‘Brigsby Bear’ (2017) – Sydney Film Festival Review

If you want something heartfelt and funny, Brigsby Bear is a worthy title to catch at Sydney Film Festival. It’s a story of understanding the outlier – the kid who didn’t know what to do with his life, but held on to geeky things that made him happy. Having a quirky yet warm feel, Brigsby Bear is a journey of discovering the real world and appreciating the connection between human beings on something that matters.

At the start of the film, we’re introduced by James Pope (Kyle Mooney) and you slowly discover how much of an oddball character he is. With his obsession with TV show ‘Brigsby Bear’ and spending hours on the forum talking with his Internet friends, he’s a bit of a loner and extremely socially awkward around his parents. Next thing you know, he becomes discovered by police and is haggled by press as the plot thickens where his “parents” have held him captive all his life. Eventually, James realises that ‘Brigsby Bear’ was a show specifically made for him by his fake father. As the film progresses, we see James struggling to settle with his biological family and finds it difficult to detach himself from his obsession with ‘Brigsby Bear’.

Brigsby Bear captivates an audience through its whimsical ways and it’s surprisingly heartfelt to the core. Even though James is this awkward character, we appreciate the story for what it is. There’s so much life beyond a TV series and what’s more rewarding is seeing James become more comfortable with himself and the people he surrounds himself with. Mooney is a stellar actor and fills in the role with strong characterisation, nailing every quirk there is to James. In addition, we see Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear) provide the audience with some comic relief in his secret past time. Special appearances by Andy Samberg is another bonus for fans of The Lonely Island and Brooklyn Nine-Nine – just adding a bit of spice to the film.

Brigsby Bear offers a cinematic experience that is breathtaking, you can feel it in your skin. James helps us realise that just because you’re weird and nobody understands you, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up something you truly love. Yes, ‘Brigsby Bear’ is and always will be a reminder of his traumatic past, but it has also led him to spread his wings and enjoy the next steps in his life the right way. It’s brilliant and nurtures the message to always stay passionate, no matter what obstacles you come across. It’s thought-provoking and colourful, painting a picture not many films offer these days.

Brigsby Bear shows you that it’s okay to still feel attached to the past, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it holds you back from doing extraordinary things. It exemplifies the life we must all lead and that is to appreciate the baby steps that got us here and to never give up on ourselves whenever we stumble upon an opportunity to be great. Brigsby Bear is a one-of-a-kind experience, proving that even the outliers get to where they want to be. It reminds us to be, as Albert Einstein has said, passionately curious because it’s a way of life and an important foundation of your true individuality. And because it’s dope as shit.


Brigsby Bear made its Australian Premiere on June 8 at Sydney Film Festival 

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