I have to say that I love everything A24 usually puts out. It comes to no surprise that I was excited to check this one out. A24 has a great collection of shows and movies that tell really great stories. Stories that really are grounded and most of the time are relatable. In their newest release, they have Funny Pages. A coming of age story about a kid who wants to be a comic book artist. The main character Robert, played by Daniel Zolghadri, does a really great job and acts his butt off in this film. The writing brings a very odd and off putting tone that you can’t help to enjoy. My first watch had me confused of what I just watched. It is an odd movie. The more I thought about it, the more I really started to appreciate the movie for its originality. I feel like we all have witnessed a lot of interesting and weird events in our lives. Life can get weird. This movie really showcases those life moments and how they impact a person. Its a dark comedy which works well the majority of the time and it was really cool to see how it ended, even though it was a bit predictable.
A world that throws chaos at us, is a world that is realistic. We often get confronted by a lot of weird moments in our life. Funny Pages takes these moments and really illustrates it to the viewer. The writing can feel a little bit all over, but drives the message with a lot of clarity. There are several themes that are explored and talked about. The great thing about this movie is that it never loses focus on the main character. The absurd scenes don’t overpower the perspective of Robert and what he is going through in his life. We see a character arch that gets developed throughout the short run time. I do think the story could have slowed down at some moments, but ultimately we do get a good glimpse of who this person is. I was able to understand his motives and why he acts the way he does. Initially I didn’t like his character because of some of the life decisions he makes. Then I realized that Funny Pages really grounds these characters to be authentic. I’ve made dumb decisions in my life and have been rude to people around me. It’s a part of life and that’s what’s great about it being shown in this movie. I do think a lot of people will relate to him in some way.
Funny Pages has a very distinct look and feel. The movie seems like its old school and has that vintage look. We get some cool shots and also some interesting camera zooms on people. It provides a personal inside look at the lives we are introduced in the film. They story is simplistic on paper, but there’s so much going on the screen that seems surreal. Event after event we follow his journey to become a comic book artist and we get to see him try, fail and try again. It will give a lot of people hope to really follow what they want to do in life. Following your dreams and being a creative is heavily talked about in the story. The question "what does it mean to be an artist and what does that truly mean" is one of the themes that just worked well. When Robert meets a colorist from Image, a reputable comic book publisher, his life gets tunneled vision to learn from him. The dynamic between the two characters is chaos in the making and you can’t help to not look away. As the viewer we can see that this isn’t the best approach, but a very entertaining one to see.
Coming of age stories are very common and it’s always great to see when a movie comes out that does something different. That’s the big thing with this movie. It is a very original film. There are some uncomfortable scenes that are in this movie. Some scenes that a lot of people might not like. These scenes often happen very quickly and does not over stay their welcome. The feeling is meant to make the viewer feel some type of way and relate to the main character. With all of this being said, the movie may not resonate with everyone. I’m the perfect example. After the credits rolled, I found myself a bit lost on what I just watched. Looking at my notes and paying attention to the themes, that’s when I began to really get what the director was going for. There is some deciphering that you may have to do. I do wish I connected with the movie more, but still left satisfied.
Funny Pages brings something fresh to the coming of age story. I do like that the movie brings the chaos of the world into scope. I think a lot of people will have fun with this movie. I laughed and gasped throughout the story being unfolded. I don’t think people will be prepared for how wild this movie is. That could be a good thing or bad thing. I thought the cast did an amazing job. The acting is strong and made some of the scenes very engaging. Loved the art aspect of everything and theme of “do what you love and do it a lot”. This is something I strongly agree with and could be crucial for people who know what their passion is, but don’t know where to start. It’s unfortunately not as good as other A24 films that released this year, but it’s a strong story that holds value.
Written By: Frederick Nuti