REVIEW: Brigsby Bear
Directed by Dave McCary
By Christopher Spencer
Directed by Dave McCary, written by Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello, Brigsby Bear stars Kyle Mooney, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Ryan Simpkins, with Mark Hamill, and Andy Samberg. James Pope (Mooney) lives in a strange bunker, scared of the outside world which could kill him. His only escape is in the fantasy kids show “Brigbsy Bear” which teaches him all life’s messages and becomes his whole life. But that life is a lie. The real world is out there waiting for James to go out and finish his “Brigsby Bear” story no matter what.
This movie is something you really have to see to believe. Not that it’s overtly complex or any kind of explosive experience like Dunkirk or Blade Runner 2049 of this year. This is very much an indie comedy made by people who want to tell a specific story underneath the mystery. Going in, I had no earthly idea what Brigsby Bear was and that was utterly perfect. So I will not spoil anything about what this movie is here.
Kyle Mooney has shown his manic comedic talents on Saturday Night Live and with the Upright Citizens Brigade, and as co-writer and lead performer here he delivers truly touching emotion in his portrayal of James, an innocent boy who realises he’s an adult and learns life very slowly.
He discovers true familial love and, and this was where I started to get hooked in deeper and deeper. The big theme of this movie is making movies and loving film, and that was something incredibly special to see play out in this unique kind of story. These characters feel like the best of friends, and what they do create is something beyond the movie itself; it’s raw love.
Brigsby Bear is ultimately an incredibly simple movie, at times a little too simple with some plot points being way too convenient. There’s also a few characters that go nowhere (ahem, Claire Danes) and the style of the whole movie might not be for all. It’s eccentric, frightfully original, but wonderfully charming and sweeter than many films of this year. Brigsby Bear is a movie born from a love for movies themselves, and that will always have all my money.