Skip to main content

"Men" (2022): Movie Review

Elijah is an Amazon best-selling author, blogger, previous columnist for an award-winning blog, past creative editor, socialite and traveler

Image does not belong to me

Image does not belong to me

Plot Overview (Spoilers!)

Men is a symbolic, psychological, suspense-thriller-horror film that leaves viewers uncomfortable, perplexed, and full of intense dread.

After witnessing the suicide of her husband James, Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley) is traumatized and wanting a break from life. She rents an English country home for two weeks (remind me never to rent a home on Airbnb ever again), where she meets the quirky, yet sweet caretaker and owner, Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear). He questions her last name which calls into question her marriage and backstory.

Her late husband was the textbook definition of a manipulative, emotional abuser. He threatened to kill himself as a way to trap her in the marriage. At one point he became so enraged by a text conversation Harper was having about him, he smacked her in the face, leaving her with a bloody nose. She forced him out of their apartment, so he went to the top floor of their building and jumped to his death. Director Alex Garland goes slow motion to show James making eye contact with Harper as he falls to his death.

The first thing I found to be super unnerving was the fact that most of the male characters have the exact same face. They're played by the same actor or have been digitally modified to have the exact same face which I find to be beyond unsettling.

Throughout the film, Harper has horrifying flashbacks of her husband often paired by the ghastly motifs of an altar in church.

The first thing I found to be super unnerving was the fact that most of the male characters have the exact same face. They're played by the same actor or have been digitally modified to have the exact same face which I find to be beyond unsettling.

Throughout the film, Harper has horrifying flashbacks of her husband often paired by the ghastly motifs of an altar in church.

The most eerie scene for me was when she took a walk and arrived at a tunnel (see video clip above). She does a hum to hear the echo, but it returns to her distorted and with added notes. They also echo for far too long. Then, in the shadows at the end of the tunnel, a man emerges and runs towards her. She runs away and climbs out of the valley to an area with abandoned sheds.

This upcoming occurrence made me gasp SO loud that I'm glad there was no one else in the theater (it was a Tuesday afternoon). A man was standing in the distance, completely naked, staring at Harper. She didn't notice him initially until she took a photo of the sheds. He later follows her back and stalks her in the background as she face-times her friend and doesn't realize his presence. This part of the film made me feel unbelievably violated .

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Reelrundown

A priest breaks in and tries to force himself upon Harper while spouting a passage from a myth, there's a car chase, apples falling out of trees, the investigator standing in the yard screaming, and a man-child trying to play hide and seek. To make matters even more shocking, there was a grotesque male birthing scene that happened on repeat in a manner so vile and shocking I could've died right then and there on the theater floor.

This leads me to a question: What is the meaning of this film?

"Men" can be interpreted a number of different ways, but it's clearly drawing upon Adam and Eve/Garden of Eden iconography.

"Men" can be interpreted a number of different ways, but it's clearly drawing upon Adam and Eve/Garden of Eden iconography.

The Meaning of Men

There are many possible meanings of this film. Perhaps the film highlights the struggles of women in a male dominated world. Having men force themselves on them, police not believing them, stalking incidents, gaslighting, spousal abuse, etc.

Perhaps this film is a portrayal of grief and loss. Harper feels tormented, she feels guilty for her husband's suicide and others make her feel guilty as well. She tries to forget him but has PTSD-like flashbacks. She tries to take a vacation and do the things she loves to get her mind off of everything, but somehow that doesn't seem to be enough and her problems follow her.

Maybe it is a religious analogy. Perhaps the disgusting male birthing scene had a meaning; toxic males and predators are a never ending cycle and the patriarchy has handed down these traits similar to a rebirth. The apple on the tree was eaten by Harper which could symbolize original sin and Adam and Eve, yet it was man who was giving birth. Maybe this means something? That original sin has seeped into not only Eve, but Adam as well?

Then there is the theory that this is all a dream (more like nightmare) and none of it actually took place; the film is just one big analogy meshed into one-hundred minutes of pure bizarre terror.

Then there is also the theory that our protagonist has actually become psychotic as a result of the traumatizing spousal abuse and suicide, and everything that "takes place" is just delusions from someone who's disconnected from reality.

Regardless, there are so many things that aren't explained and so many questions unanswered. I think ambiguity is the director's aim, and maybe everything is open to interpretation.

My Review

This was one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. It was truly a demented circus comprised of religious references, vile displays of gore, a truly dreadful atmosphere, and dark truths. What has been seen can never be unseen.

Also, bravo!

My Rating

© 2022 Elijah DeVivo

Related Articles