Bringing anything fresh to yet another story about a suburban American family forced to keep up appearances while riven by crisis certainly presents a challenge for first-time writer-director Dan Harris. He does, however, have a genuine trump card in Sigourney Weaver, whose splendid turn as a worldly-wise nicotine-addict mom just about holding on to the carefree attitudes of her hippy-era youth probably deserves a bit more breathing space than the wildly overpopulated storyline allows her. The supposed centre of interest is actually Emile Hirsch as the disaffected son who’s been in the shadow of his swimming-champ sibling until the latter’s suicide in the movie’s first few minutes, and now faces the pressures of growing up in a household numbed by despair and self-recrimination. Everyone has their problems: aloof father and husband Jeff Daniels seems to be taking it worst of all, an ongoing feud with neighbour Deirdre O’Connell suggests some murky marital backstory, and Weaver’s hacking cough isn’t getting any better… There’s more, and then some, with the film’s collection of personal issues and plot revelations coming to resemble a screenwriter’s lengthy shopping list crammed into one overloaded basket. But ‘Imaginary Heroes’ has little inner life to speak of, since 24-year-old Harris mistakes spiralling revelations for the texture of lived experience, apparently working on the principle that piling more emotional conflict on the characters will intensify the emotional response from the viewer. Predictably, saturation point is reached relatively early on, but Harris is deft enough with dialogue and trusting enough with his able performers to suggest a promising future once he learns to stop forcing the pace.
|Release date:||Friday July 1 2005|
Cast and crew