Title – Men, Women and Children (2014)
Director – Jason Reitman (Juno)
Cast – Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever, Dean Norris, Emma Thompson
Plot – Looks at how modern day technology affects our everyday lives as a group of high school teenagers and their parents navigate the many pitfalls of what lays at their fingertips.
“Like it or not, for the moment The Earth is where we make our stand”
Review by Eddie on 08/05/2015
The recipient of an intense critical deriding upon its cinematic release, one time critical darling of a director Jason Reitman must’ve wondered where it all went wrong for him when Men, Women and Children made its way into the big bad world of the movies late last year. From his debut Thank You For Smoking, his overrated yet hugely successful Juno and his charming Up in the Air, Reitman has from the very beginning, been a director whose films seem critic proof even though I for one believe his still yet to produce an outstanding piece of work (and seriously what even was Labor Day?), making the fact that Men, Women and Children was such a solid event even more surprising than it’s critical slamming.
Talked up as a onetime Awards contender (even for ensemble member Adam Sandler!), MWC was released seemingly without any press and to a public that seemed to care little, even though the material here is based on Chad Kultgen’s popular novel. You’d imagine that part of reason MWC failed so terribly at the box office was due to the sword that was thrust through it by the critics and in hindsight now this is actually quite a shame, as this is a movie that may not reach great heights but acts as an affecting and telling reminder about how modern day tech obsessed lives that is displayed in a manner here that for many may be too close to home, in what is an often honest, blunt and raw delving into of the pitfalls that befall many when dangers lurk at their very finger tips.
Reitman does a fantastic job of showcasing how our everyday lives have once and for all been taken over by smartphones, laptops, tablets and any other manner of tech based wizardry and the way in which he embeds scenes with encroaching mouse clicks and internet searches is to be commended. Reitman also finds a way to delve into some seriously dark subject matters without ever over stepping the line into pure darkness and whether dealing with teen pregnancy, marital crises or attempted suicides nothing here feels overplayed or melodramatic even though Emma Thompson’s voice over work can at times feel a little intrusive or on the other end underused. His cast also is on fine form, with particular mention to be made of teen star Ansel Elgort and the increasingly good Kaitlyn Dever as young lovers.
Men, Women and Children isn’t an easy watch and it doesn’t always nail it’s subject completely but when Reitman and his cast get it right this is a drama about our modern day and age that should be a must watch for all those that question the affect technology has had on our lives or those parents that believe their children aren’t at risk of potentially life changing dangers when they connect to any variety of their newfangled gadgets. For an honest look at our day and age, you could do a lot worse than this misunderstood piece.
3 and a half MMPORG playing Hank’s out of 5