We went and saw Men and, for most men it will be a similar viewing experience to staring into a mirror for an hour and a half.
Men is a movie about a woman named Harper (Jessie Buckley), because of course you can’t have men without women – or can you?
Harper has recently lost her husband to a fit of passion that looks an awful lot like a spiteful suicide on his part. She has decided to take a vacation in the countryside to get her wits about herself and is met by a bunch of MEN.
These MEN range from pleasantly goofy to downright terrifying. One through line with all the MEN she encounters is that they are all somewhat simple, aloof, or pleasantly dimwitted. There is one exception to that rule in the priest.
As her stay in the countryside progresses she is visited by a spectre of manhood, and her experiences become increasingly more surreal and alarming. She calls the police to help her, but the police department is full of MEN.
As things spiral out of control, the audience is given a barrage of horrendous body horror that is clearly meant to depict the female/male dichotomy in the most unpleasant ways imaginable.
Harper definitely gets more MEN than she bargained for.
Men is an interesting movie and the third full length feature film that writer, director Alex Garland has made. Because it was made by a man, I feel comfortable saying that its pretty accurate. Although, it’s somewhat problematic that Garland assumes to know what the female perspective is, which could be said to be his inherent male privilege shining through.
Men is an attempt to satirize males and give the audience a reference point for what it might be like living as a woman. It takes symbolism to the next level by starting as a straight ahead narrative story that slowly morphs into a nightmare of dreamlike sequences that can’t possibly be real.
It shares a lot in common with the recent Finish movie Hatching (Pahanhautoja) in that it is an allegory that will probably be the hardest to watch for those who would most benefit from it. There are undeniable truths within the subtle feelings provided by Men that are so on-the-nose that they can’t be summed up in words.
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Many will take issue with this movie for a variety of reasons, but the only issue I have with it is the title. By titling this movie “Men” it betrays a bias, and others those who would benefit the most from watching it. “Toxic masculinity” as a label would probably be a much more effective term that everyone was able to agree on if it weren’t othering males and was instead just referred to as “Toxicity”.
Perhaps the best way to heal divisions and painful histories is to work together to end the trend of “othering” those who have wronged us, and try our best to forgive, while acknowledging our differences.
This movie does that – it acknowledges the differences between men and women while pointing out the issues that many men have.
The title was chosen to be divisive, and take advantage of the angst present between men and women, which is ironic because the content of the movie does a decent job of being fair to men and women alike.
It’s a well-done movie, if very slow in some parts.
People who will enjoy Men might include:
- Open-minded men
- Body horror fans
- Psychological horror fans
- Thriller fans
People who probably won’t enjoy Men might include:
- Toxic people
- Many men
- Those who don’t do well with gore and body horror