IMAGINARY HEROES

Dysfunctional Family Nearly Self-Destructs

Content -4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: December 17, 2004

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Jeff
Daniels, Emile Hirsch,
Michelle Williams, Ryan
Donowho, and Deirdre
O’Connell

Genre: Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 117 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Director: Dan Harris PRODUCERS: Illana
Diamint, Art Linson, Frank
Hübner, Gina Resnick, and
Denise Shaw

Executive Producer:

Producer: Illana Diamint, Art Linson,
Frank Hübner, Gina Resnick,
and Denise Shaw EXECUTIVE
PRODUCERS: Moshe Diamint, Rudy
Cohen, and Jan Fantl

Writer: Dan Harris BASED ON THE
NOVEL/PLAY BY: N/A

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom
Co-Presidents
Sony Pictures Classics
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Web Page: http://www.sonyclassics.com
Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com

Content:

(HH, C, Ho, PaPaPa, LLL, VV, SS, N, AAA, DDD, MMM) Slightly misanthropic humanist worldview about teenagers and a dysfunctional family, with some brief redemptive elements, brief homosexual elements, and very strong pagan content where family members pursue their own selfish goals unconnected to other family members and most teenagers are only out for a good time; 26 strong obscenities (including some “f” words), two strong profanities, three light profanities, and woman vomits; implied suicides and attempted suicides with patches of blood shown in one instance, car crash, mother slaps mean father, teenager shoves teenager into mirror, 20-year-old fingers gun, and teenager shown getting beat up a couple times; briefly depicted fornication by minor teenage characters, two stoned teenage boys kiss, mention of past adultery, heterosexual teenage couple starts to take off clothes, and cross-dressing character at Christmas party; implied nudity, upper male nudity, and teenage girl in bra; alcohol use, drunkenness, and teenage drinking; smoking, marijuana use, Ecstasy use, and teenagers and adults take pills; and, protagonist’s family is really messed up, cynical mother, angry and emotionally abusive father, and no adult supervision of teenagers.

GENRE: Drama

Summary:

IMAGINARY HEROES is a partially interesting drama about a dysfunctional family, with disturbing elements of teenage suicide and teenage substance abuse. The movie also contains plenty of foul language and negative portrayals of parents and other adults, among other things.

Review:

IMAGINARY HEROES is a drama about a dysfunctional family. Sigourney Weaver plays the mother, Sandy Travis, who is estranged from the father, Ben, played by Jeff Daniels. Ben drives their son, Matt, a swimmer with Olympic potential, into suicide in the beginning of the movie. Their son, Tim, played by Emile Hirsch, feels completely estranged from his father, who lavished all his attention on Matt’s swimming. Matt’s best friend is Kyle, who lives next door. Kyle, however, is a rebellious teenager who likes to drink and get high on Ecstasy. Things come to a head when Matt and Kyle get into trouble with the law, and the mother becomes ill. Several secrets about Matt are revealed. The reason for Sandy and Ben’s crumbling marriage is also revealed.

Writer and director Dan Harris is trying to tell a redemptive story of family dysfunction and loss. Although he shows the consequences of sin, his story contains a weak, ambiguous premise. This dilutes the power of his characters. Harris also piles too many dysfunctional qualities onto his characters, turning them into story devices rather than flesh and blood people. Thus, IMAGINARY HEROES contains drug and alcohol abuse by teenagers and parents, negative portrayals of parents and other adults, plenty of foul language, sexual references, and a disturbing theme about teenage suicide. This offensive content overwhelms the movie’s redemptive parts, which are weak by themselves. The low-budget, washed-out cinematography doesn’t help.

In Brief:

IMAGINARY HEROES is a drama about a dysfunctional family. Sigourney Weaver plays the mother, Sandy Travis, who is estranged from the father, Ben, played by Jeff Daniels. Ben drives their son, Matt, a swimmer with Olympic potential, into suicide in the beginning of the movie. Their son, Tim, played by Emile Hirsch, feels completely estranged from his father, who lavished all his attention on Matt’s swimming. Things come to a head when Matt gets into trouble with the law and the mother becomes ill. Several secrets about Matt are revealed. The reason for Sandy and Ben’s crumbling marriage is also revealed.

IMAGINARY HEROES tries to tell a redemptive story of family dysfunction and loss, but the story has a weak, ambiguous premise. It also piles too many dysfunctional qualities onto its characters, turning them into story devices rather than flesh and blood people. Thus, IMAGINARY HEROES contains drug and alcohol abuse by teenagers and parents, negative portrayals of parents and other adults, plenty of foul language, sexual references, and a disturbing theme concerning teenage suicide. This offensive content overwhelms the movie’s redemptive parts, which are weak by themselves. The low-budget, washed-out cinematography doesn’t help.