Men, Women and Children would have got its message across without The Voyager Space Probe and Emma Thompson’s narration driving home the bigger picture.
All the self-affirmation, instant gratification and constant connection brought about by the internet and social media has certainly inflated our sense of self- importance; we know that.
We also know that our use of mobile phones and computers has created perpetual anxiety and massive social change in a world that seems out of control.
More powerful than Thompson’s passages of monologue was the drama that was played out in the main body of the film, putting some perspective into our lives, replacing fear with faith in a society fraught with social issues, personal problems and unrealistic expectations.
Men, Women and Children is like a modern day Breakfast Club in that it follows a group of typical high school teenagers, but this time we get to meet the parents. And this time technology also plays a leading role, adding another dimension to the drama and shining a light on the things we don’t know about the people we presume to know so well.
Being an American comedy-drama, the central characters are fairly predictable…
There’s the dysfunctional Truby family: Mum and Dad (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt) are stuck in a sexually unsatisfying relationship and their son (Travis Tope) is a football jock who is addicted to extreme porn.
Hannah Clint (Olivia Crocicchia) is a cheerleader and aspiring actress who, with the help of her stage mom Joan (Judy Greer), maintains a website of provocative photos, that is ultimately her downfall.
Allison Doss (Elena Kampouris) is a fellow cheerleader who uses internet to support her extreme dieting.
Tim Mooney (Ansel Elgort) is a former football star who quit the team and took up gaming as an escape after his mother left his father for another man. His dad (Kent Mooney from Breaking Bad) takes up with Joan.
Brandy Beltmeyer (Kaitlyn Dever) strikes up a friendship with Tim, but her overprotective mother Patricia (Jennifer Garner) has a GPS installed on her phone so she can monitor her every movement.
For each one of the characters, technology is the glue that binds them, but it is also their undoing.
Men, Women and Children is written by Erin Cressida Wilson and directed by Jason Reitman.
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