Film Review: It’s a Funny Kind of Story

It’s a Funny Kind of Story adds sprinklings of comedy to what is a very serious subject matter. Although the film is upbeat in tone, the message it sends is a little troubling.

Depressed and contemplating suicide, teenager Craig checks himself into a psychiatric ward. During his short stay at hospital, Craig meets an array of adults and teens that have a profound effect on his way of thinking…

It’s a Funny Kind of Story strikes a balance between drama and comedy that works most of the time. The humour is slight, but effective in breaking the tension of the more serious scenes that precede and follow. The film features a number of flashbacks and imaginary sequences, most of which work well. The scenes that feature Craig’s family illustrate the roots of his neurosis, although there are no real negative portrayals in the film.

It’s a Funny Kind of Story conveys a rather disconcerting message, with regards to mental illness. Craig’s problems are very relatable; he is a teenage boys who suffers with anxiety over girls and stresses about his future. During his stay in hospital, he realises how lucky he is to have the support of his family and friends. Whilst his appreciation for the many positives in his life is commendable, this quick fix depiction is troubling. Depression is an illness, and as such is unlikely to be cured that quickly and easily. Craig is depressed to the point of wanting to commit suicide, but after making a few friends and finding a love interest he appears happy and content.

On the one hand, this suggests that a serious condition can be simply rectified by making some new friends and finding a girlfriend. On the other hand, if Craig’s malaise is less serious, It’s a Funny Kind of Story indulges teen angst by positioning it among very serious mental illnesses. Furthermore, the film offers a rather skewered vision of mental health. Although It’s a Funny Kind of Story presents people with an array of issues, most of the characters seemed to be helped by Craig during his brief stay. Craig appears to have a healing power for those who have suffered with serious issues for years, a power that surpasses that of the medical professionals. It’s a Funny Kind of Story attempts to reduce the stigma of depression, but generates some disconcerting issues as a result.

Keir Gilchrist is convincing as Craig, effecting relaying the character’s strengths and weaknesses. Zach Galifianakis offers a strong performance as Bobby, a deeper and more serious character than the oddballs he is associated with. Emma Roberts is bright as Noelle, making the best of a rather one-dimensional role.

It’s a Funny Kind of Story is an interesting watch. However, the surface feel-good atmosphere is negating by some troubling representations of serious issues.