Jimmy’s parents have just died, and he’s in the throes of the mourning process. While everyone goes about mourning in their own way, Jimmy’s is particularly unique. Camped out in the old family home, Jimmy begins dressing in his Mom’s clothes as he goes about cleaning up the house. From there, he begins dressing as his Dad, and behaving as his Dad would. At first it’s tense, but more quirky than anything else. As the film goes along, however, Jimmy and his alter-personality Mom and Dad start interacting, and we get a better idea of just how dysfunctional the family really was.
When you’ve got a film where the main actor, Julian Deych, plays three distinct personalities, and eventually all on-screen at the same time, you’re really looking at two things to make it work: the performances and the visual effects. If the performances don’t work, it doesn’t matter that the same actor is interacting with himself on-screen because you just don’t care; if the technical side of showcasing the same actor on-screen in multiple spots doesn’t look good, then you’re taken right out of it. In both accounts, Jimmy Boy does a more than passable job.
Sure, the characters of Mom and Dad can come off a bit too cartoonish at times (does anyone’s Dad really sound like Archie Bunker the way so many film Dads do, and isn’t it an easy go-to when Mom is silent most of the time, making disapproving faces?), but Julian Deych still manages to make the three main personalities different enough to keep your interest. It’s weird to see someone stand up to themselves, or curse themselves out but, when you look at it as if the performances going on in front of you on-screen could very well also being a singular performance with different voices playing out in Jimmy’s mind, it all really works well.
On the tech side, most of the time you don’t notice any visual work when Deych is on-screen multiple times. Only one segment, where he appears as all three characters at the same time, has some issues; shadows are a bitch to get right, but the filmmakers still get it right more than wrong. The fact that they even worked on the shadows at all tells you they knew what they were up against.
In the end, though, Jimmy Boy excels because it is more than just the performances and technical accomplishments; this is a tale about mourning, and about a boy becoming a man. As the proverb goes, “A man never grows up until his father dies” and, in Jimmy’s case, that’s one of the main points. He finally gets an opportunity to reconcile feelings and history in a way that will allow him to let go in the most healthy manner he can. Some never get to that point.
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