Sibling rivalry has always been covered by Hollywood, and director and writer Sophie Goodhart is no exception with MY BLIND BROTHER. To call it quirky would do it a disservice because it is not The New Girl and to call it sweet would be condescending. Goodhart takes the typical sibling rivalry story and slaps its sweet face with just the right amount cynicism to offset the endearing sincerity.
Based on Goodhart’s 2003 short film, My Blind Brother stars Nick Kroll and Adam Scott as siblings Bill and Robbie. Robbie is blind due to a childhood accident that Bill initiated. Despite his disability, Robbie is an athletic overachieving douche, while Bill sits in his shadow, who still feels guilty about the accident but resentful of Robbie’s narcissism and how their parents treat him like the Golden Boy.
After Bill helps Robbie run a marathon, the family basks in the achievement while Bill escapes the celebration. He meets Rose (Jenny Slate) while drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Fast forward to the next morning, the two wake up after a drunken love. Bill wants to continue the relationship, while Rose writes it off as a one night stand. She claims she is in a place where she just wants to “help people” and not be in a relationship. Fast forward a couple of days later and Robbie has found a new person to help him with his running and that person is — you guessed it — Rose. Thus, a love triangle is formed.
Goodhart’s refreshing take on the humdrum sibling rivalry story works well, but it’s the performances and dynamic between Kroll, Scott, and Slate that give it a soul. The three are best known from the alt comedy camp cut from the cloth of Comedy Bang Bang. Kroll’s Kroll Show showcased his superior comedy chops and Scott brought uptight nerdiness to another level in Parks and Recreation — and Slate appeared on both shows and was once a member of the Saturday Night Live cast.
Even so, the three of them are proving that they have more in their bag of tricks than comedy. Slate impressed in Obvious Child and Kroll was in Adult Beginners. Scott has especially expanded his horizons in many roles, but he is surprisingly good at playing a douchebag (see: Sleeping With Other People). This is why My Blind Brother is a perfect fit for the trio because they have become experts in what could be a new genre which I have dubbed “post Gen-X alt dramedies”.
But of the three, Kroll gets the MVP. This was a shining moment for the actor who is known for playing a guy named “Bobby Bottles Service”. As the brother who is always pushed to the side and a guy who can’t find love, he is the emotional core of the movie and he holds it together without seeming like a victim.
My Blind Brother isn’t the most phenomenal film about sibling rivalry, but it certainly adds its own twist that makes it distinct and unlike any film about brotherly love.
Score: 3 out of 5
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer