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Movie Review: Men, Women and Children
Drawing a Picture
You remember the feeling you get when you see a movie and are unsure how you felt about it? Yes, that one. This is that movie that comes so close to reality that it gives us an unnerving experience and manages to scare us by making us think things that are ought to be thought about but are neglected by us. It is in simple words the mirror that shows us our bad side. With movies like Juno, Thank you for Smoking, Up in the Air and Young Adult in his bag, Jason Reitman is a master in the craft of portraying human emotions. Judging from the list of his movies, it is safe to say that the credit for good acting goes as much to him as to the actors in the movie, both young and adult.
The story begins with the journey of the satellite Voyager 1 in taking the famous photograph Pale Blue Dot and the summary of Carl Sagan's book with the same name highlighting and demeaning our infinitesimally insignificant existence. In the next shot, Adam Sandler is shown jerking off to the video of Tori Black(pornstar). Clearly the two scenes with all their irony, set the mood of the movie. The movie then goes into narration mode showing the lives of a few teenagers interconnected in a school and their relation to their respective parents. Like all other movies of Jason Reitman, the movie follows the dynamics of personal relationships with a subtle hint of public persona that haunts us.
THE PLOT AHEAD IS A PRACTICAL SPOILER.
The stories follow problems faced by teenagers especially highlighting how technology might very well be enabling behaviors and actions that took the previous generation way more time to figure out. The different teenagers are shown to have problems in the order: excessive gaming, over-liberalization which leads to excessive skin show online which are unalterable, early loss of virginity because of peer pressure, the side effects of excessive porn, the problems that teenagers face and their way of dealing with it because of smothering parenting.
Almost juxtaposed in the story line, it goes on to show the underlying causes of these situations created by parents which range from divorces, over controlling parents, boredom in marriage life and how sometimes parents see their kids as a turf to experiment their own unfulfilled dreams. The story is narrated brutally and shows the dirty picture of reality that is present around us. The story ends leaving us brutally wounded but also showing a hint of optimism that eventually no matter how large our problems, eventually all ends well. There is one story above others that tries to hit the notes with the old school methods of courtship and gives us the feeling of the rom-com movies of the 80's with a far outcry to try appealing to our deep inherent technology free nature.
There is little more to say about the story except the Voyager 1 keeps making its appearance throughout the movie to mark its presence that somewhere outside the earth it is still floating mid air.
The best part of the movie is the screenplay which nicely makes use of windows(suggest a better word) to show how the screens of our laptops, cellphones and all the other devices are as much real and if I dare say, have become more important than the lives around us. The acting done by everyone is really great and the director manages to give equal justice to all the characters. By the end of the movie, we can completely empathize with all the characters which speaks volumes about the kind of movie it is. Running in parallel are stories of our lives with all their beauty and their imperfections. And just like our lives, the movie does not end with all is jolly good feeling but more like how life nevertheless is not as bad as we might see it. Credit goes to a lot extend to the screenplay and the background score that keeps the movie alive.
I have always been a fan of ensemble movies and a nicely made movie simply leaves the director with a better choice of which characters to develop. On the other hand, the characters, since they do not have enough screen time have very little time to justify their actions. Like the cheating wife may be hated more than empathized since we do not know how her life has been. Having said that, Jason still does better job than most of the movies like these manage.
In the end, as written in the summary, this movie shows the harsh side of the world around us. Maybe there are better aspects to life as well but with the presence of technology growing everyday, it is about time we question and at the same time draw lines for what we can call as enough of it. Is it that the technology is curbing the human intimacy or lack of human intimacy is responsible for the influence of technology? Going by the current rate, it will not be very possible to see the world where we will begin battling for our identity, consciousness and existence. This movie is made for our generation with the feeling of the dystopian world. Definitely worth a watch ! Watch it with that special someone or family. And don't give it up midway because someone wants to chat with you.