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The latest feature from Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Labor Day) follows a group of teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. A sterling ensemble cast includes Judy Greer, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, J.K. Simmmons, and Emma Thompson.
The latest film from director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) is an insightful ensemble drama with an all-star cast. Its intricate plot charts the not-so-private lives of several characters whose interactions are driven by desire for connection, erotic liberation, and a sense of self-worth. A network narrative that incorporates modern technology as both storytelling device and subject of cultural critique, Men, Women & Children examines the myriad ways we communicate today — and what might get lost in transmission.
A couple in a marriage devoid of intimacy want to know what it feels like to love and be loved again. A teenage girl looks for encouragement to be a more effective anorexic. A teen boy has lost himself, to the point of numbness, down a rabbit hole of online pornography. Interweaving these and other poignant tales of contemporary life — all brought brilliantly to the screen by a cast that includes Adam Sandler, Dean Norris, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kaitlyn Dever, and Ansel Elgort — the film explores the communities in which we invest our deepest secrets.
Based on the novel by Chad Kultgen, Men, Women & Children is a sweeping group portrait in which each of us will recognize some aspect of ourselves. Reitman's ingenious realization uses animated graphics to illustrate the rapid-fire text messaging that often occurs simultaneously with in-person conversation, while Emma Thompson's knowing voice-over narration allows us to occasionally zoom out from all the messy intimacy and take a cosmic view.
The ubiquity of digital devices may yet be too fresh an innovation to fully comprehend, but for now, films like this remind us that the impulses activating all that gadgetry are at least as old as language itself.
Mon September 29, 2014, 7:30, Muenzinger Auditorium
USA, 2014, in English, Color, 116 min, Rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout-some involving teens, and for language • official site