Men, Women & Children

Men Women Children
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler and the voice of Emma Thompson
In UK Cinemas December 5th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

Men, Women & Children is a portrait of modern day society and the effect that technology is having upon us.  In this film, all of the characters in this excellent ensemble cast are leading very troubled lives due to their interaction with social media, most of their flaws focused on sexual frustration and perversion.  In fact, the only two characters who are not perverse are Tim (Elgort) and Brandy (Dever) who act as the film’s moral compass and love story hook.

The film explores both gender and generational differences in our interaction with technology.  The balance between the varying storylines works quite well, although most of the characters are very weak in their own right, practically caricatures of their respective archetypes. While none would hold their own as the only focus in a film of this scale, as a collective it’s a much more interesting narrative.  It is the casting choices that help the characters come into their own in a more empathetic fashion than otherwise deserved.

Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever are of the most interest as their storyline is much simpler than the others, with their character stereotypes being slightly underplayed in an otherwise typical teenage love story.  Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler as married couple Helen and Don are also excellent to watch, but only due to the performances and not the writing or character arcs.  While I’m not overly concerned for their characters’ well-beings, I do feel a bit sad to know that we never find out what Helen will be having for breakfast in her final scene of the film.

The voice of Emma Thompson reinforces the fact that our existence is pretty much meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but coming from her mouth, even such a dire thought is soothing. A completely unnecessary role, but who doesn’t like Emma Thompson!  And to be honest, the bulk of the characters are unnecessary as this film, while an enjoyable watch, does not profoundly comment on our society as much as it likes to think that it does.  I’m aware that I’m not profoundly commenting on Men, Women & Children‘s purpose, but I’ll tell you that while you’ll most likely enjoy watching it, it too is pretty much meaningless in the grand scheme of things.


Our interview with Men, Women & Children star Kaitlyn Dever.

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