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Review - Imaginary Heroes (DVD-2005)
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Imaginary Heroes (DVD-2005)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski

“People are never who they seem to be.” That’s the tag line and the theme of Imaginary Heroes, a quirky independent-type feature film from writer/director Dan Harris now available on DVD. The story concerns a dysfunctional family which has recently experienced a tragic loss. Surprises and twists and turns abound as the story unfolds and the family unravels.

The superb ensemble cast includes Sigourney Weaver as the mother, Jeff Daniels as her husband and Emile Hirsch as their son.

Imaginary Heroes received a mixed critical reaction when it played theatrically. Indeed, one of its problems is that its young director is imaginative, but still somewhat green in directing experience. Some of the rhythms seem off even when the humor and pathos of a scene is worthy of attention. Still, certain scenes really deliver and are smack on target. Of special note is the expert and nuanced acting. This film records yet another splendid performance by Emile Hirsch, one of the more interesting and gifted young actors working today. The chemistry between Hirsch and Sigourney Weaver is outstanding. And, it goes without saying that a film with Sigourney Weaver as the star is worth the price of admission just to watch her performance.

Included on the DVD is a featurette on the making of the film, deleted scenes and an audio commentary by director Harris and Emile Hirsch or an alternate audio commentary by Sigourney Weaver. The less said about the first commentary, the better. It leaves a lot to be desired. The Sigourney Weaver commentary is an improvement, but neither choice provides much food for thought. It is time for Hollywood to rethink director commentaries on DVDs. It would have been better to just have an in-depth interview of the filmmakers talking about the film.

For any of its shortcomings though, Imaginary Heroes is an ambitious undertaking. That quality itself is rare in modern-day films. Whatever your final judgement, the film both entertains and lingers in the memory. You’ll find yourself thinking about the film and its themes long after viewing it. That alone is a welcome experience and it makes this film worth checking out on DVD.

2005 Dennis Kwiatkowski/ Celluloid Dreams

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