Friday 10 September 2010
There are very few films, of whatever type, that actually surprise us, so when one does come along it's tempting to whoop. Cyrus is a sort of skewed comedy-drama by Mark and Jay Duplass (The Puffy Chair), which finds new ways to examine old ideas, such as embarrassment and possessiveness.
John C Reilly plays a lonely fellow named John, who's depressed about his ex-wife (Catherine Keener) getting remarried. Things start to look up when he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei), who seems to find him funny and attractive in spite of his pouchy looks ("I'm Shrek!"). Then he meets the other man in Molly's life, her 21-year-old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill), an overgrown baby with a disconcerting stare, a manipulative streak and the devoted love of his mother. By degrees it becomes clear that Cyrus doesn't want a new guy in their house, and he begins to sabotage John's relationship by telling lies and faking panic attacks. The brothers Duplass, exponents of a low-budget, indistinct genre called mumblecore, eschew the polish of mainstream film-making and jerk the camera about in faux-amateur style, but it's their attention to ripples of awkward feeling – confusion, uppermost – that set them apart. They also get terrific performances from the lead trio, especially Hill, whose stillness of gaze teeters right on the edge of hostility. In a lesser film the struggle for possession of Molly between son and lover might have tipped right into psychosis, but Cyrus pulls back, preferring to mine the comedy, and perhaps the sadness, of a man-child who can't help himself.
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Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Jeremy Clarkson courted by Russian Ministry of Defence TV station to present motoring show
One Direction fans campaign to buy the band after Zayn Malik quits
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest