Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
After watching Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, it’s become painfully clear that John Krasinski is wasting his time on the The Office. Don’t get me wrong. I love The Office. I want Dwight and Angela to be together just as much as the next guy. But while watching Krasinski’s directorial debut, I became much more excited about him as a director, then him as Jim. This film is sure to be one of the hits at Sundance, and is already an early favorite for the Grand Jury Prize.
Krasinski himself adapted David Foster Wallace’s unflinchingly truthful book about relationships between children, parents, men, women, lovers, teachers, students. Sara (Julianne Nicholson) is a scholarly type working at a university under the tutelage of a wise professor (played by Timothy Hutton who has been in three of five movies I’ve seen at Sundance so far). She’s messed up over a recent break-up with her boyfriend (Jim Krasinski) due to his infidelity. She decides to start studying the effects of feminism on men by conducting interviews to find out their deepest fears, desires, sexual rituals, etc. etc. What she uncovers is completely disturbing, but not really that unusual, besides the guy who can’t climax without yelling, ‘Victory for the democratic forces of freedom!’
With the help of one of his producers, Krasinski took the linear structure of the novel, ripped it apart, and threw it back together, in a completely non-linear way. This was risky, for sure. But paid off one hundred fold. The acting was terrific on all counts, especially Krasinski who finally proved he shouldn’t be typecast and now avoid things like License to Wed. ‘Hideous Men’ were played by Michael Cerveris, Josh Charles, Chris Messina, Christopher Meloni, and several other hilarious, and talented actors. You would never guess this was Krasinski’s first film. Ever. Sure, it’s not perfect. No film should be. It’s a little dialogue-heavy (I can’t say, since I haven’t read the novel, but apparently the adaptation stays very true to the novel). Sometimes it plays out more like a stage play, and this will deter some. But it shouldn’t. All the right notes are played, all your emotions will be toyed with, and not in the superficial way that makes you feel dirty on the drive home. The emotional climax will keep you glued to the edge of your seat, thirsty for more, not wanting this gem of a film to end. Krasinski really is one of the new voices in story telling that you should get excited about it. Thank you Sundance for bringing him to our attention.