Kieran Culkin Shines: A Real Pain – A Review

By Ehtesham - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
Kieran Culkin Shines: A Real Pain - A Review

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Kieran Culkin’s impressive repertoire, it’s that he’s a force of nature on screen. Widely acclaimed for his role as Roman Roy in “Succession,” Culkin brings a captivating blend of mirth and melancholy that keeps us hooked. In Jesse Eisenberg’s latest venture, “A Real Pain,” Culkin steps into the limelight, proving he’s more than just his past television character.

Culkin’s Compelling Performance

In this bittersweet dramedy, Culkin embodies the charismatic yet troubled Benji Kaplan alongside Eisenberg’s neurotic cousin David. The film takes us on a journey through Poland, exploring the dynamics of their relationship as they navigate the complexities of grief and brotherhood. Culkin’s performance is nothing short of brilliant, showcasing his ability to seamlessly shift between humor and poignant reflections.

Perfect Match for Culkin’s Prowess

Eisenberg, not just the co-star but also the writer and director of the film, demonstrates a newfound confidence in his craft. The dark humor woven into historical contexts requires a delicate touch, and Eisenberg expertly balances the film’s tone. Culkin’s character study becomes a rollercoaster of emotions, with each scene leaving an indelible mark.

Humor with Reverence

The film takes a daring turn with a visit to a concentration camp, approaching the subject with the necessary reverence. Eisenberg manages to seamlessly mesh dark history with offbeat humor, creating a film that’s both thought-provoking and amusing. Culkin’s portrayal adds depth, allowing the audience to laugh while acknowledging the underlying sadness.

Culkin’s Mastery

Culkin’s performance as Benji is a testament to his mastery of the craft. His comedic timing is razor-sharp, knocking down expectations, while his portrayal of raw emotions brings a poignant honesty. The character’s struggle to reconcile with his past, masked by humor, leaves a lasting impact. Culkin effortlessly captures the complexity of Benji’s psyche, making every scene mesmerizing.

Culkin’s Transcendent Act

While “A Real Pain” offers a mere snapshot of a moment in time, Culkin’s performance makes it feel like we’ve known Benji forever. The film’s first and final scenes, with subtle differences in Culkin’s portrayal, speak volumes. Culkin’s ability to convey a lifetime of contradictions leaves the audience both heartbroken and in awe.


In the realm of “A Real Pain,” Kieran Culkin stands tall as the driving force. His portrayal of Benji Kaplan is not just a performance; it’s an immersive experience that lingers. As the film unfolds, Culkin’s magnetic presence draws us into Benji’s world, making us laugh, reflect, and ultimately empathize with a character who remains enigmatic till the end.


What is the film “A Real Pain” about?

“A Real Pain” is a bittersweet dramedy exploring the complexities of grief and brotherhood, starring Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg.

Who is the director of “A Real Pain”?

Jesse Eisenberg is not only the co-star but also the writer and director of “A Real Pain.”

How does the film balance humor and historical contexts?

The film seamlessly meshes dark history with offbeat humor, creating a thought-provoking yet amusing narrative.

What role does Kieran Culkin play in the film?

Kieran Culkin portrays Benji Kaplan, a charismatic yet troubled character navigating grief and brotherhood.

Is “A Real Pain” currently at Sundance?

Yes, “A Real Pain” is a sales title at Sundance.

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