SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU is a heart warming, funny and passionate portrait of a confused New York teenager, James Sveck, played by up-and-coming star Toby Regbo, and his loving, eccentric and dysfunctional family.
James's staunch non-conformism leads him to teenage mistakes that are hard to undo. He refuses to go to college, after being accepted at Brown, and is interested in nothing - barring visits to his enigmatic, free-spirited grandmother Nanette, played by Oscar®-winner Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Requiem for a Dream), the only one who seems to understand just how lost a restless 17-year-old can feel while trying to find himself in a confusing world.
Adding to his teenage angst, James' family is a mess. His mother Marjorie, played with soulful grace and humour by Oscar®-winner Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock, Mystic River), owns a gallery where she exhibits extreme avant-garde art that just won’t sell, including a farcical collection of smoking trash cans. She has just dumped her third husband, a compulsive gambler named Barry, played by Stephen Lang (Avatar, Terra Nova), during their honeymoon in Vegas. James’ vain father Paul, played in a hilarious performance by Peter Gallagher, (American Beauty, Sex Lies and Videotape, Covert Affairs), dates women half his age and dabbles in plastic surgery during a flamboyant mid-life crisis. And, by contrast, James’ sister Gillian (Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood) dates her aging semiotics professor, and is hopelessly unable to fall in love with any man who is not at least twice her age.
As his future becomes evermore murky, our irreverent antihero is forced (by parental guilt-trip and ultimatum) into therapy with a life coach, played by Lucy Liu (Elementary, Charlie's Angels), whose methods are refreshingly unconventional. After his initial trepidation gives way to curiosity, James embarks on a life-changing journey and his budding empathy, innate wisdom and prodigious intelligence begin to ripen with each passing day.