"I have installed a camera in my daughter's brain and a seven digit pin code on her vagina."
The internet is really crawling into the fabric of modern filmmaking by now. Who would be better to direct a film Like Men, Women and Children than Jason Reitman, the director of Juno and Up in the Air. Like previous projects it is based on a novel and it in this one, it’s very difficult to work out what he wanted to accomplish.
This story offers a look at how social media and technology in general has influenced and affected the professional and personal lives of different people. We see their interactive and their private lives over the internet.
It is difficult to know where to start a review of this film. It has an ensemble cast that gives an average-ish performance. But that’s about it, the only really positive thing I can say about it. The story comes from middle class America and is done in that slice of life style but to use the term story would be an overstatement. The events depicted in the film take virtually no direction. There are no twists or turns, it plays out in the exact way that you expect it to and in the loosest possible form.
Out of all the topics that are tackled here, privacy, sex, pornography, adultery, cyber bullying, exploitation and of course social media, none of them are really addressed. They all appear as issues but there doesn’t seem to be any difference of opinion expressed throughout the film at any of them, but they all receive so little attention and a formulaic dissection any way that it doesn’t really matter.
The script is fairly bland and dull, it fails to challenge any social aesthetic or opinion but instead adopts the continuous tone. It successfully introduces the characters and while their settings are interesting the script never grabbed me after that. Mainly because it does feel quite conventional and transparent, it’s clear that this marriage will lead to an affair and another will ruin her daughter’s social life with constant observations, we know what will happen, we are not interested. As I said before there is no clear story method here, it’s just events as they take place with no clear narrative or structure.
There’s also a hint of men, Women and Children being too self-righteous and moral to its audience. It is as if this entire film was written by the helicopter parents it portrays. It shows the internet as almost a disease that seeps into families and destroys them. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, much of the film sees the internet from one perspective, that it is dangerous. I’m not saying that it isn’t at times, but it is hard for me to hate it because it’s the reason I can tell you what I thought of this film.
The ways in which the characters are brought down do not really appear to be universally true, especially in this context. It appears that more attention should be brought to the fact that the character’s own lusts are what destroys them, the internet is just an accessing point for the element that bring about their downfall. If you gave a man a gun and he deliberately shot himself would you blame the gun?
It doesn’t seem to know a lot about the technology it describes either. It presents an idealised view of what older people perceive technology to be, something negative. There’s a disregard for realism when it comes to dealing with the mechanics of the internet or actually giving the correct mood, like glamourizing internet dating for one thing.
With an unrealistic, narrow minded and formulaic approach to its subject matter, Men, Women and Children doesn’t stand out or provoke discussion.