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Starring Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swinton, Lou Pucci, Vince Vaughn, Vincent DíOnoforio
When Justin attempts to break the habit of sucking his thumb the rest of his life falls into disarray. It isnít long before heís experimenting with drugs and sex in attempt to feel normal in a world designed to convince him heís abnormal.
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Everyone has something they cling on to for comfort; while this is mainly something metaphorical as we enter adulthood, as items change for memories, these things are something to get you through the days. Thumbsucker looks at the life of Justin, played by Lou Pucci, who kept his comforting thumb sucking childhood vice alive throughout his teenage years, and looks at what happens when he tries to do what everyone else does and leave it behind him.
Justin is having trouble letting go of his thumb and, both physically and mentally, itís having affecting him. He struggles to quit as he knows it is something normal people donít do at that age, but going cold turkey proves difficult and it starts to affect his life in school and at home. He turns to his orthodontist, Keanu Reeves channelling a sort of new-age Neo, who through hypnosis manages to break the thumbs hold over Justinís life.
At the same time in an attempt to boost Justinís grades he is placed on Ritalin. The combination of these changes enhances his schoolwork but wreaks havoc on his home life as he becomes increasingly distant from his parents, and starts to experiment with a girl at school who introduces him to pot and sex. As his life spirals ever further out of control, Justin contemplates whether normality is all itís cracked up to be and whether he should choose fantasy over reality to accomplish his desire to be a newsreader.
The roots of this film are the difficulties of adapting to normality. Itís inferred that in society in order to move forward in life you slowly have to abandon the things you adopted as important when you were young. Away from the items we get rid of, what this also means is dreams are often sidelined. Whether itís dreams of something like becoming a rock star or more realistic dreams like having children that enjoy spending time with you, itís understood that compromises have to be made to acquire happiness; exactly how far these sacrifices go is up to the individual.
For Justin losing his thumb was just the jumping off point for an existential crisis when he realises that the future is coming for him. Looking at his parents he doesnít see a family unit, he sees two fractured individuals who have trouble getting on with each other. In his orthodontist he unfortunately sees a man who is forced to realise that his life must be changed, as he thinks his belief in power animals and hypnosis is juvenile and misguided. In short, adulthood doesnít look too appealing.