[Movie Review] Cyrus (2010)

Cyrusis one  of those movies that really sneaks up on you. It has a fantastic cast, nice, quirky Indie Movie story, and a pair of brothers at the helm who have developed into two very reliable comedic minds, Jay and Mark, The Duplass Brothers.

Cyrus starts off and immediately thrusts you right into the world of John (played effortlessly by John C. Reilly), as he literally gets caught with his pants down by his ex-wife (Catherine Keener). She, and her future husband decide to invite John to a party to help get him out of his current funk. It’s at this party he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei), and after the two surprisingly hit it off,  her odd son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) enters the fray.

The key to the movie is the relationships, and the saavy way the Duplass’ depict each of them. These relationships are very fluid, constantly changing entities, especially the various relationships between the three main characters, which are all very complicated.

The execution of each relationship is handled impeccably, starting with John and Molly. From the opening moments of the film, John comes across as a genuine, well-intentioned guy going through a bit of a difficult patch in his life. This is key. Because John (and C. Reilly’s performance here is fantastic) is so likeable, we want to see him find what he’s looking for.

When he does find that in Molly, we want it to work because Reilly has already conveyed to the audience more about his character in twenty minutes than most other actors manage to pull of in two hours.

Tomei’s portrayal of Molly is also key, as she comes of as caring, attentive, and down to Earth. Based on her appearance, we’d guess she is way out of John’s league, but she gives him a chance and things blossom.

The movie begins to shift from pretty standard indie movie fare into something pretty special when John first meets Cyrus. Jonah Hill delivers his best performance to date as the introverted, sheltered title character. The escalation of their complex relationship is fun to watch, and it always feels like something pretty big is at stake.

To me, Cyrus hits the tone I expected the Ben Stiller/Noah Baumbauch vehicle Greenberg to strike, delicately blending humor and drama into a delicious, bittersweet milkshake, with the cherry on top being the three fantastic central performances.

I actually felt compelled to watch the movie twice while I had it from Netflix, and it held up remarkably well the second time around. I was surprised how engrossed I felt watching the same movie for the second time in less than 24 hours.

The payoff, the final fifteen to twenty minutes of the film, is absolutely sensational. They are goosebump raising as the film completes its shift from indie comedy into something much, much greater.

Final Words:

Cyrusis a gem of a movie, and it intimately focuses on a set of complex relationships, carefully blending in genuine humor at just the right times, in creating one of the finest, most overlooked films of 2010. The three lead performances are wonderful, compelling, and full of heart, and the script and direction by Jay and Mark Duplass are wonderfully crafted.

Score: 9.5/10 (Amazing)

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