Men, Women & Children Review

Director David Reitman’s (Juno, Up In The Air) Men, Women & Children starts off with an unseen narrator speaking with a British accent with a background revolving in space. I’m sure I could ask Reitman why he decided on a cheesy opening to a film and I still wouldn’t get a clear answer, but hey, it caught my attention.

As the movie began, I found myself thinking that this film would be another failed attempt at tackling social problems that exist in our society today. The movie ended and I couldn’t be more impressed with Reitman’s success of a film

Despite the negative feedback from critics, this film exposes the realities of family dysfunction for which I applaud him.

It’s simple. He avoids the unnecessary added romantic kisses and happy endings that seem to be somehow forced into every movie, whether action or drama. This movie has a happy ending in it’s own twisted way.

The movie is real, it’s raw and somewhere through it all, the exaggerated, shallow and self-absorbed lives of the teenagers in this movie manage to summarize parts of what I saw in high school.

However, it’s a bit ironic that Reitman attempts to outline each social problem in our society, yet he manages to display a white washed version of America. Of all 10 characters in this film, not a single was any race other than white, just as in Reitman’s past films.

He tells the stories of teenagers who are crying for help but being ignored: the anorexic who overly obsesses of her body image, the former jock who finds lack of meaning in football, the girl who lacks a relationship with her controlling mother, the 15 year old porn addict and a cheerleader whose dreams of an acting career go too far. Somewhat distorted, but this is a pretty average high school, in my opinion.

Then there are the parents. Whether uptight or laid back parents, Reitman does a great way of explaining in so few words that distance between teenagers and parents aren’t solely the fault of the teenagers.

In an odd way, this film reminds me of Mean Girls.

The scenes in this film are accurate depictions of how we lack true communication in our everyday lives. As sad as it sounds, texting across the room and spending more time chatting online than in person have become the norm. Reitman presents the perspective that social media, pornography and video games have become a way to escape the stresses in our lives. It’s as if we create our own realities as we enter an imaginary world.

Ellen Page, who plays the role of a teenager, uses Tumblr as an escape. “It’s kind of like wearing a costume, after long enough, I forget that it’s not me,” she boldly states.

Page’s important performance in this film reminds me of her attitude in the film Juno. In both, I manage to somehow relate to her character in a small sense.

Despite the audience’s audible groans as Adam Sandler’s name appeared on the screen and despite my previous distaste for him, for once, he managed to finally make me not want to pull my hair out. His acting didn’t consist of lame humor, unoriginality and a shmuck attitude. In this more serious role, Sandler leaves his jokes at the door and tackles a serious role of a father with dissatisfaction in a sexless marriage, which he mildly succeeds at.

This film will definitely not fit the taste of everyone, some may love it and some may despise it. Men, Women & Children is a simple premise, yet complex character roles.

Full article via The South End:


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