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I just finished it…it was quite a trippy watch but I feel like there are some interesting themes in there around women and our bodies, men, the patriarchy etc.

There’s a scene near the end where the male characters attempt to take on some grotesque attempt at appropriating childbirth.

I had to Google it because it didn’t fully make sense to me but I found the article linked below really interesting. My favourite part is the breakdown on the depiction of the Green Man and the Síle na Gig in the church. The author of the article interprets this as

These two symbols serve as anomalies against nature. On the one hand, lies the symbol of the Green Man, a man, symbolizing fertility, an utterly absurd idea. It deprives women of this biological ability exclusive to them while exalting man as the center of creation, a factually incorrect notion. On the other hand, lies the aspect of grotesquely exaggerating feminine body parts, becoming a mockery of femininity and the sanctity of childbirth by presenting them as ugly and repulsive. In both cases, there’s a clear patriarchal belittling of the female anatomy and its functions. The fact that this object is presented in the middle of a church, a historically patriarchal space, again reiterates the film’s most acute concern – this idea of the world being entirely defined and presented through the eyes of men.

https://www.highonfilms.com/men-2022-movie-ending-explained/amp/

I just finished it…it was quite a trippy watch but I feel like there are some interesting themes in there around women and our bodies, men, the patriarchy etc. There’s a scene near the end where the male characters attempt to take on some grotesque attempt at appropriating childbirth. I had to Google it because it didn’t fully make sense to me but I found the article linked below really interesting. My favourite part is the breakdown on the depiction of the Green Man and the Síle na Gig in the church. The author of the article interprets this as > These two symbols serve as anomalies against nature. On the one hand, lies the symbol of the Green Man, a man, symbolizing fertility, an utterly absurd idea. It deprives women of this biological ability exclusive to them while exalting man as the center of creation, a factually incorrect notion. On the other hand, lies the aspect of grotesquely exaggerating feminine body parts, becoming a mockery of femininity and the sanctity of childbirth by presenting them as ugly and repulsive. In both cases, there’s a clear patriarchal belittling of the female anatomy and its functions. The fact that this object is presented in the middle of a church, a historically patriarchal space, again reiterates the film’s most acute concern – this idea of the world being entirely defined and presented through the eyes of men. https://www.highonfilms.com/men-2022-movie-ending-explained/amp/

8 comments

I have seen Men... I think I was with it all the way for the first 2/3s. I absolutely thought it was wonderful. It perfectly recreated the experiences and fears of going anywhere alone as a woman. At first I thought it was going to be about the Air BnB owner stalking her. The particular gut-punch for me is when the female cop downplays the severity of the naked man in the garden, and even tries to get Harper to feel sorry for him. There was a theme in the film that men use their mental illness as a cover for abuse (which I don't think is talked about enough) and that police and wider society use this to tell victims that their fear of the abuser is unkind.

I absolutely loved the bit where her friend's face freezes on the phone screen in a scream. It was such a wonderful way of bringing classic horror techniques to the modern day. That was the moment at which I thought "This is going to be a great film."

The moment at which I thought "This is not going to be such a great film," was when the young boy turned up. Initially I loved that he was covered by a Marilyn Monroe mask, just for the visual pop of colour and the shock value. But when he took the mask off, I just hated the de-ageing technology used on Kinnear. It was just too crap to be worth it, it cheapened the whole film to me. I don't know how the hundreds of people the film had to get past to reach the big screen can all have seen that and thought "Yep, that's good to go."

I thought Kinnear's abilities with the different characters were great. I loved Geoffrey, but I thought he stood out as more of a sit-com character in what was initially presented as a psychological drama. Great character, great performance, but maybe a bit too comedic for the film. I did love the bit where he's in the garden and the lights go out, but for me that was the last good bit in the film. Afterwards came the 'births', and I take the point about how patriarchy perpetuates patriarchy since ancient times, but I thought the spectacle wasn't frightening or interesting enough to make its point so drawn out.

When the preist says "You cry out to me not as Ulysses, but as Salem", what the fuck is he talking about? Why would Ulysses be crying out to this man at all, and what would that similie mean? I get that with Salem he's saying she's bewitching him, but wtf is Ulysses doing there? I thought it might be a joke about a certain type of pseudo-intellectual Nice Guy and the nonsense they say, but maybe there's something else I'm not seeing.

The bit where Harper's husband finally sits on the couch with her, and she says "What do you want from me?" and he says "Your love" - that confused me when I saw it. He doesn't particularly want her love, he wants to control her and have her undivided attention. Maybe the point is that while being abusive, he believes himself to have good intentions? It didn't quite work for me.

Does anyone have any theories on what it meant at the end when her friend turns out to be pregnant? That's significant in some way, right?

In the end, I think this seemed like two films stitched together: an intelligent, atmospheric gothic horror with a modern setting, and a supernatural slasher horror. I loved the first and didn't much care for the second. I think they could have been intertwined into one film better, but they weren't.

That's a really good point! I love thoughtful discussion of this movie rather than most of the responses, which were "Men bad" as if that was all the movie said.

Yes same! There is clearly so much going on in this film to think about.

I see a good few people on Reddit are calling it hollow which I think is unfair, I’m pretty they’re men though so maybe they’re just not able to appreciate it or don’t like the themes and portrayal of male characters.

[–] Cailin [OP] 3 points Edited

All of Harper’s interactions serve as an extension of the theme that women are inherently to blame for the sins of men

The way that James and his male aliases use terror and guilt to trap Harper in the relationship can be seen as a paragon for abusive men. In giving each man the same face, and using biblical imagery, the film subverts the idea of “original sin.” Instead of all women innately bearing the sins of Eve, perhaps all men innately bear the violent impulses and misogynistic ideas instilled in them by the patriarchy. This reading of the film (gleaned from the trailer or the title alone) has already incited angry responses across the internet from the “Not All Men” variety.

These are also interesting points about the film from this article.

https://www.thewrap.com/men-movie-ending-explained-meaning/amp/

Thanks for the links. I've avoided this movie because the trailer had creepy man vibes - guess that is why.

It has seriously creepy man vibes and some extremely weird scenes that honestly, I found very hard to watch. I had to look away several times.

However I am enjoying reading the themes and breakdown of the different ideas in it. If you don’t think you’d like the movie, I’d recommend reading about it anyway for the interesting themes!

Gosh, hadn't thought about the Green Man that way, but I guess that is right . . .

Neither had I…It is interesting too how the naked man cuts his skin with his nails to get the leaves and branches into his skin to become the Green Man. So the idea of his fertility and ability to create is even more of a pretence and falsehood.