081: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

Back on the #366movies course with a masculine bang. A mascu-bang. Ignore that.

After a tough break-up, an unnamed, female grad student conducts interviews with men from all walks of life, trying to comprehend the inferior sex and cathartically forget her promiscuous ex-boyfriend.

Directed by the effortlessly affable John Krasinski (The Office’s Jim Halpert), Brief Interviews with Hideous Men feels like a celebratory labour of love to the collection of David Foster Wallace short stories from which it spawned. Made up mostly of straight-to-camera vignettes, the film has a very emotive, theatrical quality. Often described as the simpler sex, Wallace’s short stories unearth the hidden depths of man, with each character wearing their hearts (or lack thereof) on their sleeves. The result is inevitably uneven, with the more conventionally brash macho-figures appearing hackneyed and the idiosyncratic, more fragile interviewees feeling genuinely refreshing and new screen presences. Even still, there’s a lot to be desired here, most notably Krasinski’s pacing and richly adapted screenplay.

Passing by art house cinemas without very much critical attention, Brief Interviews is another forgotten gem from the Sundance Festival, indie alumni. Comic, tragic and in all ways independent, the film is an exciting and accomplished directorial debut from Krasinski and, even through all the ugliness, has a lot to say about the public perception of ghastly men. I mean, we’re really rubbish, aren’t we?

Less The Vagina Monologues, more The Penis Soliloquies.

★★★★☆☆

IMDB it.

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