Brigsby Bear: A Really Weird Quarter-Life Crisis

It may be because I’m only months away from turning thirty, but I can’t help but thinking that Brigsby Bear is a giant metaphor for the post-college / quarter-life crisis. I sat through the whole movie seeing weird parallels to what most college students go through when they are finally released into the wild to fend for themselves.

The film follows James Pope, a thirty-something that spends his days decoding messages in a children’s television show. He’s lived a sheltered life in a bunker with his mother and father. Everything is perfect until one day flashing lights drive down their secluded desert road and James is taken away by police officers. He is then informed that he was kidnapped when he was an infant. After an adequately awkward family reunion, we also learn that the show James is so dedicated to, Brigsby Bear, doesn’t really exist. It was produced solely for James by his kidnappers.

Sounds a little strange doesn’t it? Well, it is. I didn’t know what to expect from this film, but I definitely wasn’t expecting for it to give me flashbacks to my quarter-life crisis. It’s very probable that this metaphor was not the filmmakers’ intention. However, as I mentioned earlier, I’m about to turn thirty and my quarter-life crisis is only just in my rearview mirror.

James’ attempt to navigate a world that is completely foreign to him is creepily similar to what a post-graduate crisis. All of a sudden you’re released from the structured freedom of college and the world seems like something you’ve never experienced before. Everyone expects you to be doing all of these things but in reality you’re just doing good to  pay your electric bill.


In Brigsby Bear, James goes through a much darker, more depressing version of this, you know, considering he was kidnapped. However, to James, there isn’t anything wrong with his life before he learns the truth about his parentage. His journey becomes an attempt to reconcile the old with the new and to forge a new path of his own making.

I think it is very possible I read way too much into this movie.

Anyway, quarter-life crisis comparisons aside, Brigsby Bear is a pretty good film. It is well written and the production is great. The filmmakers are able to seamlessly merge the world of Brigsby Bear with the modern world. Brigsby feels right at home in a modern culture obsessed with the late 70s/early 80s aesthetic. As for the acting, Kyle Mooney hits a home run and his performance is only enhanced by the supporting cast. Mark Hamill as James’ father/kidnapper is just great. I’d definitely watch this one again. Maybe my second viewing would yield less over-analyzation.

Is Brigsby Bear Worth Spending The Price of a Ticket?

Yes. I do think it has a pretty specific audience, but it is definitely worth the ticket.



Tipsy Recommendation:

I don’t know, like Lone Star or something.


Brigsby Bear Trailer

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