by Robyn Buckley
I have never been a fan of Holden Caulfield. I read The Catcher in the Rye during sophomore year of high school, and while I enjoyed the novel, I could never bring myself to like Holden. I found his behavior off-putting, and even as a teenager I was unable to relate to how he handled himself. I have an extremely low threshold for angst, especially that of the teenage variety. Readers may be wondering why I have delved into a book. Don’t worry - I remember the site I am writing for! I bring the book up because Igby Goes Down would not exist without it. So much of the character of Igby is informed by Holden Caulfield: the dislike of anything they consider fake, the lack of a healthy family structure, and the belief that they are more intelligent than everyone around them. However, my lack of love for The Catcher in the Rye does not extend to Igby Goes Down, as this is a film that I find infinitely watchable.
Igby is played by Kieran Culkin, and he is fantastic in the lead role. He brings a touch of sarcasm, but also a sense of heart to the part that makes Igby so much more than it could have been with a lesser actor. Igby wants to be the smartest person in every room – the one with the witty line for every occasion, but it’s not always true. Kieran Culkin plays Igby as someone who while very intelligent, is also still only a seventeen-year-old that cannot always predict how others are going to act. This makes him much more realistic, and I find it makes it easier to root for him.
After rewatching Igby Goes Down, I was thrilled to realize how much I still enjoy it. I recommend that all readers go out and watch (or rewatch). You will not be disappointed!
• It’s been years since I've seen this. I forgot it started with a murder.
• The movie stars a who’s who of well-known actors: Kieran Culkin! Claire Danes! Jeff Goldblum! Susan Sarandon! Amanda Peet! Ryan Phillippe! Bill Pullman! Jared Harris!
• Bill Pullman is heartbreaking in this movie.
• The accents happening are… odd.
• Susan Sarandon as Igby’s mother is good at being the worst.
• Jeff Goldblum is smarmy in this role.
• Igby kind of sucks at running away – he was caught at the hotel in less than 24 hours.
• This movie is very early 2000s.
• Claire Danes and her "that's funny" - I once dated a guy who used to say "that's funny" instead of laughing. It was weird and always came across as if he was mocking me.
• Everyone is a terrible person in this movie, and yet I like what all of the actors are doing.
• Amanda Peet’s Rachel is heartbreaking. She’s too good for this.
• The Sookie/Igby through the door fight is heartbreaking.
• Goldblum is kind of terrifying.
• I find what this movie has to say about sex to be interesting.
• Jared Harris is hilarious and is correct – Lorna Luft is too obscure.
• Ryan Phillippe is Sebastian from Cruel Intentions if he were also a young Republican.
• Igby is smart, but also an idiot.