“Cyrus” is a love triangle with a
twist, in an ironic atmosphere.
John C. Reilly pla\ys John, a man
who’s admittedly in a downward spiral.
His ex-wife, Jamie (Katherine Keener), has moved on, and is preparing
to marry Tim (Matt Walsh), who has little patience for John’s continued
emotional dependence on Jamie. John
says he’s a freelance editor, but we don’t really see him working much.
Jamie insists that he come to their engagement party, just to get him
out of his apartment, and maybe out of his funk (obviously, her former love
for him has distilled to mere pity, but she still cares for him, in a
condescending kind of way).
John relents and comes to the party,
but is obviously uncomfortable in unfamiliar social situations, and his lame
attempts to even engage women in conversation are met with devastating
disinterest. Finally, he hears
a song he likes on the stereo, turns up the music, and just starts dancing,
and Molly (Marisa Tomei) responds to his pitiful requests for someone to
please come out and dance with him, and somehow in his unfettered zeal she
sees some potential passion that’s been lacking in her life.
At first, she doesn’t tell him
anything about herself. But
John is so grateful for her interest that he cannot suppress his natural
curiosity, and so he follows her home, and there he meets Cyrus (Jonah
Hill), her grown son. He seems
to be either stunted emotionally, not quite all there, or pathologically
immature, and, it turns out, maybe it’s all three.
Cyrus and Molly are so intimate emotionally that he calls her by her
first name, rather than “Mom,” and they spend inordinate amounts of time
together, engaging in the kind of playful, easy affection that would feel
entirely appropriate if he were, say, six years old.
But now it looks kinda weird. And
John thinks so, too. But when
he tries to talk to Molly about it, she seems oblivious to the potential
difficulty, wanting, understandably, for her new boyfriend and her only
child to like each other, and unwilling to define for either one of them
what the boundaries ought to be.
There’s some really awkward family
situations here, and some frank sexual humor, though no real gratuitous
nudity, and hardly even much physical intimacy.
This weird love triangle puts a lot of pressure on these three actors
to carry the whole movie, without the aid of a complicated plot, or the
normal whiz-bang special effects of modern big-budget films, or any chase
scenes, or any evil-villain-out-to-blow-up-the-world kind of dramatic
effect. There’s just the
clumsy reality of these strangely stark people, trying to awkwardly figure
out how to be individually warped and jointly dysfunctional, and somehow
make it all work. Feels like
real life to me.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace