4 reasons to go see Men, Women & Children

Jason Reitman, good pedigree

Jason Reitman, good pedigree

So it’s that time of the year again – my first BAFTA viewing of the season. To get things off to a strong start I went to see Jason Reitman’s Men Women & Children. He was at the screening (we crossed paths at the door of the Gents in the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho – I’ve seen him once before a couple of years ago at a screening of Up in the Air – he’s the son of Animal House producer, Ivan Reitman). Also present in the immaculate new screening room were stars Ansel Elgort (The Fault in our Stars) and Kaitlyn Dever (Bad Teacher), plus producer Helen Estabrook, all interviewed after the movie by Jason Solomons (more comfortable than incisive like that old jumper with the paint spots on it).

Ansel Elgort & Kaitlyn Dever connecting (without phones)

Ansel Elgort & Kaitlyn Dever connecting (without phones)

I was going to ask director Jason Reitman why he had decided on a female English voice-over (Emma Thompson, who sounded like she didn’t really understand the American words she was being asked to say about sports and stuff) but the fella before me asked that one so I had to improvise. First I asked him why he used a voice-over narration at all (and quite a lot of it), and then I asked whether he had gone to Framestore for the space shots as a no-brainer in the wake of Gravity (it’s wonderful to see a London institution in such a dominant global position).

On the way out I had a chat with Ansel Elgort about selfies and who took the photos in the movie story of his screen mum and her lover. I thought it was a Judas scenario – who is narrating when he’s alone in his torment? – but Ansel reckoned the obnoxious couple took a photographer along to the wedding proposal, a “cheesy” act. I’m not entirely convinced but maybe that happens in the good ol’ US of A. He has 4 million Instagram followers so what do I know?

So the reasons to go see the film are:

Rosemarie DeWitt

Rosemarie DeWitt DeLish

1. Rosemarie DeWitt – I fancy her something rotten, very distinctive nose. She looks oddly like Davina McCall (who I bought a coke a few years ago at a BAFTA nominees party in Marylebone). Probably first noticed her in Rachel Getting Married and loved her in the delightful Your Sister’s Sister.

In 1990 Voyager 1 captured this image of Earth from 4 billion miles away

In 1990 Voyager 1 captured this image of Earth from 4 billion miles away

2. Carl Sagan’s words – My friend Doug Miller is always going on about Carl Sagan and he’s a man of taste. His taste is well proven in this movie as the voice-over of a Carl Sagan DVD provides the philosophical perspective in this story. It’s the “Pale Blue Dot” speech from Cosmos which says that us humans are basically a race of jumped-up monkeys floating in the blackness on an insignificant lump of rock – and that’s why we need to be kind to one another.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

men-women-children-movie

3. Mobile phones – it really draws your attention to how much we all use them, especially while walking around.

For fuck's sake say something!

For fuck’s sake say something!

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago in The Wolesey – these people never came off their phones in over an hour and hardly exchanged a word. One of the few things that sticks with me from Dr Susan Greenfield’s slightly odd book Tomorrow’s People is the new state of mind which sees us regularly living in two places at once thanks to this technology.

men-women-children-movie

4. The Internet – this is probably the first movie I’ve seen that has a serious stab at examining what the internet is doing to us – through blogs, porn, social media, games et al – and how we connect in all regards these days.

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4 comments so far

  1. theluckhabit on

    Well, any film that imports Carl Sagan has to be worth consideration! But the reviews are almost universally moderate to poor. Not a great film-goer myself but I have seen two of his previous efforts. I managed to get to the end of Juno but I found the praise for it mystifying. It seemed like a TV movie to me. Very thin. I related a little to Up in the Air, not least because it mirrors some parts of my own life (without Vera F of course) but again, despite a couple of amusing moments it was a paper thin film. So, is this any better? Looking for something to see next weekend.

    Like

  2. theluckhabit on

    Well, any film that imports Carl Sagan has to be worth consideration! But the reviews are almost universally moderate to poor. Not a great film-goer myself but I have seen two of his previous efforts. I managed to get to the end of Juno but I found the praise for it mystifying. It seemed like a TV movie to me. Very thin. I related a little to Up in the Air, not least because it mirrors some parts of my own life (without Vera F of course) but again, despite a couple of amusing moments it was a paper thin film. So, is this any better? Looking for something to see next weekend.

    Like

  3. ArkAngel on

    I’m not sure when it comes out (this was an early screening) but it’s very thought-provoking territory and more than competently made so well worth the time and price of admission when you get the chance. It’s one of the first movies to properly address this aspect of modern life: how do we actually connect (or not) in the digital age.

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  4. Carter Blunt on

    Hey there. This is completely OT, but I have written a poetry book. I found your blog when looking up something to do with Seamus Heaney so I thought you might like it. The book has a price of £0.00 until Thursday the 16th of October, is only available in kindle version (but you can put the kindle app on just about anything).

    Oh, and it is called Feckquinox.

    Like


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