BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN Review
Recently, I got a chance to see Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, which comes out to theaters today, September 25, 2009.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is based on David Foster Wallace’s books of the same name, which are transcripts of interviews with male subjects.
In the movie, the protagonist, Sara Quinn (Julianne Nicholson), whose boyfriend (John Krasinski) just left her, does a series of interviews with multiple male subjects, in order to find out the deepest thoughts that drive their behaviors.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I went into the movie apart from the fact that John Krasinksi directed it and that Julianne Nicholson starred, along with a few other actors I knew. I didn’t read the synopsis, because I wanted to be surprised.
So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s hard to say in one word, there were things that I enjoyed and things that didn’t enjoy so much. So I thought I would break it down for you.
The story didn’t really flow together really well, and that had a lot to do with the source material used for the film. The interviews are at the core and it works well when you see some of the subjects talk about their issues or thoughts, but the story around it with Sara felt a little out of place sometimes.
The movie also moves back and forth in time a lot, which makes it hard to sometimes follow the story. In addition, the story is driven by the interviews, which sometimes happen in a control environment (a room in which Sara films the subjects) and sometimes they randomly happen with people that she encounters. The problem here is that you don’t really understand what it is she is doing until the end of the film (it’s literally the last scene).
And finally I think one of the weakest part of the film was dialogue. The problem is they tried to include some of the interviews as part conversations, which makes them sound artificial, instead of adapting the main idea and make it into a real life conversation. One particular scene in which John Kraskinski’s character explains something to Sara just didn’t work for me. Why? Well because it just didn’t feel true. People don’t talk like that when explaining something about themselves, it really felt like they took the interview that was relevant at this point in the film and made it as a monologue, which just doesn’t work.
Now that we know some of I didn’t like, let’s talk about what I did enjoy.
I liked some of the points made and stories from the interviews. I especially like a scene with Daniel aka Subject #46 (Dominic Cooper) who tries to argue the grade Sara gave him on his paper. I found that whole conversation really interesting and I also really enjoyed the way it was all edited together, which gave it a sense of urgency. This was my favorite part of the movie.
Overall, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is the type of movie that I am happy to have seen, just because I enjoy watching different types of movies, and this was definitely different and made me think about it afterwards. But would I want to see it again? No, not really.
Title: BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS
Director: John Krasinski
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Will Forte, Dominic Cooper, Bobby Cannavale, Timothy Hutton, John Krasinski, Christopher Meloni, Max Minghella, Ben Shenkmen, Lou Taylor Pucci, Josh Charles, Franke Faison
Synopsis: John Krasinski makes his debut as a screenwriter and director with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. The film also marks the first big-screen project ever derived from the literary library of the late David Foster Wallace. When her boyfriend leaves her with little explanation, Sara Quinn (Julianne Nicholson) is left looking for answers as to what went wrong. Directing all her energies into her anthropological dissertation, Sara conducts a series of interviews with men in an effort to uncover the secret thoughts that drive their behavior. She thinks she can remedy both her heartache and her academic challenges with a new research project and begins conducting a series of interviews with men. As she records the astonishing and disquieting experiences of various subjects, Sara discovers much more about men and herself than she bargained for. Krasinski also co-stars in this dark comedy.
Release Date: September 25, 2009
Watch the trailer