I was browsing Netflix’s streaming movies and came across Lonesome Jim. It sounded interesting, was directed by Steven Buscemi, and had Liv Tyler in it, I was sold. Netflix told me that it was a movie about a twenty seven year old guy who had tried to make it on his own a few times and failed so he decided to move back in with his parents. As pathetic as the character of Jim sounded from the description, it was nothing compared to when you actually see him in the film. The first scene is Jim trying to get a ride to town and getting rejected. I’ve never seen a more pitiful looking main character. You can’t help but sympathize with him.

The movie wasn’t as funny as I hoped, in fact it was just sad. Jim’s character is depressed and can’t see a way out of his depression. His favorite authors are Sylvia Plath, Augusten Burroughs, etc. Everything about his life screams depression. The saddest thing is not that a fictional character is depressed, but that Jim represents a lot of twenty somethings these days. Jim represents the mass of lonely and hurting people who don’t know how to find happiness, they seek it in family, friends, girls, guys, alcohol, etc. It is excellent social commentary.

Enough about that, how is the production value, the camera work, the acting and all those other things that make a movie? Well, the writing is decent, the plot is every bit as tragic and oddly beautiful as the description said. The acting is good, the characters are believable, and the mother gets the award for most annoying character I’ve seen in a long time. Some of the conversations are slightly off and not quite believable.  There are plenty of awkward moments in the movie, which makes it relatable to the everyman. The camera work is where my problems rest. Sometimes the shots are just downright bad, like a high schooler was shooting the film for his schools film festival. There was one scene in particular where the cameraman decided to zoom in as close as possible on Liv Tyler’s shirt, all you could see was the blurry flower pattern of her blouse. Some of the mistakes were just absolutely amateur. I can only assume they got one take and couldn’t go back to redo the shots. The music was one of my favorite parts of the film. Evan Lurie wrote all the music for the film, all of it is very lo-fi, with quiet guitars, harmonica, and drums driving the soundtrack. The music perfectly fits the mood for the movie.

The film is ultimately a hopeful one. I won’t spoil the ending or the plot points but I will say that the film isn’t all gloom and doom depression. I don’t think the average movie watcher would enjoy Lonesome Jim, it’s got a very slow pace and is entirely dialogue driven. There were a lot of problems, it’s far from perfect. Although it was entertaining to watch once, I don’t think I’ll watch it again and ultimately I think it’s forgettable.

Overall rating: 6.5/10