Just saw the press screening for the Sundance hit, Cyrus. I’m kinda blown away. The character of Cyrus is played by the force of nature named Jonah Hill of Superbad fame. Jonah is maturing into one of the solid actors of our generation.

Jonah’s comedic timing has the intelligence, depth, and brilliance of a young Belushi… capable of mastering roles with dark underbellies.

What can I say about John Reilly except he’s so so damn lovable in this film… raw, embarrassing, courageous, and honest… the type of “awkward” you fall in love with. John plays his character with such a perfect balance of depression, humor, and neurosis, that you’re reminded why he has such a solid foothold in this industry. He’s always a treat to take a ride with. Unique in so many ways, Cyrus exceeds the obvious cookie-cutter attempts of making an indie hit, and instead brings with it some individual soul.

cyrus1

cyrus2

Prepare to see some professional improvising as well. The video below is an example of the comfort zone between John and Jonah during a casual interview.

Watching these two bounce of eachother is like watching comedy ballet. It’s an exercise in watching the “new guard” bouncing off the “old guard”, fueling and feeding each other’s performances. Add Marisa Tomei into the mix and now you have a grand symphony of human expressions between 3 characters longing for love — possessive stares, mistrustful movements, and apprehensive behavior.

cyrus3

Marisa is enchanting as she falls for John’s character… she is the pillar in this film. It’s hard for me to say this is her best performance because Marisa basically ACES every role handed to her. She plays Molly as sensual, warm, weak, conflicted, loving, captivating, and nurturing — a bag of mixed emotions that gives her the complexity of a lonely spirit ready to face her demons. Marisa is the textbook example of why American actresses should not Botox their faces and instead grace us with their beauty, strength, and vulnerabilities, exhibiting every painful detail and emotional range of a real woman. We thank Marisa for being herself, and embracing the craft in her own way. I believe she will have her day in the sun, similar to how Jeff Bridges has only recently been recognized for such a large body of work compiled over a long career. Add this performance under her belt as another gem in her film history.

The script itself is smart, weaving various characters into the mix, including ex-lovers and current partners. The character development is realistic, and not too overstated… just simple hints of their past which colors all their baggage and informs us of their present day reactions to falling inlove — passion, fear, attachment, and all the anxiety that comes with it.

Above all, let’s not forget the directors, the brothers Duplass who pulled the performances out of all these actors and stirred the pot of emotions in each. It’s a big leap from their first Sundance hit Puffy Chair. Pay attention to the Duplass brothers.

As you can tell, I’m betting on this little film. In select theaters July 9, 2010.