This film is based on the book It's Kind of a Funny Story
by Ned Vizzini, which in turn is based on his own experience of a brief stint in a psychiatric hospital for depression.
It's kind of a funny story follows our 16 year old high-achieving protagonist, Craig (played by Keir Gilchrist), as he wrestles with the pressure placed on him by life in general. Feeling depressed & suicidal, he goes to his doctor in desperation who is convinced enough to transfer him to '3-North' the secure psychiatry wing of the hospital for an observational 1 week stay.
Convinced that he doesn't belong in the ward full of schizophrenics, self-harmers and agoraphobics Craig is initially a little sceptical that this is the place to help him. After meeting fellow patient Bob (Zach Galifianakis -The Hangover
) he begins to open up as Bob shows him that his life just isn't that bad. Things perk up for Craig when he meets Noelle; a self-harmer in whom he really finds a kindred spirit who helps him discover just what he wants from life.
IKOAFS is a simple premise but delivers 101 minutes of straight-forward character development, we really see Craig grow as a person through the story as he learns what is important to him and to stop worrying about the insignificant stuff that is the cause of his stress. Keir Gilchrist fills the role out perfectly, really emoting well and whilst Zach Galifianakis still has the trademark beard (would anyone recognise him clean-shaven??) his character really shows more of his acting range and proves he isn't just a one-trick pony for ridiculous lines with deadpan delivery. The supporting cast are more than capable and provide a rich tapestry of mentally-afflicted characters to juxtapose just how "normal" Craig actually is.
The stylised maps Craig draws (after discovering art-class) are fantastic and the "Under pressure" musical scene is one that will stay with you well after the credits have rolled. Whilst this film probably won't win any awards and only justified a limited cinematic release, this is a touching feel-good film that steers clear of the usual psychiatric ward clichés and has you rooting for Craig the whole way. Definitely worth a watch, recommended!!