Men, Women & Children

First Hit:  Interesting film about how social media is navigated and used.

I’m not a big Social Media person. I have a Facebook account which I look at about once every six months and I’ve a twitter account that I used 5 times 2 years ago.

However my company uses these and other social media vehicles to help us be seen and to grow our presence. In this film we have a paranoid mother Patricia (Jennifer Garner) monitoring every interaction her daughter Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) has in her social media accounts. All except a secret account where Brandy dresses up and posts pictures as someone else.

She begins to like and meet up with Tim (Ansel Elgort), a loner guy whose mom left him and his dad and he’s wondering if life is worthwhile. His mom posts her adventures in California with new boyfriend on Social Media - then blocks his access to her account. Then there is Hannah Clint (Olivia Crocicchia) whose mother Donna (Judy Greer) takes suggestive photos of her and posts them for payment and view by clients.

There is also Don and Patricia Truby (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt respectively) who have lost sexual interest in each other and use websites to find sexual partners. There were a lot of stories in this film and above were only some of them.

The point, which it did well, was to highlight how over control, under awareness, and not knowing what is going on with your child or partner leads to interesting uses of social media. With social media we separate ourselves and don’t talk face to face.

Conversely, we also will use it to also connect with strangers, call them “friends” although we don’t know them, and create relationships. Scenes where people were walking in shopping malls and school halls with their phone’s text message bubbles over them while they walk, heads down, looking at their screens was very telling.

Sandler was good as the man and husband who has lost his way and finds that treading old water won’t be helpful. The last scene in the kitchen with this wife as very good. DeWitt was very strong as the wife who was looking for some excitement in her life. Garner was so over the top (in a good way) and great as the paranoid mother. Dever was wonderful as the young girl hamstringed by her mom (Garner) and finding strength to live her life. Crocicchia was perfect as the girl who would do anything to be on reality TV and who thinks that what she looks like is the most important thing. Greer is very good as the mom who wanted to be a Hollywood star, didn’t make it, so she pushed and sold her daughter’s beauty. Elgort was excellent as the boy, who lost his mom, and was trying to make sense of his life and what was important. Additionally Elania Kampouris was very effective as the girl who made a guy’s opinion of her more important than her own opinion of herself. Chad Kultgen and Jason Reitman wrote the interesting but a bit too scattered script and Reitman got good performances out of his actors and the script.

Overall:  I think the story tried to tell too many stories and therefore there wasn’t enough depth in any one of them.