Igby Goes Down can best be described as a modern day re-imagining of Catcher in the Rye. Kieran Culkin plays Jason “Igby” Slocum Jr, a rich kid with many of the same ideas of humanity as JD Salinger’s most famous character Holden Caulfield. Igby has had a troubled childhood. Raised by Jason Sr. (Bill Pullman), a schizophrenic who is eventually institutionalized and Mimi, a critical and unfeeling cold fish, Igby has become disillusioned and despondent. Kicked out of every private school on the east coast, he has also failed at re-hab, and he’s only sixteen years old. There’s nothing particularly new about Igby Goes Down. JD Salinger literally wrote the book on this kind of character in 1951, and we’ve seen many rehashes of it since then. The thing that sets Igby apart from the other Caulfield wannabes is sharp writing (“I call her Mimi because Heinous One is a bit cumbersome.”) and heart. Beneath the veneer of emotional turmoil is a strong sense of humanity that allows the viewer to develop a connection to the characters. Directed by author Gore Vidal’s nephew Burr Steers (an actor, best known for his roles in Pulp Fiction and The Last Days of Disco) this movie follows in the tradition of great recent teen fare like The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys (also starring Culkin) and Ghost World.