Entertainment » Movies

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Mar 13, 2013
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

James (Toby Regbo) is in a huff -- when he's not in a tizzy or a panic attack, that is. Who can blame him? His "kooky" family are the kind of laff riot that makes you want to slit your wrist, and that's when they're just characters in a movie.

"Some Day This Pain Will Be Useful To You" is based on a novel by Peter Cameron, but something (like, everything) has been lost in translation. The DVD release treats the film like the half-baked mess it is, not even bothering to tempt buyers with interesting bonus features; all we get here is a music video, a photo gallery, and a theatrical trailer.

The film is left to sell itself, and it's simply not worth your hard earned cash. This project feels like warmed-over "Running With Scissors" ... of the blunt, plastic sort. With tighter writing and editing, this could have been a much better movie, but an air of disinterest clings to the film when it ought more properly to have emanated from James, a smart (and possibly gay) teen at odds with a world of dizzying inconsistencies and banalities. No wonder the poor kid has to see a "life coach," which is to say a shrink (played by Lucy Liu with a breath of style).

Ellen Burstyn brings warmth to the role of Nanette, James' grandmother, who provides the story with its cumbersome, precious title. Marcia Gay Harden, Peter Gallagher, and Deborah Ann Woll, playing James' parents and sister, struggle to bring dimension to their paper-thin characters, while newcomer Regbo manages to carry the film. It's not enough: The whole shebang sinks into a bog of post-ironic apathy.

"Some Day This Pain Will Be Useful to You"

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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