In Hollywood, people in need revolve around Dr. Henry Carter, a shrink Jack, an aging star wants permission to cheat on his wife Shamus is a director whos a cokehead Patrick is a high-powered germophobic producer Jeremy is a young writer looking for a break Jemma, a high-school student, is skipping school and Kate is an actress facing her mid-30s. Henrys wife recently died hes grieving, blaming himself, smoking lots of pot. Henrys friends try an intervention someone steals a patients file from Henry Patricks assistant, the pregnant Daisy, sees promise in Jeremys work and, Jesus, Henrys drug dealer, sells him some potent weed. Can anything good come of this?
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It's another Los Angeles movie that is alternately self-congratulatory and self-pitying...
The 2008 film 'Shrink' is a dark comedy bent on attacking the multitude of facades, private and personal, that separate us from our innermost feelings, needs and desires. Considering the subject matter what better location is there to confront the unreality of life, why Los Angeles of course. And surely what profession among all possible professions would be best suited to serve as the ultimate hiding place for someone hiding from himself? Lets say it together, a psychiatrist. That leaves one final, essential element to complete the equation. Amongst all the great actors who have the ability to emote angst, loneliness and utter desolation who would you think is perfect for the role. You're right again, Kevin Spacey. Wasn't that easy?Synopsis: Dr. Henry Carter (Spacey) appears to be a successful, self-realized shrink on the outside. He runs a thriving practice and has written a recent best selling book on how to be happy. However when he steps out of the public eye his true nature surfaces. The death of his wife still haunts him. Most people think she died by accident, but he knows it was suicide. He finds himself unable to come to terms with her actions and struggles with undefined guilt and depression. When away from work and book promotions he lives in self imposed isolation, spending his time drinking and smoking pot. He is anything but happy and fulfilled.As you would expect, his private failures and professional success eventually collide and rise to the surface with disastrous results. As chaos abounds two new female patients come into his life. One is a beautiful woman trapped in a bad marriage, the other a young girl dealing with her mothers suicide. Dr. Carter sees in these two a second chance for redemption and happiness. Helping them just might provide the antidote enabling him to reconnect with humanity and a reason to live.Critique: This is Spacey doing what Spacey does best. No one can convey inner angst as well as he can, he's Mr. Existential of the 21st century. Unfortunately there's really nothing here that you haven't seen Spacey do before. The same can be said for the rest of the film as well. The production values and cast are solid, it's definitely a quality movie. However like Spacey there's nothing new forthcoming. You know exactly where the storyline is going long before you get there. Rent this one, but buy 'American Beauty'.
Jonas Pate's derivative L.A. indie brings few fresh revelations, but it does offer this insight: There is no more juice left in the strangers-connected-by-coincidence story line.
This review is from: Shrink (DVD) I was bored, looking for something to watch, and saw Kevin Spacey's name. Let's face it-he's an awesome actor. I watched the movie on some cable channel that I rarely even watch--and I am so glad I did. I immediately ordered the DVD. I think we can all relate to those moments in our lives where we just don't give a damn any longer, right? Spacey's character is at exactly that place in his life, yet he is responsible for professionally helping those in need of his services (he is...yes, a shrink). It was interesting to watch the events that led to the progression of the characters. Good movie.
It wants to be Good Will Hunting set in the land of Entourage, but its bummed-out touchy-feeliness is every bit as concocted as its overly jaded showbiz corruption.
The script by Thomas Moffett slickly satirizes the movie industry's fascination with vampires and special effects without being especially compelling or original.
Spacey is mesmerizing as the "compassion fatigued" Carter. The pain and anger of his character are palpable, as is his heart-wrenching frustration.
Blackly funny but never as vicious as it clearly wants to be, this rather nihilistic look at modern society keeps us hooked with desperate and lost characters who all have a whiff of soulful humanity.
A Hollywood psychiatrist, Henry Carter, is in dire need of helphimself. One wonders how this pot smoking therapist could even betreating patients that are really screwed up. Not only that, he haswritten a book that is a 'must read', according to people that know.Carter is going through a rough period in his life because he iswounded man suffering after his wife committed suicide. Even hisfather's advice has any effect in him.Dr. Carter's patients are a mixed lot. The gorgeous actress KateAmberson can't cope with an obsession about growing old in a town thatdoesn't forgive anyone for doing so. There is Patrick, an agent with anelite clientele who is a hypochondriac with a compulsive disorder. Jackanother actor, has a drinking problem and a sexual addiction. The youngblack teenager, Jemma, is recovering from a family tragedy. One canhelp wondering how can a man that needs all the help himself beobjective in treating these assorted characters.Jonas Pate, the director, working on the screenplay by Thomas Moffett,takes the viewer into that rarefied world of wounded people who aren'tdealing with reality. Lucas Ettlin and Isaac Phillips cinematographydoes wonders to add to the atmosphere of the film. Brian Reitzelloriginal score works well.Kevin Spacey, one of the best actors of his generation, tends tosurprise us with his choices of films roles, not always as good as hedeserves. His Henry Carter is not one of his best creations, but it'simpossible to ignore him whenever he appears on the screen. DallasRoberts brings to life his character. Saffron Burrows makes a case forher aging actress. Robin Williams and Gore Vidal make cameoappearances.One can only hope never to be treated by a shrink like Henry Carterthough!
As all of Shrink's seemingly disparate stories begin to fall too cleverly into each other, it's easy to be distracted by some fine performances.
Shrink (2009)We know the joke that is no joke at all--psychiatrists are the ones whoneed the help.The rest of the cast needs help, too, but Kevin Spacey is a perfectlydour, complex, troubled, and rather smart shrink. And if hisperformance is nuanced and powerful in an undramatic way, the largesupporting cast is exceptional, too. Exceptional. There might be issueswith the neat ending, or with some of the motivations here and there,but there is so much going on within this clearly deceptive world ofHollywood insiders and outsiders, almost anything goes.This is director Jonas Pate's first feature, after many t.v. episodesand some music video. That he coordinated such an involved plot, andmade it look good, is impressive. That he got such an array of actorsto be their idiosyncratic selves without too much strain andaffectation is also impressive. It might help that I expected anordinary film and found it extraordinary. It has an echo in many waysof "Short Cuts" and in many ways equals it, though that 1993 film hadnothing but the highest expectations (Robert Altman directing, based onRaymond Carver stories). "Shrink" is refreshing in how it approachesHollywood peripherally--not through a producer's office and some actorslooking to make it, but through this psychiatrist who treatsHollywood's elite. There might be a sense, especially at first, that there is no cleardirection to the plot. But that's a matter of having so many pieces,and they haven't started fitting together. I found each subplotengaging enough to lead me along quite happily right away. And so whenit got more integrated, and the stakes of the characters were raised,the whole just got better and better.I'm not sure how this slipped by everyone's attention. Don't let itslip yours.
Kevin Spacey shines in his portrayal of a Los Angeles psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Carter, who's been hitting the booze and drugs pretty hard in the wake of a personal tragedy. After an intervention by his family and friends falls flat, the doctor's father (also a psychiatrist, and played by the great Robert Loggia), sets his son up with a new patient, a teenage girl named Jemma (Keke Palmer) who has faced a tragedy similar to Carter's, in the hope that the case will help his son re-engage in life and better confront his own grief. Despite seeing right through the plan, Dr. Carter grudgingly takes on the case and it indeed starts him back on a more positive, functional path, though things don't happen easily. An ensemble cast, mostly playing Dr. Carter's other patients, also slowly get drawn into the main story, either directly or through the comments they make about their own problems during their sessions with Carter. An unbilled Robin Williams is a particular standout in his small but memorable role as a movie star confronting his own personal issues (everyone has them in this movie). Indeed, many of Dr. Carter's patients are in the movie business in some way, bringing about an interesting juxtaposition of intense personal issues on the part of some patients (and Carter) and quirky Hollywood shallowness from others. "Shrink" is mostly serious, but it's lightened a little by Dr. Carter's wry, dry sense of humor (perfectly brought to life by Mr. Spacey), which the character can't help displaying even when he's hurting and wants to be left alone. Keke Palmer's Jemma is also a ray of sunshine in the film, despite the seriousness of her own issues. And, as previously noted, the occasional Hollywood humor, centering around the often insane world of movie deals and star egos, also keeps things from getting too heavy. I was lucky enough to see "Shrink" on the big screen during its brief and limited theatrical run (thank you, "Ritz Five" theater in Philadelphia!), and heartily recommend it for home viewing when it comes out on DVD.
I hate to break the party spirit, but being from LA myself, I can suggest that this movie is simply an attempt to depict real down-to-Earth life in the city, falling short and coming up more like a candy-clad version of what you really want LA to be. It's not close, it's really different there, and should be written and shot by someone not living in the hilly side of Mulholland drive, but rather by someone living in a sh*tty box-sized shared 1-bedroom, trying to achieve something he/she would most likely fail to achieve.And regarding this admiration with Casey's character - he didn't play much, just was an older version of himself in American Beauty, nothing more. The whole movie he's smoking weed and acting tired, so I wouldn't anticipate magic from his role.So in general, I'd say that the movie tried but didn't quite make it. I'm sorry.
This review is from: Shrink (DVD) I really enjoyed this movie. Kevin Spacey is always great. As is Robin Williams.Well written by Thomas Moffett. All characters were interesting and real.
I felt it felt forced from the first moment into the last moment.
The characters are so flatly conceived and their dilemmas so familiar that you wonder if the filmmakers even aspired to be original. Luckily, Kevin Spacey plays Carter with scene-saving grace.
Life without God brings the kind of misery portrayed in this movie. Sad to say we still think we can figure out life on our own.
Ultimately too cautious for even a Valley of the Dolls insider expose. It lambasts these walking movie biz clichés, but everyone's gotta get a happy-enough ending.
More than anything else, this confused, disappointing melodrama suggests it's time to call a moratorium on movies dealing with Hollywood, L.A. as a sprawling but interconnected milieu, and above all shrinks who are more troubled than their patients.
I've seen movies like this one, but the thing is they're all European.So, I ask my self, why would the Americans want to make a Europeanmovie? The movies should be fun and entertaining, not depressing.That's what the European filmmakers usually don't know, and that's whythey rarely come out with a big success. I believe that "Shrink" is oneof the rare American movies that take European approach, usually it'sthe other way around. Don't believe me?! Go and take a look at theItalian film "La Stanza Del Figlio" and "Shrink" will look like asequel. But don't get me wrong, I don't dare saying the movie is bad. Ireally think that these guys deserve 9 out of 10 just for making aneffort to come out with something new and for being able to withstandthe pressure of Hollywood (and it's well known clichÃ©s), while goingupstream.