his background info part will make people see what the film is actually about beneath the surface, since he said the film uses a "...love story... distracts you from the real issues". Which kind of covers up, or belittles, the true purpose of the story. All in all, great review by Jesus and I can't wait til I get to see this movie.

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Avatar for user 'Carrieann'

Carrieann | October 18, 2010 at 5:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This review has some insightful comments into teen suicide. Jesus Gomez says that it is a big issue, which is somewhat overshadowed by the love side of the story. This is true in many films; directors seem to want to focus more on the love story than the actual big issue teen depression, which can lead to suicide. Why directors do this is probably because no one wants to watch a depressing movie, at least in the film directors view. However, in all honesty maybe if film directors started spending more time on the suicide part, it would raise awareness and show people the signs to watch out for. Maybe it could save lives. Nevertheless, I digress. This review is truly an insightful and interesting review that makes me want to watch the movie, simply to see for myself if the comments about how they overshadow the suicide element by focusing more on the love side of the story are true. It certainly would not be the first film to do this.

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Avatar for user 'lidiaislaw'

lidiaislaw | October 18, 2010 at 6:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This is an excellent job at summarizing the plot, giving the readers a chance to decide whether or not to see this film for themselves. But I disagree with the plot basis also being the theme. Yes, he is depressed and considered suicidal, but this could very well be a satirical approach to the growing stress on young adults easily overwhelmed by pressure from life at home or at school. I personally have yet to read either book or film, but your critique provides very good insight on the emotional basis of the plot. There could be many ways to interpret the film itself, so it wouldn't just be my opinion. Some people could also see it as love overcoming any obstacle, especially one as severe as depression, which is not just a minor issue in a certain percentage of youth. Unfortunately, censoring such ideas would not provide a solution, and often times neither do one of the 170 million antidepressants prescribed annually in the U.S. By censoring any kind of insight on suicide makes it all the more confusing, lonely, and dark, as if feeling depressed was invalid, or unusual. On a positive note though, this motivates me even further to go and watch "It's Kind Of a Funny Story" for myself. Laughter is said to be the best kind of medication.

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Avatar for user 'Daniel1770'

Daniel1770 | October 18, 2010 at 7:47 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I give this review a good old two thumbs up. Jesus, you give a very good summarized plot to the readers. What i like is that you don't sway us into seeing it or not seeing it, you leave us with the choice. I do have to talk about the big problem at hand, like the writers have before me, and i must say that it is sad to see a serious problem covered up by a simple love story. Although i have to say i wouldn't go plan on seeing a depressing movie, i would however say okay to a depressing movie that enlightens you on the growing problem of teen suicides. From reading this, i believe that the directors probably should have shown more of the big issue instead of the over done simple love story. But hey that's what they believe the public would want and maybe thats what some wanted. But then again like Lidiaislaw said it "could also see it as love overcoming any obstacle", so maybe the director wanted to take this direction instead of the direction we think it should have been. But either way I want to see this movie for myself so I can make my own thoughts about it and again good review of the movie, can't wait to go see it!

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Avatar for user 'americaali'

americaali | October 18, 2010 at 8:06 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez did a nice job writting about the movie.As Jesus explains not many seem to worry about the whole situation surounding teen suicide.I believe that the movie is some what as a cover up to this situation yes is about teen suicide but what else is it about.How Jesus explains in his summary of "its kind of a funny story",the movie its mostly about a suicidalteen who seems to find love in a psychiatric hospital yes at the end he might seem to face his fears but that seems to be it.I belive that teen
suicide is a topic that most people dont like to talk about.As a teen having friends who are suicidal is hard to help them i try my best to help them not think about things like that.Its hard to see some one go through those things.So i believe that things like teen suicidal should not be turned into a love movie.Thanks to this review it made me not want to watch this movie thanks to its way of hidding the real deal about teen suicide.

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Avatar for user 'DevinTheDude'

DevinTheDude | October 18, 2010 at 8:28 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

i believe that Jesus did a great job explaining the plot and the roles in the movie. i think that he greatly expressed the role of teen suicide in the movie in a great way. i feel as if you informed me n the film as much as possible and have changed my thoughts on seing this film. and i really DONT want to see this film anymore. overall a great review and i hope to see more reviews from you.

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Avatar for user 'castillog'

castillog | October 18, 2010 at 8:38 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This was a good review. Jesus,great job at summarizing the plot. It was very interesting and with this review I cant wait to see this movie. Even though it's kind of a depression story it makes you think about the teen suicides that are
going on right now in the U.S.It's good that he related it to Tyler Clementi's story and all the teen suicides for depression.Maybe people could think about this when they watch the movie.It could make the people think about the problems with teen suicides.

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Avatar for user 'cassiecruz'

cassiecruz | October 18, 2010 at 8:47 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Two thumbs up Jesus. I'm impressed with the way you summarized the main plot in detail and yet I still want to go and see this movie. Personally I feel like this film would seem as a contradiction of itself, seeing how the vital issue is that main character, Craig, is suffering from depression because of his neglecting parents and overall peer pressure. As the story unfolds, Craig meets Noelle and he finds himself falling in love with her within a five day psychiatric evaluation. Nonetheless, despite the storyline of this film, it seems like teenagers all over the United States have something they can relate to. Just like Craig and Noelle, someone in your life can help change your outlook on how the world functions. I feel like that the overall theme of "It's Kind of a Funny Story" does not nearly scratch the surface of an ongoing issue that teenagers have to go through each day. What I'd also like to compliment on is how you connected the film and raised awareness by giving an example of teenage depression and suicidal thoughts in everyday life. A lot of teenagers don't understand how much words can emotionally and physically damage one single person.

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Avatar for user 'chris_delatorre2'

chris_delatorre2 | October 18, 2010 at 9:05 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree that Jesus did do a good job in reviewing this movie, he gave you a good outline of the basic plot. Leaving you with enough information to decide whether you want to see it or not but not too much to where you know about it all. I believe he does fulfill the job of a critique the part of his review that i found impressive was when he uses recent events from real life to show what message the movie and book were trying to send, like the suicide of Tyler Clementi. He goes into detail about how suicide and depression is a rising problem among teens and i agree with that. Whether it be from bullying, or an invasion into your private life suicidal thoughts are far too common. I haven't read the book or seen the movie but this review has given me an idea on what it is about and how it covers such a serious topic like teen suicide. And i have made the decision that i will watch the movie and read the book and judge them for myself, I'm interested in seeing if the movie successfully covers the topic. Good job Jesus!

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Avatar for user 'franciscolemus93'

franciscolemus93 | October 18, 2010 at 9:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

i believe the same explaination that Jesus Gomez has aboutteens or kids thinking or having thoughts of committing suicidebecause there are many reasons why people commit suicide, just like that guy, Tyler Clementi. So i beileve this would relate to the film of " It’s Kind of a Funny Story" the main characters goes through many problems in his life, and he might believe that taking his own life away is an easy way out. But he ends up hahaving another chance to get through it, and just eventually wantd to get out of the hospitsal. And i agree with Chris about reading and watching the film and story.

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Avatar for user 'marquezA'

marquezA | October 18, 2010 at 9:53 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This movie review was good but it doesn’t make me want to watch the movie. The reason why is because Jesus did such a good job explaining the movie that the storyline wasn’t interesting to me. Like which teenager isn’t stressed out about life, also like I am not into the love stuff between Craig and Noelle. Another thing why I wouldn’t watch the movie is because I don’t think it would be really real life things that happen. For example how would someone be all depressed and suicidal and then fall in love? Overall the review was great explaining the movie so great job Jesus Gomez.

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Avatar for user 'ceidyF'

ceidyF | October 18, 2010 at 10:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez did a wonderful job on his review on the movie "it’s Kind of a Funny Story”. The way he criticizes the movie makes me want to watch it and judge it for myself. Jesus criticizes on how in some parts of the movie it being funny though there is some seriousness to it. In his review he also compares it to a real life event that occurred not too long ago which makes it more interesting. I find this review really interesting because it shows teenagers in depression and having suicidal thoughts and some of us may be in that stage of life. This movie can relate to many teenagers and I find it helpful because it then makes us aware of signs of depression and we can help those who seem to be going through it.

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Avatar for user 'lea'

lea | October 18, 2010 at 10:24 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This review on 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' covers all of the questions that i would have if i had never seen the film. Jesus Gomez did a good job at going over the topic and getting straight to the point. This review introduces the plot and the conflicts of the film right away. Although it is very covers many points, it does not give away too much. This review makes me want to go out and see the film so that I can form an opinion and compare it to Jesus' review. Not only did Jesus talk about the film, he provided information about a young man whos story relates to the film. That was important because it helped to show people how the movie can actually relate to people especially teenagers. Overall, I think that the review was well put together.

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Avatar for user 'jassalb'

jassalb | October 18, 2010 at 10:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez did an excellent job criticizing "It's Kind of a Funny Story" directed by Anna Boden. Throughout the reading Jesus mentioned a couple things that I would proudly take a side on. For instance, Although Categorizing this movie as being "funny", Jesus makes a powerful statement on teens being depressed and suicidal. Scratching the surface on these highly conditions in this movie was not a great idea. If you are going to set the movie scenes in those conditions, Why not give more detail and focus on that matter? Hmm? Well, Mr. Gomez did make a part of me want to go watch this film. Personally I am going to go watch this movie for myself and critique it as a viewer after. I gotta give it to this young man on his teen review, he made awesome points and should continue his goal on becoming a teen critic.

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Avatar for user 'breee'

breee | October 18, 2010 at 10:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez review on this movie was very good. It makes me want to see the movie and even read the book. I would probaly want to read the book first because he says that the book have more detail than the movie. I love books and movies that deal with teens, simply because i am a teenager myself and i understand how a lot of things are in our lives. I enjoyed the part where Jesus relates the movie to somebody he acually seen on the news. It really shows how teen depression is not just actors acting in a movie, it is some peoples everyday lives.

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Avatar for user 'RachelleRamos'

RachelleRamos | October 19, 2010 at 6:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus your review on this was straight to the point and didn't have much fluff which I like. You summed up the movie well and I, who hasn;t seen the film, understood what you meant but that doesn't want me to watch it. i don't know if you were going to promote it but the movie itelf sounds boring. Sorry but your straight to the point but like you said the movie doesn't really go in depth with teen depression and stuff that deal with it. I know your probably not trying to promote it but I rather not see the film after reading this. It was a well written review but the movie might be mediocre.

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Avatar for user 'lizbethH'

lizbethH | October 19, 2010 at 6:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Good job Jesus!:) The review of the movie is very detailed and describes the plot to give us an idea of what we could expect of the movie. I agree that the movie should emphasize in the problems of today, like depression and suicidal thoughts in teens. After reading the review I don't feel like watching the movie but maybe read the book. It's kind of a Bad Critic to the movie, letting the public know how some of the themes of the movie are taken as a joke. Personally, i don't think suicidal thoughts and depression in teens is a joke!

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Avatar for user 'Almabunny7'

Almabunny7 | October 19, 2010 at 7:16 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

great job on the synopsis! you had a very clean summary and helped me understand the plot very nicely. what i could suggest is to tie up your review more. Make it a little more clear on whether you like the film or not. I guess that as your review progressed it was more clear but other than that, great job! :)

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Avatar for user 'RonnieH'

RonnieH | October 19, 2010 at 7:32 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I like how he got straight to the point without giving out to much info about the film. Jesus gave out some info about teen suicide that can really helo some people. All in all it was a good review but im dont think ima see this film

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Avatar for user 'Oakley13'

Oakley13 | October 19, 2010 at 9:37 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

he described the movie very good & in great details , the movie does have a lot of issues we see today like depression in teenagers. in the review i cant really tell whether he liked the movie or not, so he should make that a little more clear.
after this review by jesus gomez i would really look into watching " its kind of a funny story " .

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Avatar for user 'angie_price'

angie_price | October 19, 2010 at 11:08 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

i think that jesus did a good job, he talked about the movie and how its a comedy turn romance. I really liked how he gave us just enough about the movie to make you want to go and see it and as well as brush up on the seriousness of teen suicide. The only thing i would suggest is to not put so much of a downer at the end meaning its good to add in the teen suicide issue but to me there was to much of an emphasis on it for the end of the review and took away my attention from the movie.
other than that i thought it was great. GREAT JOB JESUS keep up the good work

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | October 19, 2010 at 1:49 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks to everyone who has posted thoughtful comments. I'm glad our teen critic had something to say that you could identify with.

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Avatar for user 'jorge_medina'

jorge_medina | October 19, 2010 at 9:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

The beginning was good.Told me about the movie, i just didnt like all the other nonsense about suicide among teens. we really don't need to know about why people kill themselves. i don't care about the people around the world. All i care about is what was the plot of the movie, if its good to see or not. call my response careless. Don't give thing i dont want to know. Im Glad you care and apparently everyopne else does to. But i think its cause they want to kiss up.

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Avatar for user 'Miranda19'

Miranda19 | October 20, 2010 at 12:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

The way Vicky speaks, I do agree with her whole heartedly. When she talks about the 'depth' and 'happy ending', those are both very true. It would seem to me that it actually seems to have a noir ending to the movie. And those types of movies, not everyone can agree to. But those of us that do watch those movies and actually enjoy them, it would be a good movie to see. Still, without depth, the movie itself may be pegged higher than it deserves. No one can walk in someone shoes unless they live their life but I would say the movie does not do as much as it could.
When it actually comes to the teen depression and suicide, it only seems to skim the surface from what Jesus is saying and isn't that the whole point of the movie? In some type of aspect? Having some funny to take the edge off is great but having nothing but funny on such a serious topic is not what it's about. Not all kids would actually go and get themselves help like the main character in the story did and Jesus is right, people need to be paying more attention. Maybe more suicidal teens should follow the example - though how little it seems in the story - and check themselves into a place that is going to help. Instead of ending what little life they've lived.

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Avatar for user 'JLeask'

JLeask | October 21, 2010 at 9:38 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I feel that Jesus Gomez was great on his description of the movie,"It's kind of a funny movie". He identified the plot and theme of the film in many ways. Another feeling that Jesus gives is that feeling of describing the film as you would be interested in that film. Jesus also gave some insight on the film and how it relates to suicide, a serious subject which is made into a some what comical film. This is why I thought highly of Jesus's writing.Great work Jesus

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Avatar for user 'farhiya52'

farhiya52 | October 21, 2010 at 10:42 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesus Gomez did a great job conecting the movie " Its kind of a funny story" and real life prolems with teen. Also, this review made me want to go out and see the film. Even though Jesus points out the movie didnt do the best job in showing how teens can deal with their depression, i still would want to go out and see it. Actually this is really helpful for me because i recently joined Peer Mediation at my high school, bascially we help students with their personal problems before they escaled to violence, and by reading this review i now know that "Its kind of a funny story" is a good film for me to watch. So, thanks Jesus for this decent review.

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Avatar for user 'jgomez614'

jgomez614 | October 25, 2010 at 9:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Hello fellow readers! I am Jesus Gomez, the author of this review. I must say I am very pleased to have you all comment on my review. Your thoughts are all valued here whether you agree with me or not.
Lidiaislaw is correct. Everyone has their own opinion and that is what my teen reviews are all about. I’m trying to get out what I believe viewers should see in these films. Not everyone is going to see what I see though, and that’s fine. Films are meant to attract a certain audience and if you don’t fall into the requirements of that audience you might not like the film. So, like Lidia said, everyone has their opinions so don’t just believe reviews, see for yourselves. Remember that the critic might not fall into that same audience type as you.
Daniel1770, you are correct also. What you are talking about is perspective. The director’s perspective could’ve been different then mine therefore our opinions are different. Taste in movies is a big factor also. Directors study audiences to see what elements will be featured in their films and who will be attracted to their movie. Since I am a teen critic, I write in the teen point of view. I write what I believe kids my age would think about the movie I’m reviewing. So, sometimes someone older, like Mr. Hurst or Ms. Beth might not have the same opinion of a movie as I do.
Americaali, you are a perfect example of how movies can relate to real life. Most suicidal teens don’t have someone to comfort them and tell them it’s all going to be okay. But at least your friends have someone who can comfort them. It’s important to always treat others with respect. I went to Mount Miguel also and I understand that sometimes it’s difficult there to treat other with respect because they don’t respect you. Instead of being depressed and hurting themselves, try finding things that your friends like and that will help release some stress. I like to write to relive some stress. Remember to never ignore a symptom of depression and suicide and you always have someone who’s willing to listen.
Everyone who commented: Thank you very much. You all did very well on criticizing my review. Keep watching movies and I hope you guys write reviews of your own so I can criticize them.

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Avatar for user 'K3LL3N'

K3LL3N | November 6, 2010 at 9:01 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Jesus Gomez did a good job summarizing the plot for "It's Kind of a Funny Story." It was to the point of the plot and was not too long. I agree that the issue of teen suicide should be dealt with and hopefully prevented and comedy may not be the best way to deal with it at least it addresses it. His review doesn't make me want to see this movie but he wrote a good review.

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Avatar for user 'kvilla'

kvilla | April 4, 2011 at 8:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

ithink that Jesus Gomez did a good job critizing and breaking down "its kind of a funny story" ihavent watrched this film but from the review it made me want to watch it and critize it for myself also. he really cleared up his opinion on the movie and how he felt about it. this movie can make you feel like your life is not as bad as you may think it is. the character goes trough many problems and shows how he has to face them. also i like how he got straigth to the point.
i like how they go into why some teenagers commit suicide. so overall i think that this reviwq was pretty fgood, iwould give it 5 stars. good job Jesus :)

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Avatar for user 'hall0559'

hall0559 | May 24, 2011 at 11:14 p.m. ― 3 years, 2 months ago

Bobby kills himself instead of leaving the hospital.

Everyone needs to go rewatch the last 20 minutes of the movie.

Its like the ending of the soprano's, all of you just have blinders on and want the happy, dreamy, everyone is ok ending. Thats the whole point of the movie. It's not always ok. Even Craig knows he isnt cured, but he is going to just try to handle things.

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