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Igby Goes Down

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Burr Steers
Produced by David Rubin
Lisa Tornell
Trish Hofmann
Written by Burr Steers
Starring Kieran Culkin
Claire Danes
Jeff Goldblum
Bill Pullman
Susan Sarandon
Music by Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen
Cinematography Wedigo von Schultzendorff
Editing by William M. Anderson
Robert Frazen
Padraic McKinley
Studio United Artists
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) September 13, 2002
Running time 98 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million
Gross revenue $6,919,198

Igby Goes Down is a 2002 American comedy-drama film that follows the life of Igby Slocumb, a rebellious and sardonic New York City teenager who attempts to break free of his familial ties and wealthy, overbearing mother. The film was written and directed by Burr Steers, and stars Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillipe, Bill Pullman, and Jared Harris. It was given a limited theaterical release through United Artists on September 13, 2002 in the United States.



Kieran Culkin plays Jason "Igby" Slocumb, a misanthropic 17-year-old boy, rebelling against the oppressive world of his strict East Coast "old money" family. His schizophrenic father Jason (Bill Pullman) has been committed to an institution; Igby fears he will eventually suffer a mental breakdown like his father. His mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) is self-absorbed and distant. Igby mockingly describes his ambitious older brother Ollie (Ryan Phillippe) as a fascist or alternatively a Young Republican, and that he studies Neo-Fascism (Economics) at Columbia University.

Igby figures there must be a better life out there, and he sets out to find it, rebelling against his family at every opportunity. After happily flunking out of several prep schools, he ends up in a brutal military academy where he gets beaten by his fellow students. After escaping and spending time in a Chicago hotel courtesy of his mother's credit card Igby is sent to New York for the summer to his godfather D.H. Banes (Jeff Goldblum). While working construction for D.H. he first encounters Rachel (Amanda Peet), his godfather's heroin-addicted trophy mistress. Rather than return to school, he escapes into the bohemian underworld of Manhattan, hiding out with Rachel and her friend Russel (Jared Harris). He hooks up with terminally bored, part-time lover Sookie (Claire Danes), only for her to later leave him for Ollie.

Despite seeming cold and distant, Mimi is not unaffected by her rebellious son. She describes Igby's conception as an act of malice and it shouldn't be a surprise that his life follows the same course. His name is explained as a family in-joke. As a child he would blame his toy bear, Digby, for things he had done, mispronouncing it as "Igby". In order to get him to take responsibility for his actions his family would call him Igby whenever he lied.

Igby is informed by D.H. that his mother Mimi is dying from cancer and so he returns to see her. She has arranged to commit suicide with help from Ollie, who sedates her and suffocates her with a plastic bag. Before she dies, Mimi makes a final revelation, casually inquiring of Igby, "I take it you know that D.H. is your father?" The film ends with Igby leaving for California, in an attempt to finally make a clean break by getting 3000 miles away from his family.



The soundtrack was released February 25, 2003 by Spun Records.[1]

Music featured prominently in the film and was strongly non-diegetic.

  1. "The Weight" – performed by Travis, written by Robbie Robertson
  2. "Not You" – Alvarez
  3. "Don't Panic" – Coldplay
  4. "Everybody's Stalking" – Badly Drawn Boy
  5. "Bohemian Like You" – The Dandy Warhols
  6. "Anyway" – Jelly Planet
  7. "Frozen Tears" – G. Mittermeier
  8. "Youth is Wasted on the Young" – Krause
  9. "Broken Up a Ding Dong" – Beta Band
  10. "Boys Better" – The Dandy Warhols
  11. "Insanity is Relative" (suite)
  12. "Love and Remembrance" (suite)
  13. "Igby Goes Down" (main theme)

Filming locations

Igby Goes Down was filmed in locations throughout New York City, including Central Park, Washington Square Park, and SoHo.


Igby Goes Down received a positive critical reaction, with an overall rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 72% favorable on Metacritic. Critics have compared aspects of the story to J.D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye.[2][3][4] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review and a grade of three and a half stars out of four.[5] Stephen Holden gave a strongly positive review in The New York Times, crediting the film with "ruthless emotional honesty" and stating, "Not a false note is sounded."[4] The film was also a New York Times "Critics' Pick."


External links

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