Brigsby Bear is a lovely film, but it didn’t immediately hit me how beautiful it is until a while after it ended. When this tale of a man coming to terms with his past wrapped up, I knew I had seen one of the best and most life affirming movies of the year. I already loved it, but on my way home from the screening – about ten minutes after leaving the theatre – I burst into nearly uncontrollable tears thinking back on how lovely it was. It has stuck with me, and I hope it sticks with you. The debut feature of comedy writer Dave McCary and the first leading man role for SNL star Kyle Mooney is an almost indescribable and unassuming cause for celebration. Or to say it as McCary and Mooney’s main character frequently does, “It’s dope as shit.”
Director Dave McCary has known rising star, writer, and current Saturday Night Live talent Kyle Mooney since the fourth grade, so it was perhaps natural and inevitable that the filmmaker would end up helming the performer’s first leading role in a big screen production, the offbeat dramedy Brigsby Bear (opening in Toronto and Vancouver this Friday). Rooted firmly in feelings of innocence, nostalgia, awkwardness, friendship, and understanding, Brigsby Bear is exactly the kind of film that could only be made by collaborators who feel a close kinship, and you’ll rarely find a director who will speak as lovingly and thoughtfully as McCary talks about Mooney.