Men Parent Guide
This isn't just a strange film. It's an exercise in temporary insanity.
Parent Movie Review
Following the traumatic death of her husband (Paapa Essiedu), Harper (Jessie Buckley) decides that she needs a rest – two weeks quiet holiday in a beautiful manor house in the English countryside. The man who owns the property, Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), helpfully shows her around the home, and points her towards some lovely walking trails in the nearby woods. Taking his advice, Harper finds herself experimenting with the echo of her own voice in a long tunnel under the old train tracks, when she sees a silhouette at the other end of the tunnel… ominous enough. Anxiety turns to terror when the figure begins sprinting towards her. Although she makes it back to the village, Harper is badly rattled by the experience…and there’s far worse yet to come.
If I were being generous, I might describe this as a strange film. Stingy man that I am, I think it’s probably better described as an exercise in temporary insanity. Men certainly has big ideas and fascinating concepts it wants to explore, and it does with a sense of style and purpose .…sometimes. Other times, the movie gets a little lost in the overgrown woods of its own imagination. That works once or twice, but most of the third act is deeply, deeply odd. I have to give Men a lot of credit for ambition. On the one hand, it tries to tell a very specific story in largely symbolic terms, and it gets away with it more frequently than you might expect. On the other hand, it can descend into abstractions that, absent more context, feel bizarre.
As a horror film, it works quite well. Almost from the beginning, this is a tour from the unsettling to the downright horrifying, with a few incidental stops in the unintentionally funny. Those little gaffs aside, the thoughtful and deliberate imagery on screen is captivating, elevated by a truly haunting soundtrack, and it takes advantage of the audience’s fascination to show them some insane things. Like, for example, a series of men giving birth to identical men, covered in blood and screaming, clawing towards the camera, only to be stopped by their swelling bellies, driving them to the ground to birth again. Absolutely disgusting to watch, fairly confusing to unravel, and completely unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in a theater.
Now, I don’t mean to shock you, but this is not a children’s movie. It’s barely an adult’s movie, if we’re being honest. Gruesome body horror, frequent full frontal male nudity, and a good deal of profanity are major elements of this story. Men has a specific audience in mind: adults who like weird, difficult, challenging, and frequently grotesque horror, and who don’t mind waiting around for the film’s grasp to try and catch up to its reach – even if it never quite does.Directed by Alex Garland. Starring Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu, Gayle Rankin. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release May 20, 2022. Updated May 20, 2022
Watch the trailer for MenThis trailer contains disturbing imagery and is not appropriate for a family website.
Rating & Content Info
Why is Men rated R? Men is rated R by the MPAA for language, disturbing and violent content, grisly images, and graphic nudity
Violence: There are depictions of domestic abuse and suicide. A corpse is seen following a fatal fall with gory injuries. A dead animal is seen graphically decomposing. A man is seen cutting open his own skin and inserting leaves. A man is stabbed in the arm and pulls the knife through his arm, bisecting himself from the elbow down. A character is stabbed in the abdomen. An individual is non-fatally hit by a car. Men are repeatedly seen “birthing” other characters, typically covered in blood and screaming.
Sexual Content: One man is seen fully nude in every scene he is in. A woman is briefly seen from the shoulders up in the bath. A graphic carving is seen. Close ups of men giving birth are seen repeatedly.
Profanity: There are 29 uses of sexual expletives, four uses of scatological terms, and infrequent uses of mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking socially.
Page last updated May 20, 2022
Men Parents' Guide
What are some of the allusions the film makes to other stories? How successfully does it bring out those ideas? What other ideas is the movie playing with? Do you think it conveys the complexity of those ideas clearly? What are some of the real-world concerns addressed in the story?
This film focuses heavily on both domestic violence and suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with either of those issues, there are resources online where you can find help.
Wikipedia: List of domestic violence hotlines (Collection of contact information from a variety of countries.)
Related home video titles:
Director Alex Garland also directed Ex Machina. Other unusual, complex films include I’m Thinking of Ending Things (also starring Jessie Buckley), Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Green Knight, It Comes at Night, Enemy, Birdman, Mulholland Drive, The Lighthouse, Hereditary, and Midsommar.