Written and Directed By: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener
It’s a typical story, boy meets girl, boy stalks girl, boy gets busted by girl’s grown child, jealous child tries to sabotage budding romance, boy fights back tooth and nail. John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill in order of derangement play the boy, girl and child or more specifically John, Molly and Cyrus in this odd little story of love and adjustment.
John is a wreck, his ex-wife, played by Catherine Keener, who appears to still be his best and only friend is getting married, and in an effort to bring John out of his seven year funk convinces him to come out to party. At the party with a little liquid encouragement John makes an effort but keeps getting shot down. After being rejected by the homeliest woman at the party John gives up and gets drunk. While urinating in the bushes in the back yard John receives an unlikely complement from Molly. Molly over heard his increasingly awkward rejections earlier in the evening and is touched by his sincerity and honesty.
The evening goes very well for John and Molly, as does the next. After Molly leaves John’s home the second night John follows her home and ends up sleeping in his car outside her house. After waking up in his car the next morning John walks up to the house and for the lack of a better term starts to poke around. He gets startled by a large young man. It’s Cyrus, Molly’s adult son. John gives an awkward explanation for his presence and Cyrus invites him inside to wait for Molly. Unsuprisingly Molly is quite surprised to find John in her home waiting for her when she gets home, but she is genuinely glad to see him and John becomes a regular feature of Molly and Cyrus’s life.
All is not well though. Cyrus and Molly have a relationship that is sometimes abnormally close, more disturbingly John can’t tell whether Cyrus is an extremely socially inept young man or if he’s messing with him and trying to keep him and Molly from getting close. If Cyrus is trying to keep them apart he’s not succeeding. John and Molly’s relationship is going great. Out of the blue Cyrus decides to move out and while packing Cyrus’s things John finds evidence that Cyrus, while he is a socially inept young man, he is actually trying to break up John and Molly. Now that John knows where he stands he’s not going to let Molly go without a fight.
That explanation describes what’s going on in the movie, but it doesn’t tell you what kind of movie this is. It isn’t a slapstick farce, it’s not a screwball comedy, it’s not a witty battle of dialog. It feels real. It has an almost documentary feel. The camera is hand held floating through the scenes like you were in the room with the actors. The camera is a player in the movie the subtle focus shifts and zooms direct emotions like a good score. Adding to the naturalism is the way the Duplass brothers shot the movie in chronological order and incorporate improvisation into the story. This shows that the Duplass brothers placed a lot of faith in their actors. Well placed faith. Without the chemistry between John, Jonah and Marisa the whole thing would have fell on its face.
The video is presented in widescreen format and looks fantastic, I never noticed any aliasing, moiré or blooming or any other digital artifacts. The colors are warm and the blacks are deep with perhaps a bit of detail loss in the shadows.
The audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD there is a Descriptive Audio Track in English in 5.1 Dolby Digital along with Spanish, French and Portuguese tracks in 5.1 Dolby Digital. There are subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin. It sounds good, the mix is spot on with the dialog, foley and wonderful music by Michael Andrews all blending together well. I never noticed any distortion or digital artifacts or any other problems that would interfere with the presentation.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The Blue-Ray disc is packaged in a clear, blue tinted Blue-Ray box. The artwork is simple but does a great job of summing up the movie with one image. There is a fair amount of extra material but no commentaries. There are a couple of deleted scenes and a video of the Duplass brothers interviewing each other about making the movie. It has the feel of something hastily slapped together for the Blue-Ray but it’s actually entertaining. There is a short video of them taking the movie to SXSW and interviews with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill as well as a Music Mashup with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill which definitely feels like something just thrown together for the bonus features.
Cyrus was one of, if not the last, movie I saw at this year’s Nashville Film Festival and even after a week of movie watching I still loved it. Seeing it again I still love it. It’s a heartfelt quirky little gem. I have to say I am genuinely disappointed that there are no commentaries. I would have loved to hear the Duplass brothers or the cast talk their way through the movie.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Movie 9/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10