Lonesome Jim (IFC Films, R)

Because it is rare that a film such as this one goes the full nine in terms of character unlikeability, Lonesome Jim introduces a love interest for Jim in the form of Anika (Liv Tyler), a nurse at the hospital where Tim goes after the accident.

 

 

I’ve gotten into many arguments with detractors of films such as Welcome to the Dollhouse or Grizzly Man regarding the relative likeability of the main character. It is common for people to not like such films because they don’t like or can’t relate to the main character. My argument is always the same: That is exactly the point; you’re not supposed to like the main character. Lonesome Jim, the second film Steve Buscemi has directed (the first was Tree’s Lounge back in 1996), is destined to be one of these films. The main character is of course named Jim (and played very unglamorously by Casey Affleck), who has to move back to his parents’ house in rural Indiana after failing to successfully make a life for himself in New York. When his depressive and depressing older brother Tim (Kevin Corrigan) gets into a car accident, Jim finds himself taking over Tim’s duties in the town, such as dealing with their parents (from whom it is very clear where and how and why Tim and Jim got so depressed in the first place), or coaching a grade school–aged girl’s basketball team. But basically, Jim spends the entire movie putzing around, alienating both the other characters in the film as well as the audience, and never behaving in a way that most non-depressed people can necessarily relate to.

Because it is rare that a film such as this one goes the full nine in terms of character unlikeability, Lonesome Jim introduces a love interest for Jim in the form of Anika (Liv Tyler), a nurse at the hospital where Tim goes after the accident. Anika is pretty much the only remotely traditionally likeable character in the entire film, and that—combined with Tyler’s innate hotness—makes for a questionable fit into the overriding vibe. Still, for those who immediately dislike this film on account of Jim’s behavior (or his relative unattractiveness), Anika might come off as a saving grace that at least makes some of the film salvageable.

I’m generally a fan of the type of film with unlikable main characters, but Lonesome Jim doesn’t really have the redeeming qualities that a film like Dollhouse did. Still, it is structured in such a way that it seems reasonable that it will find a devoted audience (probably upon its release on DVD) of young men who hate their families and their jobs and their lives, and who also like Steve Buscemi movies.

Official Site 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply