To start, I would like to note that this is my first movie review where I actually took notes during the film. Maybe it will be more insightful, or maybe too introspective - I guess we will see.
Imaginary Heroes revolves around the Travis family. Jeff Daniels and Sigourney Weaver play the husband and wife (Ben & SandY). Emile Hirsch plays Tim, the protagonist of our little fucked up story, and most dynamic character in our dysfunctional family. Michelle Williams plays Penny, the daughter that does not live with the family, but visits for all the disasters - many of which occur throughout the film. Kind of interesting that Matt, played by Kip Pardue, is both Tim's deceased brother, and yet his biggest problem.
If this movie review seems turned around, or out-of-focus, it is because the movie is pretty turned around and out-of-focus. To be sure, I have no clue what the film tried to do.
Matt (Tim's brother) is a champion swimmer, that is the pride of his high school. Tim finds Matt dead in his room, after he commits suicide. The family is not exactly "crushed" about this, besides Jeff Daniels, who was living vicariously through Matt. After Matt's death, Jeff Daniels further loses touch with his family, and continues to lose touch with his mind. We see that he randomly sleeps in his car or on a park bench (by himself, of course). He asks Sigourney Weaver (his wife), if she wants a face lift (out-of-the-blue, mind you), and asks Tim if he wants tickets to Nirvana (a suicide reference to Curt Kobain).
Sigourney Weaver looks surprisingly hot (in a slutty MILF kind of way). She is a cool mom; very close to Tim. Way too cool for Jeff Daniels, and in my opinion, these two would never get married in reality. She is a former hippie, and she decides to smoke a little weed here and there. She is most certainly the glue that keeps the family together, but she can be a fucking wreck herself. Jesus Christ.
She seems to have some aversion to her next door neighbor, Marge, which I will not spoil for you. The situation with Marge unfolds a couple times throughout the film. Marge's son is Tim's best friend (Kyle), who is into various drugs. Sigourney Weaver tries to make herself feel young, which I feel was kind of pointless to building her character.
Michelle Williams has the smallest role of the family members, and could probably have been completely out of the script, with no immediate lose. I enjoyed every scene she was in, but it probably had nothing to do with her acting, and everything to do with her being cute (I like cute girls). However, she did make for my favorite exchange in the film, with an old dude at a Christmas party:
Old dude at Christmas party: College girls are da bomb.
Penny (Seductively): Hmm...you're telling me...
Old dude (Whispers): Are you...?
Penny: Tonight, I am.
Now let us work on Tim. Tim is 17, and into recreational drugs, as are his friends (chiefly, Kyle). We are not sure about Tim's sexual orientation, which comes into question a few times throughout the film. He has got some serious bruises on his body that he does his best to hide, and avoids any mention of them. Tim had a strange relationship with his brother, which he explains in a voice-over near the end of the film, and really...he had a strange relationship with every character in the film, save his mother and sister.
Several times through Imaginary Heroes, I said to myself, "this is a fucked up family" or just "this is fucked up." From what I gather, we are supposed to learn a little about each character, with the focus on Tim and his mother. Lots of suicide came up: Matt at the beginning of the film, a girl at Tim's school, and there were other mentions of people attempting suicide. Lots of drugs, and of course, one particularly dysfunctional family. I want to say that I know what the movie tried to pull off, but I cannot narrow it down. The plot was very layered (which is being generous), with lots of great characters and roles; it seemed like a very believable American suburbia, sans the marriage. That being said, the film has little focus aside from the mother-son relationship. There were several extra scenes, extra twists, and some extra characters (Penny, Marge, Kyle).
Really...I do not know how I am supposed to feel, or what I am supposed to think. I am not asking for a movie to spoon-feed me emotions, but at least give me some direction. Imaginary Heroes will definitely make you feel strange, confused, really confused, bewildered, sad, anxious, confused again, anxious some more...shit...you might need some drugs after the movie, just to even yourself out.