“It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” is a wonderfully quirky movie about teenage depression, finding meaning in life and relationships that change the way you look at the world.
Keir Gilchrist does an excellent job playing Craig, a depressed 16 year old kid who admits himself to a mental hospital as the movie tracks his journey of self discovery. Zach Galifianakis plays Bobby, an older man who befriends Craig and becomes a sort of tragic, but inspirational mentor.
Craig struggles with depression, school pressure and an imperfect family. He battles feeling like no one understands him and he is all alone in the world. He also experiences love and emotional torment over a girl, Noelle, who he finds as a companion in the mental hospital.
The main character develops supportive relationships, responds to music and art therapy and eventually figures out how to reach out and help others in his process of personal growth.
A Hopeful View of Depression
I think the best scene is when Craig presents Bobby with a drawing of a downtown scene with Bobby’s name in the middle. This scene takes place when Bobby is struggling to find a place to live after leaving the hospital. Craig is trying to be a compassionate friend in a way that he has never experienced himself.
Bobby says, “it’s a mess in there” and Craig responds by saying, “it’s just under renovation.” I love this hopeful take on depression and emotional struggles.
I referenced this in my previous article on negative thinking, but so many times our feelings and life experiences can dramatically change when we look at them through a different lens. In therapy speak, this would be called reframing, which refers to looking at something in a different and more positive light. This movie presents a very human view of mental illness that is honest, but kind and hopeful.
Depression in my view, is less of a disease and more of a struggle for meaning, survival, growth and self-realization in the face of the pain and loss that makes up our human experience.
What is Healing?
What is healing often times is connection in relationships, feeling like you matter to someone else and making some sort of difference in another person’s life
Often in the teen years kids experience feeling invisible, confused and flawed. Sometimes they need a compassionate and caring adult role model that can guide them, even if that adult is somewhat confused and flawed themselves.