Not really. I can’t imagine a more inoffensive film than Thumbsucker actually. Its targets (er, drug abuse, hippy psychology, how being a teenager is a bit rubbish) are about as gentle and barndoor shaped as can be selected. Its style, and cast, are the usual grab-bag of indie film-making. Indeed the whole film is so gosh darned nice that you never really feel the lead character is really going to end up in peril or by psychologically damaged by any of the events which occur to him.

This, perhaps, is the point. If the film has anything as a central theme it is the awkwardness of being seventeen. And perhaps at seventeen (as Janis Ian might put it) we learn the truth: that life can be a bit shit. The truth we often realise though is that it gets a lot shitter than the hellish feelings of being seventeen itself. So from being a thumbsucking insecure boy he goes via various drug treatments and hypnotism to a slightly more confidence kid off to University. Perhaps the lack of drama outlines the real lack of drama in the average seventeen real old life. The film just about remains watchable without anything major happening in it. But the lack of suspense almost kills it. After, an unhappy ending was never on the cards. You don’t get the Polyphonic Spree in to do a soundtrack if you want a downbeat ending.