The Fractured Mirror entry: Brigsby Bear (2017)
6 months ago
– Tue, Aug 29, 2023 at 12:59:54 PM
Brigsby Bear (2017) FM
Kyle Mooney’s non-ironic embrace of the transcendent cheesiness of 1980s children’s television finds its purest, most poignant expression in 2017’s Brigsby Bear. It’s a disarmingly sweet celebration of the life-affirming power of make believe about an emotionally stunted man-child finding his way as an adult after being locked away from the rest of humanity by abductors he knew only as parents and protectors.
Kyle Mooney brings a doe-like innocence and disarming sweetness to the role of James Pope, a man who was kidnapped as a baby by wealthy, eccentric couple Ted (Mark Hamill) and April Mitchum (Jane Adams) and led to believe that the world had suffered some manner of apocalypse.
James leads a sheltered, lonely but mostly happy life thanks to his doting parents and the primitive adventures of Brigsby Bear, a cute anthropomorphic animal who has unnecessarily complicated space adventures he watches on videocassette.
Then one day James’ abductors are arrested and he’s reunited with biological parents he's never known. James’ world is rent asunder and he can’t find comfort through Brigsby Bear since Ted was the mastermind behind videos only James would ever see.
In an attempt to gain closure on his old life as an unknowing abductee James decides to make a movie that will provide a satisfying end to the Brigsby Bear saga and provide a way for him to make friends in the new, scary and exhilarating world he finds himself in.
James joyously goes from being a consumer to a creator, from an overgrown child who lost himself in Brigsby’s stories to an adult with the power to shape and mold his story however he sees fit.
Brigsby Bear is so deeply empathetic that the couple who stole James from his parents and immersed him in a weird world of their own design are depicted with more compassion, tenderness and understanding than the heroes of most movies. There are no villains in Brigsby Bear, just flawed human beings trying to navigate a world that’s almost unfathomably complex even if you haven’t been abducted and hidden from the outside world for decades.
Dave McNary’s directorial debut is a heartwarming, heartbreaking coming of age story about the unlikely maturation of something with a unique life story that nevertheless feels universal in its reverence for the awesome power of friendship and escapism.