Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children is a treatise on the negative aspects of the internet. The drama is slow-burning, with characters that engage throughout.
A group of high school students navigate the modern world, with their lives played out and guided by online activity. Their parents too navigate the impact the internet has had in their lives…
In previous films, director and co-writer Jason Reitman has exhibited a knack for depicting authentic characters, not all of whom are entirely likeable. Reitman continues this trend with Men, Women & Children, albeit with an ensemble cast rather than one or two protagonists.
Men, Women & Children distributes its run time fairly evenly between parents and their kids. The film takes a little while to develop the characters, given the numbers involved in the storylines. Nevertheless, as the film progresses, the characters are fleshed out sufficiently to make them appear authentic.
Reitman’s film is abundantly clear in its views of the impact of the internet. As a fable on the negative aspects of the internet, Men, Women & Children feels like it has arrived a little late. Whilst the far-reaching impact of the internet on modern society is a topic ripe for investigation, the film seems reductive in its moralising. It is obvious the type of relationship which is endorsed by the film, and the types that are considered unhealthy.
Performances in the film are strong. The ensemble cast performs well, particularly Judy Greer and Elena Kampouris. Jennifer Garner is also decent, as is Adam Sandler; it is refreshing to see him in a more subdued role.The film’s soundtrack works well.
Although it does have its merits, Men, Women & Children is not at the same level as some of Jason Reitman’s previous films. A more nuanced depiction of the theme would have no doubt been an improvement.
Men, Women & Children is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2014.