WOMEN AND CHILDREN
SYNOPSIS: MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose - some tragic, some hopeful - as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.
REVIEW: The one thing you have to give credit to Jason Reitman for is his ability to capture and film realistic human drama and its many faces. So many personalities, so many characters, so many different angles, priorities, lifestyles, motivations, goals, purposes, and just plain people in the world and Jason seems to give an intriguing insight to various samples of these in each of his films. This is one is no different. Although it is not his best work, the film is still intriguing and thought provoking and extremely appropriate for our time. The intertwining of the tech world (internet, social media, and general electronic communications) with the human world has really had a tremendous impact on the overall world as we knew it. A lot of the change is positive, but there is quite a bit of negative as well. Some try to adapt to the good and the bad and use it to their advantage, such as Judy Greer’s character, Donna Clint, and some try to protect themselves and their children from the negative influences of modern technology, such as Jennifer Garner’s excellent portrayal of one such mother, Patricia Beltmeyer. Problem is both extremes can be detrimental. Jason covers all of that and much more, quite well. Again, this is not one of his better works, it did seem a bit rushed, pieced together and not exactly thoroughly thought through, especially as far as the script goes, but even so, it is still a good movie.
A little insight on this reviewer, I have a personal affinity for all things space related so the opening sequence of this movie totally blew my mind. It basically shows the Voyager Satellite passing by Jupiter and Saturn, among other views, in detail and almost slow motion. Breathtaking! What does this have to do with the rest of the movie? Exactly! The transition from that to a specific home in an American suburb with a typical American couple with children living out their daily monotonous, routine lives is fantastic. In the grand scheme of things, the Earth is but a spec, a dot, barely, in the vast Universe. Here we are on this world living our overly complicated lives, some with emptiness, some are shallow, some are overprotective and untrusting, some have hidden, secret lives, and some are just trying to find their place. One thing that is true in pretty much all these cases, you live and learn.
Emma Thompson does an excellent job narrating this slice of mess that the characters are living through, all with a most soothing, tranquil voice. I would have to say that the younger cast members gave pretty good performances. I mean not exactly to the level of Ellen Page in Juno (a Jason Reitman work), but noteworthy performances nonetheless. Of the older cast members, the more noteworthy performances are given by the already mentioned Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer. Jennifer is really good at being uptight. Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt were also pretty good with their creepy characters. The effects of overlaying computer screens, smartphone screens, and texting screens onto the film were pretty cool too. All in all, this film does a good job of enlightening the viewer on how much the tech world affects your RL (real life).
By Cine Marcos
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