FILM

Brigsby Bear
By Robby Skinner With on February 08, 2017

One of the standout films I saw at Sundance was Brigsby Bear. In Dave McCary’s feature length directorial debut, he approached the unique mundanity of life in 21st century America with a curiosity and grace that is effused throughout the script and the actor’s portrayals. Drawing on a familiar trope of a person growing up in a bunker and being exposed to the world, in line with pieces such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Blast from the Past, which all deal with a character adapting to societal norms. This movie focuses on James, played by Kyle Mooney and his emergence from a blissful life of captivity under the formal and respectful faux parentage, of Ted, played by Mark Hamil. One of the unique and endearing aspects of this story is the element of television in the life of James in captivity. He grew up in the bunker with only one form of entertainment in the form of a kids show called Brigsby Bear. unbeknownst to him, this show was made entirely by Ted every week as a way to entertain and educate his stolen son. After being rescued by the FBI and returned to his birth family, James discovers that no one in the real world knows about Brigsby Bear and he struggles to relate to the world and people around him. In a wonderful move, McCary chooses to create James as a lovable and innocent person that pulls the people in his life toward a love and appreciation for the fiction of Brigsby Bear as he convinces all the people in the town to create a movie from scratch. Beyond dealing with certain elements of sibling and family strife and tension, this film provides a commentary on the isolating and alienating effects of media in the 21st century, but does not stop at simply condemning it, but shows the ways that story and film and media are able to bring people together and share meaning with those around us, providing avenues for connection.

About the Author: Robby Skinner
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