Dawn K. (Skyhart) from LIMA, OH Reviewed on 1/7/2010...
I thought this movie would be funny, and it is, but it is much more in-depth and serious than I thought it would be. It's no fluff piece, and there is actually quite a bit of sadness and pain. The main theme of the movie is how suicide affects those left behind - mainly Henry, the shrink, and a young girl, Jemma (Keke Palmer, from "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Wool Cap" - she is great here, too - believable, likable, and has a good connection with others in the movie). There are many other characters (Robin Williams plays one of Henry's patients, and I love the end result of his issues; even though he plays a smaller role, it was different and interesting), who have their own problems, issues, dreams and stories - not all of them are Henry's patients but some are, and others are connected to him in some way. The movie ended in a positive way without being sappy or too easy; I was surprised and not disappointed.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Terrific ensemble piece anchored by a strong Kevin Spacey pe
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 08/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kevin Spacey shines in his portrayal of a Los Angeles psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Carter, who's been hitting the booze and drugs pretty hard in the wake of a personal tragedy. After an intervention by his family and friends falls flat, the doctor's father (also a psychiatrist, and played by the great Robert Loggia), sets his son up with a new patient, a teenage girl named Jemma (Keke Palmer) who has faced a tragedy similar to Carter's, in the hope that the case will help his son re-engage in life and better confront his own grief. Despite seeing right through the plan, Dr. Carter grudgingly takes on the case and it indeed starts him back on a more positive, functional path, though things don't happen easily.
An ensemble cast, mostly playing Dr. Carter's other patients, also slowly get drawn into the main story, either directly or through the comments they make about their own problems during their sessions with Carter. An unbilled Robin Williams is a particular standout in his small but memorable role as a movie star confronting his own personal issues (everyone has them in this movie). Indeed, many of Dr. Carter's patients are in the movie business in some way, bringing about an interesting juxtaposition of intense personal issues on the part of some patients (and Carter) and quirky Hollywood shallowness from others.
"Shrink" is mostly serious, but it's lightened a little by Dr. Carter's wry, dry sense of humor (perfectly brought to life by Mr. Spacey), which the character can't help displaying even when he's hurting and wants to be left alone. Keke Palmer's Jemma is also a ray of sunshine in the film, despite the seriousness of her own issues. And, as previously noted, the occasional Hollywood humor, centering around the often insane world of movie deals and star egos, also keeps things from getting too heavy.
I was lucky enough to see "Shrink" on the big screen during its brief and limited theatrical run (thank you, "Ritz Five" theater in Philadelphia!), and heartily recommend it for home viewing when it comes out on DVD."
"Let The Healing Begin ~ Happiness Is A Word For A Feeling"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 11/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 2008 film 'Shrink' is a dark comedy bent on attacking the multitude of facades, private and personal, that separate us from our innermost feelings, needs and desires. Considering the subject matter what better location is there to confront the unreality of life, why Los Angeles of course. And surely what profession among all possible professions would be best suited to serve as the ultimate hiding place for someone hiding from himself? Lets say it together, a psychiatrist of course. That leaves one final, essential element to complete the equation. Amongst all the great actors who have the ability to emote angst, loneliness and utter desolation who would you think is perfect for the role. You're right again, Kevin Spacey. Wasn't that easy?
Synopsis: Dr. Henry Carter (Spacey) appears to be a successful, self-realized shrink on the outside. He runs a thriving practice and has written a recent best selling book on how to be happy. However when he steps out of the public eye his true nature surfaces. The death of his wife still haunts him. Most people think she died by accident, but he knows it was suicide. He finds himself unable to come to terms with her actions and struggles with undefined guilt and depression. When away from work and book promotions he lives in self imposed isolation, spending his time drinking and smoking pot. He is anything but happy and fulfilled.
As you would expect, his private failures and professional success eventually collide and rise to the surface with disastrous results. As chaos abounds two new female patients come into his life, one a beautiful woman trapped in a bad marriage, the other a young girl dealing with her mothers suicide. Dr. Carter sees in these two a second chance for redemption and happiness. Helping them just might provide the antidote enabling him to reconnect with humanity and a reason to live.
Critique: This is Spacey doing what Spacey does best, no one can convey inner angst as well as he can. He's Mr. Existential of the 21st century. Unfortunately there's really nothing here that you haven't seen Spacey do before. The same can be said for the rest of the film as well. The production values and cast are solid, it's definitely a quality movie. However like Spacey there's nothing new forthcoming, you know exactly where the storyline is going long before you get there. Rent this one, but buy 'American Beauty'."
Snippy101Mum | Brisbane, Australia | 11/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As always Kevin Spacey never fails to deliver. Many layers to this movie, makes it an interesting journey for the viewer. Its not your typical movie where everything is spoon fed to you. You're able to think and feel a little for yourself. I see other reviewers 'caning' it, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed this movie."
Really Enjoyed Kevin Spacey's Return to His Element
carol irvin | United States | 12/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kevin Spacey's absence from the big screen in the kind of role we'd taken for granted from him left a big empty space on the silver screen. This is the first time, since his Oscar winning turn in AMERICAN BEAUTY, that I've felt the thrill again of watching a character actor at the top of his game. He plays Dr. Henry Carter, a psychiatrist at the peak of his career in Hollywood, who has been brought low by the suicide of his wife. This is about the worst thing that can happen to a man of his professional calling as it signals his massive failure on every level as both human being and professional. Worse yet, he comes from a family of psychiatrists! As he takes to pot in a major way and sleeps out on his diving board, his family and friends stage an intervention for him and his fury knows no bounds. However, he keeps seeing his patients and, ironically, it is his patients who begin to bring him back to the land of the living. Robin Williams plays one of these patients, a movie star who believes he is a sex addict instead of an alcoholic, parallel to his own real life at this point in time. This film reminds me a lot of Lawrence Kasdan's GRAND CANYON, which I also loved. I recommend this highly."
"Shrink" is a really good film.
Steven Carrier | 06/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Shrink" has such copious amounts of ethos and pathos that you are completely sucked in. The performances are so nuanced and lived-in that there is such an air of reality to the proceedings. Kevin Spacey gives an incredible performance (one of his best, personally) and the amazing Keke Palmer delivers in spades. The interweaving stories work for the most part, which says a lot for that type of film. Sometimes movies like this can be contrived, and "Shrink" can be, but for extremely fleeting moments. The vignettes are stung together in a way that is only believable for Los Angeles (the ending for sure), and in that it works. The cinematography is inspired (with one hell of a master shot) and is like a whole other character. "Shrink" is not perfect, but either is life and this film is first and foremost a story about life, so I can forgive whatever flaws it may have."