Men, Women & Children: LFF Film Review

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This film is a really interesting and relevant take on modern relationships and how they are affected by social media. It is definitely more biased towards it being bad but that’s probably because director/co-writer Jason Reitman is more aware of how things used to be before the Internet became so prolific. It is thought-provoking with a great cast.

The movie follows different families centred around a high school in Texas. Jennifer Garner is a mother obsessed with stalking her daughter Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) online and wiping any content she thinks is dodgy. Brandy befriends Tim (Ansel Elgort), who has dropped out of the football team and is feeling depressed after his mother runs away to California. Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt play a married couple using the Internet to fulfil their sexual desires, while their son is so exposed to porn he can no longer get aroused without it.

There are plenty more interlocking strands and I found it all fascinating because it is so contemporary and captures life RIGHT NOW. I’m between times of before/after Internet so I can see both side of the argument and I like that it explored many different ways that people can be affected rather than making it all about sex and making it all negative.

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Despite so many storylines, I felt that each character was fully fleshed out and nobody was skipped over. You felt for these people whether they made you unhappy or angry. It also makes you sad how technology has ruined human interaction. However, I did not like how each arc ended with a ‘lesson’ and each person sees the errors of their ways – it seemed unrealistic for each character to turn their behaviour around.

I did not like the narration by Emma Thompson. There is a lot of it in the start and thankfully it tails off towards the end but it was almost documentary style and that detracted from the story. I didn’t think it worked.

Besides those minor complaints, I really enjoyed this. All the cast were amazing and I especially want to give a shout out to Adam, because I haven’t seen him give a decent performance in ages. The dialogue was interesting and there was a great mixture of humour and sadness. I loved the onscreen graphics detailing conversations – they frequently made me giggle. It is so relevant and relatable – I urge everyone to see this.

I saw this film as part of the BFI London Film Festival. It will be released on 5th December.

 

SEE ALSO: Ansel Englort, Kaitlyn Dever & Jason Reitman at the Apple Store 

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