“Men, Women & Children” find virtual lives easier than real ones.
by Jasel Rico, Staff Writer
“Men, Women & Children” opens our eyes and search bars to the relationships among a group of high school students, their parents, and how technology can be comforting … and scary.
Based on Chad Kultgen’s book, Jason Reitman’s film finds the teens and their parents struggling to find themselves or parts of themselves that are missing. They use texts and Facebook and Tumblr and other sites to navigate it all – or fail spectacularly in the effort.
The teens hope the Internet can be a place where you can find anyone to accept you for “you,” without realizing there are people out there who can hurt you. A young girl struggling with anorexia goes to a support web site, and gets help to keep from eating. Another seeks adoration from her “fans” without knowing that predators might be out there. An un-trusting mother loses sight of her daughter’s boundaries. A middle-aged couple who have grown bored of each other look elsewhere for excitement. And amidst it all, two teens wonder if they can find love out of the ether.
Searching for a companion in the real world, all the characters are getting is a connection error. Yet Tim (Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”) and Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), both feeling lost and alone, find a relationship can begin to blossom with actual face time.
The pace of the movie is easy to follow and had an indie feel to it all. It feels as though we were taking a glimpse inside real families’ homes and situations. Reitman (“Juno”) does a wonderful job making this book into a movie. Funny moments like getting to see a dad find and search for porn on his son’s computer so he doesn’t get caught. It has many authentic and raw elements to it that in the end it all makes sense.
The movie points to connections we are missing and replacing with our devices like tablets, cell phones and computers … and reminds us everything we post, search or do on the Internet can have consequences.
“Men, Women & Children” opens October 17
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue throughout, some involving teens, and for language
4 out of 5 stars