Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Photo 3

I wrote a short response to John Krasinski’s directorial debut of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a few weeks ago and talked about the polarizing effect that this film has on it’s audience – chances are you will either love it or hate it. That being said, I walked out of the theater somewhat confused about what I had just seen, but I was also intrigued, and found that the film stayed with me for weeks to come.

It’s unique style, awareness of the camera, odd humor, long monologues, off-putting views towards rape and dark edges are not for everyone, but it will definitely satisfy a craving for something out of the ordinary…

The Players:

  • Director: John Krasinski
  • Written by: John Krasinski (screenplay) based on a novel by David Foster Wallace
  • Starring: Julianne Nicholson, Timothy Hutton, Will Arnett, John Krasinski, and Dominic Cooper

The Plot:

Based on David Foster Wallace’s novel of the same name, the film is about Sara Quinn, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at a prestigious East Coast university Sara Quinn, who confused by the way that men act, sets out to do a series of interviews with them in the name of academia. In hopes of better understanding, she finds herself becoming even more lost and she discovers much more about men and herself than she ever bargained for.

The Good:

  • The Balls: Instead of doing something safe, Krasinki really pushed the boundaries on his first film. From subject matter dealing with rape in a way we’re not used to, to his unique camera movements, nothing about this film fits the usual “first time film-maker” model. I applaud him for not going the safe rom-com route, but for coming up with something new and creative.
  • The Idea: The script has it’s ups and downs. In many ways it reminded me more of watching a play than a film, but overall the idea behind it — complete and brutal honesty — is interesting and if nothing else will lead you to that polarizing opinion I was talking about earlier.
  • Camera Movements: The cutting back and worth, the same monolgue being used in two places, and the interesting set ups, the chopped up monologues presented as one, at times reminded me of Confession’s of a Dangerous Mind, but was also its own unique thing that helped express the idea behind the story. It seemed to me that you were always aware that you were watching a film and you, like the lead character, could sit back and watch the insanity unravel.
  • Toying with the Viewer: The film is intended to make you uncomfortable alongside the main character. Just like her, we are sitting there, listening to people talk about difficult subject matter in a very theatrical way. It’s bound to get a response, if only because we’re not used to hearing it.
  • The Interviews: They are so odd and aggressive that they ring strangely truthful. When people are given the permission to say what they’re not supposed to say, it can be a rather interesting albeit unsettling experience.

The Bad (well not really bad):

  • John Krasinki Acting and Directing: He should either direct or act. He’s a great actor and with this film has proved he can direct, I’m not just sure if he should do both. His monologue at the end, though powerful fell flat at times and seemed in need of outside guidance.
  • Subject Matter: I found it interesting, but many people found it too uncomfortable and unnecessary to sit through and I see their point. I think there’s a fine line between art and entertainment and this film definitely walks that line. Whether it crosses it or not is up to you.
  • It’s Not a Comedy: Although this film is being marketed like a dark comedy, it is not in anyway a happy or comedic film. Hell, the author of the novel killed himself about a year ago. When people are truly honest it is at times funny but mainly it’s dark, sad, and at times pretty depressing to experience.


It’s not for everyone, but it is a unique experience and worth the watch if you’re looking for a film to talk about.

Rating: 7/10

Check out the film in select theaters starting 9/25/09.

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