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||IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 26 September 2013 (Netherlands) /
||Director: Sherman Alexie,
||Stars: Barton Bund, Benicio Del Toro, David Lawrence Regal, Dennis North, Elya Baskin, Gary Farmer, Hugh Maguire, Joseph Cross, Larry Pine, Linda Boston, Lise Lacasse, Loren Bass, Mathieu Amalric, Michelle Thrush, Stephen Bridgewater
||Synopsis: A troubled Native American veteran forms an extraordinary friendship with his maverick French psychoanalyst as they try to find a cure to his suffering.
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An intellectual labor of love in which the director tries to recreate
the psychotherapeutic relationship between a French psychoanalyst (in
reality a Hungarian-German Jew who converted to Christianity) and a
Blackfoot Indian vet suffering from inexplicable symptoms in the late
1940s in a VA hospital in Topeka, Kansas.
Played by Benicio del Toro (who is Puerto Rican) and Mathieu Almaric
(who is half-French half-Polish Jewish), the film drags at times but
does delve into some interesting psychological (although of course it
goes *much* more seamlessly/painlessly than most analyses in reality).
Almaric's character wins over Del Toro's with his initial knowledge of
Native American cultures (actually Mojave but there are parallels to
the Blackfoot). From there he tries to synthesize his anthropological
knowledge with what seem to be a pretty standard fare of sexualized
Freudian clichés (witnessing the primal scene, explicit discussions of
vaginas (which I thought Del Toro's character spoke about far too
easily for the mores of that day and age)).
The relationship between the two men are supposed to be a life-changing
event but I felt the film fell a little short in depicting that reality
(also a film review (for which I know the director is not responsible)
described their friendship as resulting from their both being
outsiders, but Almaric's character never reveals his true background
(his lover mentions at one point the fact that he changed his name but
that is it, perhaps there were other scenes that didn't make it past
the editor (I went to the premiere in NYC with the director and main
actors and they said there are a lot of scenes that got cut)).
In the latter part of the movie there are strong hints that Jimmy's
(Del Toro's character) headaches, fits of rage and alcoholic binges are
the result of systematic sociopolitical mistreatment of native
Americans but the subject is only strongly hinted at, not really
discussed explicitly by Jimmy in any deep or meaningful way. This was
to me perhaps more interesting than the anthropological Freudianism of
the first 90 minutes of the film, but the director was trying to adhere
to a book on the subject and real-life events (psychology back then was
even more grossly unaware of psychopolitical factors compared to now).
Perhaps subtly discourages the notion that Jimmy is suffering from PTSD
(a diagnosis which did not exist at the time, but the phrase "shell
shock" is not used either) because he never saw combat or killed anyone
(he was involved in mine-clearing operations after the German retreat).
Also interesting insofar as his injury was to his head, thus perhaps
implicitly challenging the often presumed relationship nowadays in vets
between TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD? (Then again the director
was following real-life events so I don't know his intentionality.)
A worthwhile film but a little odd insofar as it (to me)
underemphasizes the ethnocultural forces in the characters in favor of
a "special friendship" (in a universalized way) despite the fact that
it is the decultured nature of American psychiatry which was at the
root of doctors' inability to help Jimmy in the first place. Also
couldn't stand the way a couple of actors (thinking of Almaric and
Joseph Cross specifically) who think that acting means being as anxious
and/or intense as possible in every scene.
P.S. The film does drag a bit (114 minutes) (I'm not someone who
normally complains about "art-house" films with slower (French) pacing
Tags for Jimmy P. Full Movie
, Benicio Del Toro
, David Lawrence Regal
, Dennis North
, Elya Baskin
, Gary Farmer
, Hugh Maguire
, Joseph Cross
, Larry Pine
, Linda Boston
, Lise Lacasse
, Loren Bass
, Mathieu Amalric
, Michelle Thrush
, Stephen Bridgewater
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