Brigsby Bear

By Angie Raphael

4 stars

Original, funny and heartfelt, Brigsby Bear is like a quirky ode to creativity and filmmaking. James (Kyle Mooney, who is also a co-writer with Kevin Costello) has lived in a bunker for 25 years, unaware that the people he calls his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) are actually his kidnappers. His only source of entertainment and education is a children's television show called Brigsby Bear Adventures, but he is devastated to learn upon his freedom that his abductors created the program and no one else has ever seen it, so he embarks on a filmmaking adventure of his own. Director Dave McCary has struck a great balance with the tone of the film, and the 1980s vibe that has become recently popular again is effective rather than showy. Mooney is excellent in the lead role, playing James with equal sensitivity and humour. The supporting cast is also good, especially Greg Kinnear as a detective who once dreamed of being an actor, and Matt Walsh who plays the real father struggling to help his son assimilate. Claire Danes has a small role as a psychiatrist and Andy Samberg has a random but entertaining cameo. Brigsby Bear is an indie film that celebrates filmmaking and pop culture, and is a joy to watch.