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Featured DVD Review: Jimmy P.

June 16th, 2014

Jimmy P. - Buy from Amazon

Jimmy P. came out in February, which isn't a great time of year to release a limited release. It earned mixed reviews and struggled to find an audience in theaters. Now that it is getting a second chance on the home market, will it perform better? Or are the weak reviews and weak box office numbers deserved?

The Movie

The film focuses on Jimmy Picard, who we meet while working for his sister, Gayle, on his farm. He has some medical problems and after nearly going blind momentarily, they head for medical treatment. The local VA hospital can't help them, so the army sends him to The Winder Hospital and Dr. Karl Menninger. Dr. Menninger gets some of his fellow doctors, Dr. Holt, Dr. Jokl, etc., to run a series of tests on Jimmy P., as the case study will call him, but they can't find anything physically wrong with him, so they begin to suspect he is suffering from a mental illness like Schizophrenia. However, there's a problem, Jimmy P. is also an Indian and they don't know if his behavior is the result of a mental illness or is merely the result of him being Indian. The Indian culture is so foreign to them they bring in an anthropologist, Georges Devereux.

At first, Jimmy doesn't trust Georges. As he says, White people don't like Indians very much. So for much of their early interaction, Jimmy doesn't let his guard down. Georges recognizes that Jimmy is not insane and has him moved to a more hospitable wing of the hospital and the two begin counseling sessions. It takes a while for Jimmy to open up, but we get there eventually.

Unfortunately, by the time we get there, Jimmy P. has moved so slowly that I fear a lot of the audience will be lost. It's dull to the point where I have no real reaction to the movie. It is based on the real life case study, which should be an interesting angle. I was kind of hoping it would be like The Music Never Stopped in balancing the character development and the medical aspects of the film. This is not the cause. Most of the movie is just two men talking, often times about Jimmy's dreams. There are fewer things less interesting than listening to someone else's dreams. Also, this movie is based on the 1951 book by Georges Devereux and we've learned a ton about psychoanalysis since then. Hell, the little I learned in Psychology 101 was enough to wince a few times. We hear about finger-painted hills that represent boobs, clouds that represent Oedipus complex, castration anxiety, etc. I was hoping to learn more about the actually case study, but that didn't happen. On the plus side, the two lead actors were really good.

The Extras

Extras include a 15-minute interview featurette and 52 minutes of interviews.

The Verdict

I was hoping Jimmy P. would be better than its reviews, but in my opinion, it was much weaker. I didn't learn anything interesting about the case study, I wasn't drawn in by the characters, and for the most part, I was bored. There are better than expected extras on the DVD, but unless you are a fan of the two leads, it isn't worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Jimmy P., Mathieu Amalric, Joseph Cross, Benicio del Toro, Larry Pine, Elya Baskin, Michelle Thrush