Thanks For Sharing

  • 2012
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

Coming off an Oscar nomination for co-writing The Kids Are All Right, Stuart Blumberg makes his directorial debut with Thanks for Sharing, a blend of comedy and drama that serves up some clear-eyed observations on the nature of addiction and reteams him with Kids co-star Mark Ruffalo.

The movie focuses on the lives of three men...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Reviewed by Perry Seibert
Rating:

Coming off an Oscar nomination for co-writing <I>The Kids Are All Right</I>, Stuart Blumberg makes his directorial debut with <I>Thanks for Sharing</I>, a blend of comedy and drama that serves up some clear-eyed observations on the nature of addiction and reteams him with <I>Kids</I> co-star Mark Ruffalo.<P><P>

The movie focuses on the lives of three men in a 12-step recovery group, but the twist is that their addiction is sex. Adam (Ruffalo) has finally gotten his life back on track after being in the program for a few years, although his strict personal policy of abstinence is under serious threat when he becomes attracted to the seemingly perfect Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow). His longtime sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) is the wise master of the group, full of bromides that explain the philosophy he follows, but his inability to connect with his son and wife force him to confront himself in ways he has so far avoided. Portly doctor Neil (Josh Gad) is new to the group and quickly asks Adam to be his sponsor, which turns out to be a difficult task as Neil attempts to negotiate his feelings toward a female member of the group named Dede (Alecia Moore, better known to the world as the pop star P!nk).<P><P>

One of the reasons why <I>The Kids Are All Right</I> was a popular and critical hit was that it captured flawed, three-dimensional people in an admittedly unusual series of emotional entanglements. The same holds true here as Blumberg -- working with co-screenwriter Matt Winston -- makes the three lead characters occasionally difficult to like. The movie doesn’t let you feel sorry for them for having this addiction, and it judiciously finds the humor in this exceedingly sensitive material.<P><P>

Gad, who here modulates his full-throttled comedic attack to welcome effect, scores laughs in the early scenes with the extremes to which his character will go in order to fulfill his desires. But he also has a beautiful moment early on where, disgusted with his own lack of self-control, he throws a donut into the garbage, then minutes later picks it out and eats it. Sure, that’s a gross-out laugh, but it’s also a powerful reveal about his character. Meanwhile, Robbins gives Mike an almost exhausting energy: He’s so intent on doing good and helping others because he doesn’t want to look at himself anymore -- a situation that leads to a major confrontation with his family.<P><P>

While both men turn in first-rate performances, this movie belongs to Mark Ruffalo. An actor incapable of having a moment that seems contrived, he gives Adam a dignity and tentativeness that’s instantly endearing -- the character tries to do the right thing, and in his struggle to be honest and sexual with Phoebe, we get a full understanding of how afraid he is of his addiction. That makes it all the more powerful when, later in the film, he’s tempted to relapse.<P><P>

Blumberg proves himself to be an adept writer, and while he’s not trying to break new ground as a filmmaker, he does have a knack for handling his performers -- this is the kind of movie that’s so driven by the actors that a lack of flashy visuals is just fine. He may not bring any new insights to the long history of films about addiction, but he has created three memorable characters whose individual struggles with their demons help illuminate the human tragedy at the heart of a topic that is often easy fodder for sniggering jokes.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2012
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Coming off an Oscar nomination for co-writing The Kids Are All Right, Stuart Blumberg makes his directorial debut with Thanks for Sharing, a blend of comedy and drama that serves up some clear-eyed observations on the nature of addiction and… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »