Hours searching for tickets didn’t lead me to this film, but luckily Blake did. With an interview from Jon Krasinski himself, his directorial debut was phenomenal. Afterwards, I told Blake, “After seeing films that make me think like this one, it kind of makes me ashamed of some of my previous movie choices.”
“You should feel ashamed,” he said.
The film basically is as the title states, several interviews with men of different backgrounds. Jon told us after the film that he thought it started out being about women and the feminist movement, but really it ended up being about men. It wasn’t just an exploitation of their hideousness, but rather a critical reading of the male narrative.
Truly, there was so much going on in this film I want to address. First, the film spliced together several powerful monologues from different actors that teased out different emotions from hearty laughter to pensive sadness. One of which focused on a black professor who contemptuously reminisced about his father that worked as a bathroom servant in a nice country club. The film merged two separate monologues together that addressed eachother indirectly, as if the two characters who actually were in the same room, were actually separated from eachother, explaining their actions and feelings. “A piece of toast for the bus…a double shift to feed the children.” “He avoided their eyes to spare their dignity. He tried to be invisible, and he was invisible to them.” Though the dichotomy of a black man and his father may not seem to relate to the main synopsis of the film, I felt it was a poignant tie in, since that was why the man proclaimed, “Nobody, is invisible. To me.” Each interview was about the women in each man’s life, and it was easy to connect this man with treating his wife respectfully. The scene was moving.
Another group of scenes broke down Julianne’s own barriers. A student pesters her to review his paper, and she refuses because of her disgust for its thesis that violence, rape, and incest can be good events in a woman’s life. As the student persistently approaches Julianne, he gets more and more frustrated at her sheer disgust for his ideas. He parallels his ideas to Viktor Frankl, who wrote, Man’s Search for Meaning. Eventually, he reveals it is he who was raped. He forcefully explains how, when the events that are setup in the mind as the most horrific and impossible actually happen, there is a level of experience that is discovered which allows the individual to know more about himself or herself than ever before. This new clarity gives meaning to life, and provides a way to grow stronger and overcome, thus allowing a person the ability to succeed in ways that before were impossible.
Other scenes are funny, sad, and disgusting, but shed light onto why not only men, but mainly men, make decisions that they do. Not just why they cheat and want sex all the time, but also that usually at the heart of every decision or value system is a vulnerability that has been shelved away behind dusty boxes of pain and regret.
the final monologue by Jon tells why he has never loved. He tells a story of a girl that he initially picked up just for a one night stand, but then discovers a girl who was able to find love in her heart for the very man who raped her. “This is love,” he says. “When you can experience the very worst of someone and still love them.” Or something to that effect. Previously, Julianne questioned why. Why could you cheat on me when you loved me? The truth was that he never loved her. She was just another fling. But after that story, he did change.
Is she the one who comes out on top? Jon felt she did. I would say no. Even though she is the one conducting the interviews and revealing these secrets, its still the women who are the brunt of man’s proclivities. Men are the dominant sex, and usually get what they want.
So I was truly impressed with the expressiveness of Jon krasinski as he took questions and humbly passed the praise to his cast and fellow filmmakers. Well done. I’m going to go ahead and claimed I met him, and by met him, I mean stood in the same room about 40 feet away.