Dating is difficult, complicated and in some cases emotionally exhausting. I haven’t had the pleasure of being divorced (or married), but I can only imagine how difficult it is to stick yourself out there after being with someone for an extended period of time. This is the problem John (John C. Reilly) encounters in the beginning of Cyrus. It turned out to be his most minor problem.


Trying to recover from a tough divorce with friend/colleague, Jamie (Catherine Keener), John is forced to go to a party and meet people. It fails until he meets the cheerful and kind Molly (Marisa Tomei). As their relationship blossoms speeds into existence, John meets Molly’s ultra-dependent son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill). The two begin to clash over Molly’s affection and, as the marketing said, hilarity ensues. Spoiler/hint: there is little hilarity.

Cyrus is an interesting film to watch because you are meant to view it one way, but find yourself analyzing it in a different way. By that I mean, you are supposed to look upon John and Molly fondly and see Cyrus as a villain of sorts, but this doesn’t happen. As we see from the outset, John is a depressed guy who can’t get out of his tailspin. He makes a concerted effort at the party, but the conversation failures just lower his already plunging self-esteem. As he begins his time with Molly, we begin to wonder if he genuinely likes her (it’s Marisa Tomei, how could you not?) or if it’s simply a relationship of opportunity. He does some weird, and slightly creepy, things I won’t ruin, but they’re actions that would have scared a more normal woman off, which brings us to Molly.

How can I put this lightly? Molly is not the sharpest tool in the shed. She grasps onto her son as tightly as he does her, and is completely blind to how she is affecting her one and only child. Her motto in life seems to be “everyone love everyone, except I stay sheltered for no reason.” She keeps John at a distance for most of the film out of some self-perceived damage in her personality. It’s odd and not really Tomei’s fault, but it makes her a less enjoyable character.

Then there’s Cyrus. Played with a surprisingly solid duality by Hill, Cyrus toes the line of Oedipal emotions. His ardent distaste for change in his life has led to him befriending his mother and only his mother – homeschooling no doubt encouraged this. He has the manipulative capabilities to trick John into thinking of him as a friend, but has a devious plan in the back of his mind at all times. Towards the end we are given a better view into his character’s psyche and Hill does a great job playing both sides as the vulnerable kid wanting to grow up and the momma’s boy not wanting to lose her.


Cyrus is mildly depressing, somewhat sweet and extremely awkward. Written and directed by the up-and-coming Duplass brothers, we get a solid representation of people breaking from their shells. I may not have liked the characters as much as I should have, but that only adds to the realistic feel of the film. Cyrus is a film that sort of requires a previous interest before viewing to enjoy it, or enjoy Reilly and Hill working together.

    • mithil293
    • June 8th, 2012

    well when i saw it ..i thought it was predictable.. u knew how its goin to end..but then Jonah and john rivalry was good … thats the best part

    • It’s definitely predictable, but I agree, the Jonah and John rivalry makes it ok.

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