Visual artist and music director Mike Mills made his feature film directing debut with this 2005 adaptation of a Walter Kirn novel, and while it’s not a perfect film, it might be better for it. Ultimately a movie about how our quirks and imperfections set us apart, it’s an episodic, strikingly shot mood piece that follows 17-year-old high schooler Justin (Lou Taylor Pucci) as he attempts to address his thumb-sucking habit. Not always helping: His parents (played by Tilda Swinton and Vincent D’Onofrio) and figures of authority like his new age-y dentist (Keanu Reeves, in a terrific, understated comic performance). As with Beginners, Mills mixes quirkiness and raw emotion. And though he got the balance right more often in that second feature, Mills succeeds more than he fails here, powered by a soundtrack that includes tracks by Elliott Smith (who died before completing his work for the film) and The Polyphonic Spree. Thumbusucker airs at 5:35 p.m. EST on Indieplex.
March 17, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day