Trisha’s Take: Cyrus review


Directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill
Rated R for language and some sexual material

Back when I had a Netflix account, I went on an indie movie-watching spree, and that’s where I encountered the concept behind “actor’s workshop” films for the first time.

For the people who aren’t acting or film geeks, I’ll explain. An actor’s workshop film is one where a bunch of actor who are taking classes together take what they’ve learned and make a movie out of it. The coolest thing, though, is that some of the best actors are always taking classes and workshops to hone their craft even further. Another thing I learned about was the mumblecore movement, wherein production is very low-budget, conversations are improvised, and the focus is on characterization over complicated plots.

Multi-hyphenate brothers Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, who helped form the latter, seem to have taken the best of what’s cool about an actor’s workshop film, given it a mumblecore feel, and turned it loose into the world.

The plot to Cyrus is pretty simple. John C. Reilly stars as John, a divorcé who never really got out of the depressive funk that drove his now-ex-wife (Catherine Keener) away seven years ago. Strangely enough, they’re still friends—and may possibly also work together—and after she tells him that she’s getting married again, she tries to get him out of his rut by forcing him to go to a party. There he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei) who sees something charming in his sad sack and “drunk on Red Bull and vodka” exterior and follows him back to his place.

However, she doesn’t stick around in the morning, but instead leaves him a note. Intrigued but not scared off, John invites her over for a proper first date which is as romantic as it is charming… only to catch her sneaking out of his room at night. Her vague explanation doesn’t satisfy him, so John follows her back to her house where he meets the source of her secrecy: her antagonistic live-at-home 21-year old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: Cyrus review”