Overlooked Film of the Week- #85
Jeff, Who Lives At Home
Sometimes, we need something to hang onto. We need something in our life that is going to give us meaning. Whether its religion, or a celebrity or (God forbid) a cult. Or, sometimes people look for their destiny, there reason for being birthed into this world in the first place. No matter what, people need answers, and we rarely ever get any. I have never been a horrifically religious person, but I often tie myself in knots, thinking about why we are all here.
In "Jeff, Who Lives At Home," Jason Siegel gives the best performance of his career as Jeff. Jeff is an unemployed stoner who spends his days hanging out in his mother's house. Jeff spends his days worshipping the movie "Signs," that's right, the last good M. Night Shymalan movie. He believes that his destiny in life is waiting for him, and he is waiting patiently for his own life sign. One day, the phone rings and its a wrong number for a person named Kevin. Jeff sees this as a sign, and he is determined to figure out the meaning behind the name, even though there may not be any.
Jeff's mother is named Sharon, and she is played by Susan Sarandon. Sharon is a nameless cubicle worker who is dissatisfied with her life and how well her sons have faired in life. She suddenly finds out that someone in the office is flirting with her. Desperate to feel emotions with another person, she joins in on the conversation. When it is revealed who has been sending Sharon the messages, it may seem odd at first, but Sarandon turns her subplot into one of the highlights of the movie. Sarandon has always been good in movies, and she proves once again just how effortless she can be.
These two stories may seem weird for a movie, and how they intersect is just as weird. But the performances in the movie elevate the ideas into new heights. Also, what I did not expect was to see such a gut-wrenching, sucker-punch of an ending. In a way, the ending is not melodramatic or forced, it all seems very natural, even thought it is sprung from a strange story. I was deeply surprised just how much "Jeff, Who Lives At Home" moved me.
Like I said, this is the best Jason Siegel performance so far in his career. Siegel has always been wildly funny and stunningly entertaining in the past, but he hits a potent crossroad in his career with this movie. While there are some funny parts, this movie is mostly a dramatic film, and I thought Siegel did an impeccably good job with the material. Along with Sarandon, they sell this material to a tee. I also liked the work done by Ed Helms, who plays Pat, Jeff's older brother. Again, Helms is a typically comedic actor, but he hits all the right dramatic notes perfectly.
You maybe surprised just by how charming and how absorbing this one is, I promise.