This week Return to Wonderland is released into the world. I have a short story in this wonderful book along with eleven other wonderful contemporary children’s writers, and here is the first line of my tale:
We saw It’s kind of a funny story at the london film fest today.
A boy from Brooklyn (Keir Gilchist) is depressed and contemplating suicide. He checks himself into an adult psych ward. Where he meets the usual range of mental hospital movie odd balls.
Amongst them is a big rambunctious guy (Zach Galifianakis) who befriends and mentors him and a beautiful girl (Emma Roberts) with whom he starts a fledgling relationship.
He learns to be creative again (he’s a sickeningly good artist) and that he must stand up to his parents to be himself. Though this theme doesn’t play out fully.
The film is tonally a romantic comedy with lots of daydream sequences that pull you out of the story. Everyone in the hospital is peaches and cream nice. The patients are depicted as kooky characters who just need a bit of cheer in their lives. There are no big conflicts and everything bubbles along in a light funny way.
The boy’s mental health problems are skimmed. He’s depicted as a neurotic hypochondriac, like Woody Allen but with heart not smarts. Unlike many other story’s in this genre – The Bell Jar, Girl Interrupted, Veronica Decides to Die, One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest. There’s no deep personal or societal revelations to be had, but the cast give likeable and humane performances and lots of humour makes this a funny enjoyable movie.