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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Escape Yourself
'Manic' went largely unnoticed after its film festival run in 2001, and even after finally getting a DVD release in 2004, has still remained highly underrated to this day. To say the least, it's a remarkable achievement in my opinion. It's the most realistic portrayal of a youth psych ward that I have ever seen on film. 'Manic' revolves around a group of adolescents,...
Published on 7 Oct. 2006 by Omnipotent

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3.0 out of 5 stars A good early film in the career of Gordon-Levitt
Before the hard-hitting Mysterious Skin and the excellent Brick came Manic, a film about various teenagers with mental health issues. There's nothing particularly memorable or original here, but it's a solid film with solid performances, particularly from Gordon-Levitt himself. I have to admit that I never find Don Cheadle a particularly convincing or watchable actor,...
Published 13 months ago by Discerning Reader/Viewer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Escape Yourself, 7 Oct. 2006
By 
Omnipotent (The Realms Of Reality) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manic [DVD] (DVD)
'Manic' went largely unnoticed after its film festival run in 2001, and even after finally getting a DVD release in 2004, has still remained highly underrated to this day. To say the least, it's a remarkable achievement in my opinion. It's the most realistic portrayal of a youth psych ward that I have ever seen on film. 'Manic' revolves around a group of adolescents, roughly 12 to 17 year olds, who are locked up in a correctional facility in order to be 'fixed'. None of them are crazy per se, but they all seem to have serious emotional issues.

This film is brutally honest, raw, and yet at times inspiring. I have not seen another film tackle this subject in such an unflinching and realistic manner. There's no fabricated drama here for the sake of conforming to Hollywood standards. The sometimes shaky, nontraditional digital camera work, and the lack of a musical soundtrack, make this film feel more like a documentary and less like a cinematic feature.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is phenomenal as Lyle Jensen, an easily angered and confused teenager, who can't seem to contain his rage. Don Cheadle is equally effective as the Head Counselor struggling to make a difference in the lives of the troubled teens, and at the same time dealing with his own demons. Michael Bacall plays the bipolar Chad, Lyle's closest thing to a friend in the facility, who despite putting on a friendly front is deeply conflicted inside. Zooey Deschanel plays the beautiful and kind Tracy, who suffers from crushingly low self-esteem. Her accomplice in the hospital is wannabe tough-girl Sara, played by newcomer Sara Rivas, who despite being outspoken and never one to appear weak, acts as a nurturer and protector for Tracy. The villain of the cast goes hands down to Mike, played by Elden Henson. He is successful at making you completely hate his character. He has problems similar to Lyle, but acts ghetto in a hip-hop inspired way to compensate for his lack of self-identity. And last but not least, is the youngest of the pack Kenny, played by Cody Lightning. Kenny shouldn't be in this particular ward because of his age, but had to be moved because of his troubled actions.

'Manic' will probably never get the respect it deserves, but is a great film nonetheless. So if you want to see a a visual manifestation of mental illness in a raw upfront manner that Hollywood could never handle, this is for you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Film, 17 Sept. 2007
By 
Peter J. Barwick "PeterJB" (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Manic is a film that many people will find shocking and disturbing. It deals with the sensitive subject of teenage mental illness, being set inside a psychiatric institute. There are excellent perfomances from the entire cast, Joseph Gorden-Levitt and Don Cheadle are simply outstanding. The movie is filmed using small hand-held cameras, that give you a "documentary" feel throughout the film. As someone who really is a manic depressive (bipolar), I found myself becoming strangely involved with Lyle, the central character, as he comes to terms with his situation. I should point out the film contains very strong language throughout. A superb film, and as it says on the box.. FEEL IT. FIGHT IT. LIVE IT.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, From Sundance, 26 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Have you ever been so mad at one point where you just felt like hurting someone? I'm sure at one point in your life you have, I think it's quite normal for human beings to feel this way from time to time. This movie is about Lyle Jensen(played by one of my favorite actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who gets committed to a juvenile wing of a mental institution after he beats a kid with a baseball bat during a game. Apparently the victim would always pick on Lyle and would never leave him alone, of course not so much anymore after Lyle had beat him up with a baseball bat. Inside the juvenile center we meet another group of troubled and angry teens with similar problems as Lyle, and It just so happens that Lyle even meets a girl that he might actually be interested in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally mindblowing, 8 Feb. 2010
By 
Ric 1912 (Aberdeen Scotland UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manic [DVD] (DVD)
Being a gigantic Joseph Gordon Levitt fan I was intrigued as to how he would adapt himself to a role of a deranged teenager forced into a mental institute by his mother, (despite his actions being a result of years of torment and physical /mental abuse). And yet he was totally brilliant, even I could believe his anger and frustration which he delivers in his own brilliant way.

Was totally in awe of the performances of all of the characters in this movie, and how each had their own personal past, filled with fears and anxities which they reveal in small portions throughout the movie. This movie is a real eye-opener, but is totally believable and another yet another notch in Mr Levitt's belt.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see!, 28 Mar. 2004
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This review is from: Manic [DVD] (DVD)
"Manic" is set in a juvenile psychiatric ward for troubled teenagers, Where teens with violent, suicidal or disruptive tendencies come to be rehabilitated. The guru is Dr. David Monroe (Don Cheadle), a genuinely caring, down-to-earth man who has been through most of what the teenagers have experienced.
The central character is Lyle (Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Third Rock from the Sun), in the ward after beating a kid with a baseball bat, and was sent to the hospital against his will. He won't talk about what happened, and his anger management issues are not helped any by fellow dweller Mike (Elden Ratliff / The Mighty Ducks), an argumentative Eminem wannabe who challenges everyone and loves to be at war with everyone.
The plot is Lyle's struggle to accept the idea that he actually does need help. Whether he wants it, or not. He was taught violence by his father, as it seems more or less all the teenagers here learned hazardous behaviours from their parents or guardians.
If you're a fan of "Girl Interrupted", you'll love this!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good early film in the career of Gordon-Levitt, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Before the hard-hitting Mysterious Skin and the excellent Brick came Manic, a film about various teenagers with mental health issues. There's nothing particularly memorable or original here, but it's a solid film with solid performances, particularly from Gordon-Levitt himself. I have to admit that I never find Don Cheadle a particularly convincing or watchable actor, although he does a passable job in this case.

This is one of those films that, if it came on TV, you'd probably watch it and probably enjoy it. Nothing more, nothing less.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic!, 5 Jan. 2010
By 
John G. Jones (Southampton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Set in a mental institution, a number of youths attempt to overcome (or accept) their issues with depression, anger, violence and trauma. Gordon-Levitt stars as Lyle, an angry young man sent down for vicious assault. This is a role in which Gordon-Levitt truly shines, with his raw anger infusing with a sense of relatability in a performance that never feels forced or one dimensional. The rest of the cast are also largely impressive - with a familiar face in Zooey Deschanel playing the quiet, kooky role with all the charm that you'd expect from some of her more recent performances. Don Cheadle also deserves an individual mention for his fantastic portrayal of a reformed counsellor, showing exactly why he's amongst the top bunch of Hollywood actors.

The film itself is very raw, with almost documentary-styled camera work, and visible shake. This never detracts from the film though, and is deliberately placed to enhance the feel of reality, and atmosphere that surrounds it. The atmosphere, in fact, is a vital part of what makes this film what it is. You feel yourself being drawn in to the anger and desperation of these characters, especially if you've ever suffered any kind of severe anger or mental illness before. And though the concept of the film, and many scenes, are very bleak and depressing, there are moments which break this up with sentiment and hope, and others with teenage reality.

If you're looking for a different style of film, one that's not stylised or seeking perfection, Manic should be towards the top of your list. It's beyond most 'indie' efforts of recent years for sure. By the end of the film, you certainly won't regret buying this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 May 2015
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This review is from: Manic [DVD] (DVD)
Great Movie
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loveeeeeeeee it, 5 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I absolutely love this film!
probaly because I love joesph Gordon-Levitt!
Endings a bit weird, but decide that for yourselves!
BUY IT NOWWW
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Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007]
Manic (2001) [DVD] [2007] by Jordan Melamed (DVD - 2007)
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