Gabriel (2014) Movie Review

I’ll also be using this blog as a movie review blog, so it will range from small, indie films to blockbuster films. I suppose I’ll start with the last film I saw which was Gabriel starring Rory Culkin (yes, he is Macaulay Culkin’s brother from Home Alone). Gabriel is about a teen named Gabriel who was just released from a mental hospital and is given a second chance to live life “normally”, however he is looking for something else. Convinced that reuniting with his ex-girlfriend will solve all his troubles, he desperately tries to find her but is haunted by memories of his father who committed suicide years ago (which had triggered his breaking point that landed him in the hospital in the first place). I think this movie stands out from your usual “psychological” movies because although the character is impulsive and has mood swings and is quite a difficult character to dive into, I think that’s the fun of the movie; as you observe this character you try to figure out his motives instead of just labelling him as “insane”and you see another side to him. In the beginning of the movie, you see Gabriel on a bus heading home and he plays with a unsupervised kid by pretending he is smoking using a Twizzler. The kid’s mother who left her child for a brief moment comes back and takes her child away. Gabriel immediately defends himself saying that they were just playing and when the mother asks him, “What do you mean playing?” He replies they were just fucking around; the mother tells him to watch his language and then leaves Gabriel. In the scene, already you feel this longing for innocence and a curiosity with children that reminded me of Holden from The Catcher in the Rye. Similar to Holden, there are multiple  times he tries to run away from his problems and he goes on these day-to-day adventures with only one goal in mind— to find his ex-girlfriend. This makes his family have to search for him and worry more about him because it’s unfortunately evident to all of them that instead of getting better, he is getting worse. I think what struck me was the support this character had, normally in movies like this you have people who are abusing the kid and then the audience can see that that is the main reason why the kid is getting progressively worse psychologically. However from the beginning of the movie, you are introduced to his older brother who is trying to start a family of his own while obviously caring and worrying about his brother, you are then introduced to the mother who is constantly fraught with worry for Gabriel and more characters are introduced later on and so, through this you are able to focus more on his mindset and I think that’s what is so interesting about this movie. The music also played a huge role in making his thoughts more edgy because Gabriel would be looking at something like a fan rotating and that would blend in with music and tension would build and that immediately captured my attention. Also what I enjoyed about this movie was that it didn’t revolve around mental illness and it’s stereotypes but found it’s own meaning and it changed my perspective about mental health because it was such a realistic performance by all the actors, so as a viewer I couldn’t help but put myself in their position and they did a very good job showing that to the audience. So all in all, I would give this movie an 8.5/10 and I will post the trailer down below if you would like to check it out. I would warn some viewers that there is a scene with self-harm so if that triggers anything, please do not watch this film.

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