I knew from the trailer for Men, Women & Children that this film wouldn’t be good, if only I could have resisted my curiosity. This is a film about a collection of high school students and their parents, how they all navigate the internet and interact in a society dominated by advancements in technology.
The very essence of this film is flawed. In its attempt to educate its audience it simply ends up patronising them. We live in the very society that is portrayed in this film and we are well aware of the dangers of the internet so why Men Women and Children felt the need to show us 5 or 6 mundane examples of what can happen is beyond me. These were all stories that we have seen before and the fact that nothing is achieved after watching them all makes me wonder what the purpose of this film really is. The film itself is so one-sided and doesn’t portray our society well at all, yes things like this happen and the online community is a dangerous place but what about all the good that has come from advancements in technology. This film follows peoples choices whilst using this technology but this only demonstrates how naive the filmmakers were. What would have been far more effective would have been to show a contrast, what about people who use social media to make a living? Amongst all the stories that were shown would it have been to hard to showcase something with a glimmer of hope and positivity? The result of this one-sided portrayal was quite simply a very depressing movie, I can’t see who the target audience was. Who really wants all the bad things in our society highlighted and put together in a montage to watch? Only one storyline showed any kind of arc and thank goodness it was included because if not for this the film would have been a complete waste of time, money and effort.
Despite my dislike of the portrayal of our society, which I could discuss for far longer, thankfully I did find myself being able to invest in some of the characters. Tim (Ansel Elgort) and Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) were the only redeeming features of this film. Their storyline was good to watch and relatable in parts, it was interesting and it didn’t follow the same basic unoriginal formula that the others did. A result of this was that the characters attached to this storyline also experienced a slight revival in intrigue. Despite the other storylines being considerably weaker I never became bored with them which I was expecting to due to the 120 minute running time so this was a pleasant surprise, I’m not sure what it was that held my interest but there was something there. Emma Thompson’s narration never seemed to quite gel with the images on screen and despite how well she can read lines it just felt out of place.
Men, Women & Children tries to say something about todays society but its execution is just so flawed in so many ways that it almost becomes offensive. Thankfully there is one storyline which has some substance, however I’m not quite sure that it manages to save the film. I don’t know who the audience was meant to be either, this is a poor poor portrayal of modern society.
BIGGEST FLAW – One sided portrayal
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Tim and Brandys’ storyline
Rating – 5/10