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Igby Goes Down

3.6 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Many movies strive to capture the confused, yearning spirit of The Graduate or The Catcher in the Rye; Igby Goes Down succeeds. Igby (Kieran Culkin) is a teen struggling to find any purpose or meaning to his life; surrounding him are his tyrant mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon), schizophrenic father Jason (Bill Pullman), wealthy and deceitful godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum), and cold brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe)--all of whom have their own problems. While evading being sent to yet another boarding school, Igby seeks solace with two women: Rachel (Amanda Peet), a drug-addicted dancer who's D.H.'s mistress, and Sookie (Claire Danes), a college student who becomes perhaps his only friend. Culkin carries the film, ably supported by the superb cast; script, direction, and performances are razor sharp. Igby Goes Down doesn't let anyone--including Igby--off the hook for their cruelty, hypocrisy, or lack of empathy. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • "In Search of Igby" featurette
  • Deleted scenes with director's commentary
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes, Jared Harris
  • Directors: Burr Steers
  • Writers: Burr Steers
  • Producers: David Rubin, Fran Lucci, Helen Beadleston, Lisa Tornell, Marco Weber
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007JXWX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,463 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Igby Goes Down" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2003
In the history of film teen angst films are a relatively recent genre. The first classic teen film, in fact, might be REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. There have been a few additional good teen films, but most of them, by and large, haven't been terribly successful. IGBY GOES DOWN is a spectacular exception, and takes its place as one of the finest teen films ever made. Although it has many exceptionally sad, even tragic elements, it is nonetheless a comedy. But even at its sharpest moments, the comedy is very, very dark. At one point Claire Danes says to Kieran Culkin, "You're funny" and he replies, "Then why don't you laugh?" This could be emblematic for the film as a whole.
The movie begins with Culkin and Ryan Phillippe, playing sons of Susan Sarandon, placing a plastic bag over her head to kill her. It sets the tone for the rest of the film as effectively as any I have ever seen. Moving on from there, we are introduced to all the various broken individuals who inhabit Igby's world: His horrific, unaffectionate, hyper critical, coldhearted mother, played magnificently by Susan Sarandon. His loving father played by Bill Pullman, who nonetheless succumbs to mental illness and is institutionalized. His amoral, cold brother. His philandering godfather played by Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum's mistress, a heroin addict played by Amanda Peet. For a while, he apparently has a decent girlfriend, played by Claire Danes, but she ends up hurting him as much as any of the others. It is indicative of how wretched his world is when perhaps his greatest benefactors in the film are the heroin addict and her drug supplier.
Igby is no saint, but by the end of the film, you end up thinking that, given his execrable upbringing and acquaintances, he has turned out far better than one might have hoped.
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Format: DVD
Not every movie starts with a pair of teenage boys painstakingly killing their mother, and even fewer could make you like those boys. But "Igby Goes Down" actually manages to do this. It's a coming-of-age story (much as I hate the phrase) with humor and poignancy, and it's a hard role that the fantastic Kieran Culkin pulls off.
Igby's father (Bill Pullman) is in a mental home, his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) is a pill-popping harpy, his godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum) is humorously scruple-free, and his brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is cold-blooded and mercenary. Igby himself (Kieran Culkin) is a perpetual dropout who deliberately fails at every prep school he's sent to, and then he runs away from a cab taking him back to military school. Free at last of his suffocating upper-crust life, Igby secretly moves into the loft apartment of D.H.'s dancer-junkie mistress Rachel (Amanda Peet).
At first, things are okay for Igby, especially after he meets and falls for a cynical, ice-cream-eating college student named Sookie Sapperstein (Claire Danes). But when his brother disrupts his love life, his godfather finds out about Igby's relationship with Rachel, and Mimi's cancer grows worse, Igby begins to go down... unless he can break away to freedom.
One of the most unique aspects of "Igby Goes Down" is that a concrete reason is given for the lead character to rebel. Most rebels don't have a cause. But Igby rebels not just out of unhappiness, but out of fear that he (like his father) will "go down." One of the most moving parts of this film is when a young Igby (played by Kieran's little brother Rory) sees his father come unglued in the shower. An equally memorable scene has Igby hollowly repeating his father's words at his own reflection.
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Format: DVD
This unconventional film about a teenage boy struggling to escape the crushing pressures in his life defies categorization. While one could describe it as a dark comedy, it is funny only in places, and then in a desperate, cynical way. But it doesn't take itself as seriously as a true drama. "Igby Goes Down" works best as a film that is what it is: the story of Igby (Kieran Culkin), who has been kicked out of every private school his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) has enrolled him in and who goes on the lam to avoid the next one. Igby's father (Bill Pullman) has been in a mental hospital for the past six years, and his mother is a snooty matron dying of breast cancer who spends her time fiercely trying to get Igby into yet another school. His brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is a snobbish self-important Columbia undergrad. Igby's life is truly messed up, and no one can stand to be in his company for long before they feel like hitting him. The one thing Igby has going for him is an often charming wit, and that, combined with so many things beyond his control, endears him to the viewer.
Culkin shows surprising range as Igby, moving convincingly from sarcastic to resourceful to desperate - and back again to sarcastic. Claires Danes is spunky and perfectly edgy as the Bennington drop-out Sookie, and Amanda Peet is even better as the sensual non-dancer dancer and junkie Rachel. Jeff Goldblum turns in a fine performance as DH, Igby's godfather, who, as Oliver says, is finely-tuned for only one thing: making money. Susan Sarandon seems to float through this movie until the end, when she, too, reveals astonishing aspects of her character. Every last character is this film is quirky.
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