“Men, Women & Children”: Jason Reitman and Adam Sandler return to the Oscar race

Earlier today, a teaser trailer dropped for Jason Reitman’s new film, the dark dramedy Men, Women & Children. Based on the book of the same name by Chad Kultgen (which I love), it’s a look at how technology and the internet/social media has changed how we interact with each other, especially when it comes to intimate relations. A chronicle of how this affects both adults and teenagers, it’s some potentially serious stuff. The novel is a pitch black comedy and Reitman has experience in that realm, so if he’s faithfully adapted this work, I think he’s going to be back in the awards race. It might be a little much for Oscar voters to give any wins to, but I think we have another player this season. At the end of this post you can see the trailer in order to understand what I’m talking about, and I highly recommend that you check it out.

If you’re not aware, this movie has a top notch cast. In alphabetical order, you have a mix of stars and up and coming talents that include Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dennis Haysbert, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, J.K. Simmons, and Emma Thompson. The official synopsis is this: “MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers”. So, yes…not necessarily traditional Oscar bait, but with Reitman’s deft touch, I’m sure this will appeal to some Academy voters out there at the very least, and perhaps many more.

For a while now I’ve been more bullish on this film than most, mainly due to my fondness for Kultgen’s book as well as Reitman’s work to date. It strikes me as a likely contender in a number of categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing. The category placements will be interesting to watch here, though I think the likeliest leads in Actor are Elgort and Sandler, while in Actress it would be DeWitt, going by the book at least. That would leave players like Norris in Supporting Actor as well as Dever, Garner, or Greer in Supporting Actress. There’d clearly be a narrative going about getting Sandler his first nomination, so I could see him also switching to Supporting if it helps his cause.

The trailer obviously is more of a teaser than anything else, but it does hint at a very frank tone about the subject matter as well as a mostly faithful adaptation of the source material by Reitman and co-scribe Erin Cressida Wilson. Especially if this potential becomes a timely tale or an “issue” contender, I could see Men, Women & Children capturing the zeitgeist, which always helps in Best Picture. It’s a wild card or an X factor if you will right now, but you shouldn’t sleep on this one’s candidacy folks. Not one bit.

I’ll be talking about this flick a lot more in the next month or two, so this is just a bit of a preview of what’s to come. Men, Women & Children has announced itself as one to watch with an intriguing first look, so I’m sure there will be plenty more to talk about once it begins screening. Until then, it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game…

Stay tuned for more on this one between now and its release in October!

Here’s the Trailer as well:

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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