2017 has already given us so many great films and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, we have Brigsby Bear  - an offbeat, unconventional comedy, fittingly, about the power and magic of storytelling.

I went into Brigsby Bear blinder than I've gone into any film in recent memory - I didn't watch the trailers; I hadn't read a synopsis; I avoided reviews. Frankly, I didn't really know what to expect. And what I found this film to be was one of the most surprising and delightful films of the year. The best way to go into this film is knowing as little possible, and divulging into plot details would mean talking about spoilers. So, the short, spoiler-free version is that Brigsby Bear follows James (SNL's Kyle Mooney), a guy who has an obsession with a TV show called 'Brigsby Bear'. Deciding to go out and share his love for this series with the world, he sets out to make his own feature-length Brigsby Bear film with his friends and family.

On the surface, Dave McCary (also of SNL fame)'s directorial debut is a story about friendship, family and finding yourself and standing out in this big bad world. But it's so much more. This is a love-letter to cinema and fandom and nerds and it's a story about creativity, personality, movie-making, nostalgia, and why being the fish out of water is not always a bad thing. It's such a euphoric and genuine little film that, at a time when the world seems so ugly, acts as the perfect escape from it all. Similarly to La La Land at the start of this year, a film that made us fall in love with classic, old-school cinema again, Brigsby Bear channels everything that makes films so great. For various reasons revealed early on in the film, James is a bit socially inept and this often makes for some very funny and entertaining viewing. However, there's also quite a tragic edge to this which makes for some rather poignant viewing too. 
Brigsby Bear is as absurd and hilarious as we'd expect a film from SNL minds such as Mooney and McCary's to be - the former who co-wrote, as well as starred. It's hilarious and very off-beat and unconventional; it really is such a fresh film, unlike anything you'll have seen this year. But it's grounded with such rich humanity and nuance; James is effortlessly relatable, not only in his nerdiness but just in his very reserved nature. He just wants to fit in. And his journey is one that is utterly captivating to watch, from start to finish; Mooney gives a remarkable performance, one that is so subdued yet so funny and also quietly heartbreaking. The supporting cast are all great too - with some superb work from Greg Kinnear as Detective Vogel and even Mark Hamill too, in a small but brilliant role as Brigsby's creator. However, whilst some other characters work, there are a few that feel like they're there merely for the sake of being there and don't actually bring anything to the story. Similarly, there are also a couple of 'moments' within the film that kind of just happen and then disappear; they feel misplaced and don't actually have much purpose. 

Again, it's hard to really talk about this film without getting into spoiler territory but all you really need to know is that Brigsby Bear is astounding. This is a film that celebrates cinema and creativity; it's funny and often dark too, but, by the end, it's a rather poignant and uplifting affair that is so inspiring and beautiful. Rarely do we get to see such unconventional and rich cinema fueled with such unwavering passion and authenticity. Brigsby is every bit as witty as it charming; it's an earnest and sincere film that is full of surprises - the biggest of all being just how beautiful and delightful it actually is. McCary blends humour with drama so seamlessly and effectively here to create a film that is hysterical one moment, and rather powerful and hard-hitting the next. The film has some darker undertones to its storytelling but it never hits a cynical note; perhaps we can learn a thing or two from James and Brigsby Bear.

Brigsby Bear is just so wildly unconventional and absurd that it works; it's a film full of imagination and surprises - the biggest of all being just how surprisingly beautiful the whole thing is.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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