Tribeca Film Festival: MRR "Gabriel" Review

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A troubled young man searches obsessively for his first love, risking everything in an increasingly desperate pursuit.
4

Gabriel
4 stars

First off, even though this was a great film I am a little sick of seeing people cutting themselves, or threatening to cut themselves, in films at Tribeca this year. Honestly, I think I saw 4 or 5 films this year with people doing this and it is just hard for me to watch. I have always had a phobia with that, and it seems to be one of the themes this year at Tribeca. With that said, the Lou Howe directed film Gabriel is just fantastic and pure.

The film centers around a young guy named Gabriel (Rory Culkin) who is plagued by mental illness and when we first meet Gab, as he likes to be called, he is on a bus on his way home from what we can assume was some sort of mental hospital. Gab isn’t as interested in going home as he is tracking down a girl whom which he believes to be the love of his life, Alice (Emily Meade). He is completely fixated with this girl that he has not seen, or talked to, in 5 years and he is willing to risk everything in order to find her. His brother Matthew (David Call) and his mother Meredith (Deirdre O’Connell) can not figure out what to do with Gabriel and our constantly on pins and needles while around him. The film focuses a lot of it’s attention on the fact that Gab’s dad committed suicide and the aftermath of that action on the family. They struggle as much as Gabriel does throughout the entirety of the film.

Culkin’s performance in this film is as good as I’ve seen at Tribeca this year. After the film screened at Tribeca director Lou Howe sat and answered our questions about the film and said that he never had a specific illness in mind and that he didn’t want Culkin to worry about all the external stuff involved with it. I agree with what Lou said and how he told us that that was not the important part of the film. You get to judge for yourself what is wrong with Gabriel.

O’Connell also gave a very heart felt and touching performance as a mother dealing with a mentally sick child. She looked very tired and worried throughout the whole performance, which is exactly how she should of looked. The whole situation with the family felt very natural and not as dramatic as some movies would present. As Gab keeps trying to find this girl and what he thinks is a fix to all his problems, you are touched by his devotion to love and the thought that love can cure all; even though you know what will happen in the end between them.

Gabriel was as touching, truthful, and honest as any film I have seen this year at Tribeca and I believe it will go home with at least one, if not many, awards this year. Please put this on your radar of films to see.