Two Thumbs up to Thumbsucker

Mike Mills brings to screen his adaptation of Walter Kirn’s book, Thumbsucker. This movie has been out for awhile but only recently has it made its way to Burlington. The story tells of Justin Cobb (Lou Taylor Pucci), a 17 year-old who seeks comfort and stress relief through thumb sucking. This proves to be an embarrassment to his father, Mike Cobb (Vincent D’Onofrio), who was almost a pro-football player but was forced to retire due to an injury. He merely wants Justin to achieve success as great as his once was. Justin’s mother, Audrey Cobb (Tilda Swinton), recently hired in a drug rehabilitation center, is a bit more understanding with Justin’s habit, but is dealing with issues of her own — growing old and bored with life. Justin’s holistic hippie orthodontist Perry Lyman, played by an aging Keanu Reeves, is also trying to find answers to life’s many questions, and soon heavily influences him. He attempts hypnosis on Justin (incense and all) and is pleasantly surprised by its success. However, Justin soon goes through thumb sucking withdrawal and is diagnosed with ADHD just in time, using Ritalin as a proxy for his thumb. He finds himself head of the debate team, with help from teacher Mr. Geary (Vince Vaughn), and finally brings home the awards and trophies that his dysfunctional family always hoped he would. When this “high” loses its flair, Justin turns to sex and weed to take its place, looking for love in the wrong places. Illustrated by brilliant directing and a colorful soundtrack by the Polyphonic Spree and Elliot Smith, Thumbsucker emulates the life of a confused teen, letting the audience in on, not only the secret of the normalcy of thumb sucking, but also the normalcy of having no direction in life. So, wonderers and wanderers — unite!