Sunday, January 17, 2010
I have not read David Foster Wallace's story collection "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men." As of yet, I have only seen John Krasinski's film of the same name and subject.
This movie is viewed best as an overview of a certain mindset rather than of all men. Comprised mainly of a series of interviews performed by a female interviewer (Julianne Nicholson). Male subjects include both strangers and close acquaintances. Nicholson is excellent, especially considering she is mostly silent. All women characters lack a voice here. This clearly symbolic reinforcement of women as objects and victims is interesting but also an easy evasion of creating the rare three-dimensional female characters.
The inconclusive interviews are, at times, frustrating. In fact, several cut off when the subject is about to confess his most important theory about himself or women. Perhaps the point here isn't so much what these men believe; it's that they believe they are right. Many stones are left unturned, as there really is only one general theme in a variety of guises, that of objectification. Here, male insecurities and self-hatred lead to misogyny. Men ruminate on the female mystique. One man describes objectification related more to race than gender. The pieces range from humorous, inoffensive, and light, to powerful and truly sickening; some are both.
'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men' has received mainly negative reviews. In spite of its flaws, the movie is funny, disturbing, and, ultimately, intense.