Review: "Men, Women & Children", It’s Complicated

Jason Reitman’s intricate comedy drama casts a troubling light on how our dependence on electronic gadgets gives rise to unwanted connections and miscommunications.


Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer and Ansel Elgort lead a hugely talented cast in this multilayered, multi-generational story about emotional isolation and misplaced intimacy. It throws up many perplexing questions about modern living. Why are so many kids driven by a need for fame and attention? How do you react when you discover your partner or child has an online porn habit? Or is addicted to role-playing games? Has text messaging killed the art of conversation? Are our virtual lives a dangerous diversion from reality?

Through a series of artfully interlinked stories, the film exposes how our relationship with technology and with each other has become a minefield of artificial cravings and exposed private moments. How to control our destiny and desires gets confusing when our search engines know more about us than friends or family.

Reitman makes clever use of the technology that is unmooring us. Texts, instant messages, emails and web searches dominate the screen and internet jargon seeps into everyday language as characters fail to make meaningful connections, or even to make themselves understood. The stories are held together by Emma Thompson—the knowing narrator—whose frank and witty observations add insight to the detachment between our thoughts and deeds.

This is a provocative and disturbingly funny examination of the virtual perils that lie in store when we are left to our own devices, and a compelling reminder that we really should be more ITK* about RL*. 

* ITK = in the know; RL = real life - in web geek jargon