* Prices may differ from that shown
This film is based around Henry(Kevin Spacey) who is a shrink to the stars,living in L.A Henry's life is in desperate despair after the death of his wife making it worse is the fact that she committed suicide,not understanding why she did it and not being able to cope with his loss Henry turns to smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol spending all his free time getting wasted and routinely falling to sleep fully clothed and never setting foot in to the bedroom he once shared with his wife.
Henry is living the life of a loner choosing to socialize with his drug dealer who even though he is a nice kid does not match Henry intellect or getting high with his wife's half brother.
Henry father(Robert Loggia) is also a shrink and being worried about his sons mind state he passes on a patient to him,a young teenage girl who's mother committed suicide in the hope not only that he can help her but the hope that she could maybe bring Henry a little piece also
Through out this film numerous characters pop up and play a part within the story line such as Jack Holden(Robin Williams) who is one of Henry's patients he is a actor who is in denial about his alcohol problem,or Patrick(Dallas Roberts) a narcissist and agent for the stars.
As the film moves on Henry gets worse until the point of having a breakdown and live on television whilst he is supposed to be promoting his new book he calls himself a fake and walks off the live set.
Henry finds his way back to his drug dealer and buys more cannabis but unknown to him this time they are laced with some bad fluids and whilst walking his dog Henry collapses,luckily being found by a friend he ends up in the hospital. There are lots of different characters in this film who are interlocked in some way and by the end of the film they all benefit from meeting one another.
Even though this is a serious film based around a very serious and dark subject the subtle jokes and funny scenes make this film not to heavy,this is not a action packed movie which leaves you on the edge of your seat but it is well worth a watch if your looking to finish off your day watching something interesting and easy to watch,Kevin Spacey does a great job of bringing Henry alive on the big screen.
RELEASED: 2009, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 104 mins
DIRECTOR: Jonas Pate
PRODUCERS: Dana Brunetti, MichaelBurns, Braxton Pope and Kevin Spacey
SCREENPLAY: Thomas Moffett
MUSIC: Ken Andrews & Brian Reitzell
Kevin Spacey as Dr Henry Carter
Keke Palmer as Jemma
Dallas Roberts as Patrick
Jesse Plemons as Jesus
Jack Huston as Seamus
Robin Williams as Jack
Saffron Burrows as Kate
Mark Webber as Jeremy
Pell James as Daisy
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Dr Henry Carter is a psychotherapist whose clientele largely consists of actors and various 'wannabes' in Hollywood. He has written and published a self-help book, but he has a barrel-load of problems of his own. Since his wife's suicide, Carter relies heavily on cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol to grease his way through his lonely existence.
Through his patients, Carter very gradually starts to examine his own life from a different angle.
Shrink is quite a fast-paced film (but not in the sense of high action), largely constructed of jumping around in snippets which highlight different aspects of Carter and how his relationships with the people in his life do or don't make a difference to him. Amongst others, Carter's patients consist of an obsessive/compulsive publisher, a middle-aged alcoholic man who is all but holding a wake for the loss of his sex drive, and a young teenage girl traumatised by her mother's suicide.
At first, I found the line the film was following quite difficult to understand, as I wasn't sure, due to it jumping from situation to situation, if any of the scenes were supposed to be flashbacks, but I soon discovered they weren't. There are quite a few significant characters in Shrink, all of which I found very appealing and rather amusing, my favourites being Dr Henry Carter himself with Kevin Spacey giving a very decent performance, and Jesus (played by Jesse Plemons) who was Carter's a bit off the wall good-natured drug supplier.
The storyline of Shrink is quite unstructured, possibly even weak as a whole, but the essence of the film has more to do with how people relate to one another on a day to day basis rather than having a definite beginning, middle and end.
As far as the direction/production is concerned, Shrink is a sleek, well-made film with some good camera angles. The dialogue is superb, some of it being moderately thought-provoking and the light thread of humour present appealed to me, making me laugh out loud at a couple of points. I certainly wasn't expecting the film to be amusing, such coming across as a pleasant surprise.
The music wasn't too noticeable for me, but I did manage to pick up on a little, it mainly being middle-of-the-road with a slight edge of a 'new age' feel.
I loved the contrasting personalities of the characters, and although we don't get to know much about their pasts, the storyline is very much of the moment and on a need to know basis. The interaction between each cast member and the others meanders quite a lot, but nonetheless is interesting, although I couldn't always understand the connections.
Some very subtle and interesting camera angles are used in Shrink, and once they came to my notice, I focused on them as they brilliantly conveyed almost undetectable shifts in the moods of the characters, particularly Dr Carter. There are a few scenes where after Carter has smoked a couple of joints, his slightly distorted yet not hallucinatory way of viewing his surroundings is put across brilliantly...it is a subtle off to the side shift in his perception, which is very cleverly filmed.
Overall, Shrink is a little off the wall, but in a pleasant and amusing way; for instance, Dr Carter sleeps a lot, managing to nod off in some very peculiar places such as lying on the diving board above his swimming pool. A life of creature comforts and material luxury is put across very well; Dr Carter living in a beautiful Hollywood hills residence which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
Once I got used to the madcap pace and bitty construction of Shrink, I really loved it even though I wasn't always sure what was going on, and it is a film I'd definitely consider watching again. I also feel that on second helpings, I may be able to pull the storyline together on perhaps a deeper level, possibly picking up on little undercurrents I might have missed first time around.
I recommend Shrink to anybody who likes a fast-paced but thoughtful glimpse into the life of a therapist whose own pain at least equals and maybe even surpasses that of his patients - and, how he copes with his inner darkness.
At the time of writing, Shrink can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.63 to £20.73
Used: from £3.29 to £7.64
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
I came across this whilst browsing Amazon, not really being sure what kind of genre I was in the mood for. Although I hadn't heard of this previously, I'm a fan of Spacey and the blurb and reviews seemed appealing so I gave it a go. Whilst it wasn't the most thrilling of flicks I've ever seen, it was interesting and watchable enough to be a film I'd recommend for a relaxed duvet evening in.
On the DVD cover it reads "The Doctor Is Out" as the tagline, along with "Kevin Spacey is darkly funny" as a mini review to tempt us. Shrink was directed by Jonas Pate who has worked on a few things, mainly TV, so this is the first flick I can see that's recognisable to me from Pate. We're introduced to protagonist Dr Henry Carter, played by the fantastic Kevin Spacey. It's Hollywood and everyone has problems, whether they go public about it or not. Being the resident 'shrink', problems get taken to Carter, and we see a small host of characters turning up on his doorstep for help. For instance, there's Jemma, a high school student struggling with more than meets the eye and skipping school to cope, an ageing actress who's struggling to come to terms with being in her mid 30s (how will she cope in her 50s?) and Jack, a 'star' that's basically looking for permission to cheat on his wife. With all those problems to sort through, Dr Henry Carter has plenty on his plate.
That is, plenty to add to his own personal dilemmas. His wife recently died and he's not coping so well, instead turning to weed as his literal drug of choice. Who delivers this weed to an otherwise upstanding member of the community and a respected psychiatrist? None other than a young guy named Jesus, who is quite pally with Henry though obviously doing him no favours indulging him in his drug taking. Henry's friends try to help but his self-blame over his wife's death and the resulting grief and stress, including stress inducing by someone stealing a file of one of his patients, is all too much. He may be a top shrink in the LA sphere, but we see Dr Henry Carter gradually losing his grip on life and his belief in his job. He quickly starts to question whether he's the right person to 'help' these people when he can't help himself. The question is, will he be able to pull himself through the grief before it's too late?
I would say this falls within the drama genre, with overtones of light-heartedness and more depth and sadness creeping in under the surface. There were times that I laughed, such as with Jesus' role and the times Dr Carter found himself getting high in unlikely places and being completely unprofessional about it all, and there were also times I felt quite moved and a little heartbroken by characters. To me, this means that the performances were believable and noteworthy, especially Spacey's, because they were emotive.
The film had a good quality feel to it all-round without seeming too Hollywood or perfected and shiny. This helped to keep the atmosphere down to earth and interesting because of it, not distracting us by too many high profile names other than Spacey, or effects or over the top perfected cleanliness; It didn't seem high budget but it definitely wasn't a made-for-TV flick either.
Shrink made me think and interested me in part because I'd love to be a psychiatrist myself (I can dream..!), and in part because it's a tale of how everyone can be affected by grief, no matter how well others may expect you to deal with it. Seeing a host of other characters and their lives was also intriguing because it gave us a glimpse in to how something on the surface often runs far deeper upon a more thorough look. It does this gently without being too melodramatic, and adds touches of humour along the way to prevent it from being too 'heavy' or 'deep' and becoming depressing. As I said earlier, however, a little more depth and perhaps a little more plot line would have been nice to see, if not just to make it more memorable and poignant. For that, I don't think this is an award-winning film, but it is a drama and whilst it may not be one that makes a lasting impact on your life or even your memory necessarily after watching, I still found it kept my attention and interest throughout.
The cast includes Kevin Spacey as protagonist Henry, Mark Webber (Jeremy), Dallas Roberts (Patrick) and Saffron Burrows (Kate) amongst others. I think all played their respective roles well, being down to earth and realistic for the most part in a way that made the film more believable and thought-provoking. Spacey was the key character and he pulled the film through well, being very watchable and providing an interesting take on Dr Carter that brought the character to life quite well. I did, however, think that character depth could have been increased in parts to make it more three dimensional and thus more emotive, but at the same time it also meant the film wasn't too depressive or 'deep' to put you off watching it.
Overall, this is one I'd recommend, if just for Spacey's performance alone. It's a drama with hidden depth but comical undertones to keep it entertaining, leaving us with a flick that's interesting and engaging enough to watch from start to finish. It may not win awards or be seared in your memory after viewing, but I enjoyed it enough thanks to the thought-provoking subject matter, cast and tone.
DVD released 2010, rated certificate 15
Selling on Amazon for £5.17