Jimmy P. aka Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Writer: Arnaud Desplechin, Kent Jones, Julie Peyr
Based on: Georges Devereux‘ book Reality and Dream: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric, Gina McKee, Michelle Thrush, Larry Pine, Misty Upham
Part of: Viennale
Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro) returned from the war a changed man. His panic attacks have his sister Gayle (Michelle Thrush) worried, so she takes it upon her to find a good doctor for him. They’re referred to a hospital where the doctors think it best to involve an anthropologist, Georges Devereux (Mathieu Amalric), who might be able to tell if Jimmy is actually schizophrenic or just an “Indian”.
Jimmy P. had an excellent cast and the story is really interesting, but everything else was rather “eh”.
The entire thing is completely absurd. Not only that an anthropologist was hired, with a sketchy experience in psychoanalysis, to heal a patient nobody was sure was actually crazy/ill (apart from himself and his sister) or just belonging to another culture is bad enough but that they were actually successful with that method somehow really takes the cake.
Also, the little I know about psychoanalysis had me cringing about pretty much everything that happened between Jimmy and Georges.It would be interesting to see if that was just my expression or if somebody who actually knows their stuff would feel the same way. What I really enjoyed though, was the way the movie tried to show Jimmy’s dreamscapes. Those were some wonderful images.
But honestly the rest of the film was just… it was all a bit boring. And it dragged on. And Georges really got on my nerves (which had nothing to do with Mathieu Amalric wonderful, energetic performance.
Plus, and of course I knew that going in but it still bears repeating, it is extremely weird that they cast Benicio del Toro. He is a fantastic actor, no doubt about it, but he’s also really not Native American. It’s the kind of hand-wavey “brown people are all the same” casting that makes me headdesk.
In the end I just couldn’t enjoy the movie as much as would have been possible.
Summarizing: there are worse films. But there are better films, too.