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The Idea of Manhood

average rating is 4 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Feb 14, 2023

Film Reviews
The Idea of Manhood
Directed by:
Serge Kushnier
Written by:
Serge Kushnier
Jeremy Kushnier, Karl Bury

Two friends reconnect when one of them turns up unexpectedly and they spend the day together challenging each other’s life viewpoints and value systems.

Jacob (Jeremy Kushnier) is spending a week at home alone whilst his wife and kids are away. One morning Jacob’s solitude is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of Sandy (Karl Bury), his outspoken buddy whose lifestyle and attitudes are often at loggerheads with his own. As the pair enjoy a stroll around D.C and hanging out at Jacob’s house, they enjoy regularly pitting their opinions against eachother.

These kind of ruminations on adulthood can often be twee or even preachy but writer and director Serge Kushnier manages to balance his script and allow the varying ethoses being presented to coexist brilliantly. Jacob’s nuclear setup makes him feel like the cinematic everyman and Sandy’s freelance waywardness see him as more of the catalyst of the piece but there is certainly not a landslide when it comes to agreeing with what either of them are saying. Each presents a formidable argument for why you might want a secure family home, or for spending your life on the road, and there is a delectable enjoyment seeing both these strands on screen.

It would have been easy to lay all the cynicism on one character and all the optimism on the other but with Jacob and Sandy, they each present numerous angles where they possess both. They are complicated and at times their arguments are undermined by themselves, but this plays out as a very relatable and believable dramatic engagement between two well-drawn characters.

The Idea of Manhood is a film made from simple ingredients. The cast is small, the locations are used wisely, and yet the film has that roaming freshness of a Woody Allen pic that makes it feel premium rather than an indie flick on a limited budget. The introduction of a set of younger characters midway through the film does threaten to derail the growing chemistry of our onscreen pals, but it actually ends up enhancing the dialogue, allowing an even deeper exploration of ideas and principals, in particular how these change through generations. There is a particularly funny bit where Sandy pretends to tell the story of Home Alone to these younger people as if he knew Kevin McCallister personally. This does get overshadowed slightly but an indulgent lecture he gives on selfies.

The film works best when Jacob and Sandy are getting into it with each other and when the inevitable showdown regarding the former’s marriage becomes a heated discussion point, The Idea of Manhood operates on a higher level. It feels original and unique to see two grown men have a discussion of this length and breadth, which says a lot about the representation of male characters and also about the need for more films like Kushnier’s.

Watch the Official Trailer here.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Indie Feature Film
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