I watched Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children (2014), today morning, on HBO On Demand. It was a beautiful way to start my Sunday.
Men,Women & Children (Big Poster) NSWhatever Reitman does, he does brilliantly. The film explores life as it is today, where we’ve become so accustomed to modern technology – PC’s, Lap Tops, Mobile Phones, Smart Phones, Tablets, ipads et al, that it’s hard to imagine life without these gadgets. We live in such a virtual reality, that people start to lose control of RL (Real Life). Not to forget the modern (SMS) lingo, that’s made it to youngsters oral-verbal vocabulary; DFT, OMG, LOL, HAK, IDK, KK, STFU etc etc …; whilst being hooked onto Chatting/Texting/Sexting. Welcome to the 21st century.

With Emma Thompson’s brilliant narration, and a massive star cast, with intersecting story lines, revolving around one significant plot – the effect of the internet in modern society; this tragic-comic/drama, feels like a, more youthful, 21st century, Woody Allen movie. A piece of satire, which deals with social issues akin to this day and age, which isn’t out and out comedy, but sends you a serious underlining message. We see extreme effects of modern technology, the good, the bad, as well as the intellect, use of it. The film mostly deals with various teenagers today, and adults in connection to them. We see extreme methods of parenting, both of which have a negative impact, on the lives of their children. For example, we see an overprotective mother, who checks up on her daughter to the height of suffocation, that the girl has a secret account, that her mother isn’t aware of; in the other extreme, we see a mother too lenient on her daughter, and has a website, where she posts sexually explicit pictures of her on a personal website, to help her become a star. Both these extremes, have a very adverse effect, on the young innocent teenage lives. One anorexic teenage girl almost dies, when she miscarries, unaware she was pregnant (a result of peer pressure). One young boy, tries to commit suicide, when his father decides to close, the son’s account, who’s hooked on video games. A bored middle aged couple, are seen playing a game of Scrabble, with each other, on their ipads, not even looking at each other. Then there is porn on the net, online dating, cybersex, you name it. Virtual Reality vs. RL!!! The Virtual wins!!!

The movie reminded me of a televised advertisement, I saw quite recently, a month or two ago, on the cable news channel ‘France24’. On the – culture segment – Film Critic, Lisa Nesselson, spoke of a French Film Festival, and showcased this comical advertisement. The ad portrayed today’s youngsters, whose heads have permanently tilted forward, ‘cause they are constantly looking at their phones. And thus, with a severe neck ache, they visit the doctor, and the prescription is for them to go to the cinema, for this particular festival, and they’ll be cured. For they’ll have to look up at the screen, instead of tilting forward. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which French Film Festival it was about, nor can I seem to locate it online. The necessity of the internet, in the 21st century. How did we manage before this?

Added to which, a week ago or so, I read, on the comic strip, Wizard of Id (in a newspaper), where one of the characters goes to a fortune teller, and asks what life would be like in the 21st century. The fortune teller looks into her Crystal Ball, and sees words like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube et al. She replies, they never leave their house. Funny, but true. I hardly go out, myself, but I don’t waste my time on the net either. I use my laptop mainly for my write-ups. Wizard of Id is set in the Middle Ages (Medieval period).

Being great fan of Reitman’s directorial ventures, I was really interested in watching this for a while now. But at the same time, I was a bit apprehensive, ‘cause Adam Sandler was in it. None the less, I thought, since it’s a Reitman movie, I doubt Sandler could do much harm, and if the movie does end up being a disappointment, it would no doubt be due to Reitman’s major mistake of hiring Sandler for the project. But, I was pleasantly surprised, Adam Sandler was superb. I loved the bugger in this, for the very first time. What a mature role, of a somewhat immature character. No stale jokes, no cheap humour, not a waste of time – seeing him blabbing away foolishly (as he usually does), nothing. Having sat through quite a few Adam Sandler films, am not a fan of his at all. But, I really liked him in this. Plus, I loved the way his character, handled the issue of infidelity, without being a jerk, or a hypocrite, so maturely. The most respectable role Adam Sandler has done till date, and definitely the best comedy he’s appeared in.

The rest of the cast are superb in their respective roles, and no real surprise there. Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dennis Haysbert, J.K. Simmons and Phil LaMarr, are all great actors. While the younger stars roped in; Ansel Elgort, Travis Tope, Kaitlyn Dever, Olivia Crocicchia, Elena Kampouris, Will Peltz and Timothée Chalamet, are all a perfect fit, for this superb movie.

Have loved every single Reitman movie, I have seen so far, within the span of, less than, ten years. From Thank You for Smoking (2005), to Juno (2007), to Up in the Air (2009), to Labor Day (2013), and now Men, Women & Children (2014), love them all. (Check out my list Top 5 Nouveau Comedies (2001 – 2010) from May 2011, on IMDB; and my post on Labor Day, starring from August 2014, on my Blog itself)

My Rating: 10/10!!! For Excellence in movie making!!

Love The Movie!! Love The Ensemble of Cast members!! Love to read The Novel by Chad Kultgen, this Movie is based on!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense