This is Philip Wyeth. I just watched a French movie on Netflix called I am Not an Easy Man. The plot involves a male chauvinist with many sexual conquests who, after getting knocked out, wakes up in an alternate Paris where women have all the dominant roles. Men in turn are the prey, and receive less respect while they deal with aggressive bosses, or bake cupcakes while their wives and daughters watch sports on TV.
Overall I think it’s very well done, and fair. It follows the rom-com trajectory, which helps move things forward, so it’s not just plain role reversal for its own sake. The cast inhabits their roles effectively as well—neither overplaying it or struggling to sell the inversion.
The movie also doesn’t throw too many punches, so it’s not lopsided for or against either sex. There are even some moments which made me aware of and sympathize with the maintenance and wardrobe hassles women endure, in order to get all those free drinks and compliments that men might resent.
“I am Not an Easy Man” is playful about stereotypes and traditional gender roles as well, being nonjudgmental and more matter-of-fact about the dances men and women do in real life.
There were some very clever flavors, like which hands win in a poker game, as well as the parallel version of what’s considered sexy body grooming.
I can’t overemphasize that even a light, silly movie like this would be botched in America—which leads me to the creeping suspicion that so much of what we’re told about how great life here is, might be—if not a lie—instead a sales pitch to keep us asleep, complacent, and not realize that we’re being shortchanged in life.
European movies in general give me the sense that we’re repressed, fragmented, not fully developed in our worldview. This film, being French, has a zesty flourish that an American production would not.
Whereas Hollywood is about the spectacle, or the political agenda—here we have many more subtleties, which in turn shows more respect for people. We as the audience are human beings meant to reflect on what we’ve watched—not simply be indoctrinated.
The rom-com foil of disaster striking right when you think they’re about to get together was really fun—seeing the woman get her apartment trashed by an upset lover was refreshing after seeing hundreds of Billy Madison types screwing up over the years.
They also resolved the question of how to restore the real world with a very clever twist. Final verdict, I’d give it 3.5 to 4 out of 5. The movie was thoughtful, but not too heavy-handed or weighed down by moralizing. A nice balance of fluff and observation as two people with many conquests go toe to toe—all with the artistic ambiguity you’d expect from the French.
Now, without spoiling the ending for you, I’ll just say that the scenery itself is in stark contrast to before, where everything was clean and brightly lit, like all bubbly rom-coms. The location here at the end is more like what a city street really looks like: a bit bleak, confusing, and agitated.
I feel like we’re being asked: what will we choose to do to find peace, balance, and understanding, in this militant battle of the sexes? Is there any warmth to be found in the spaces between all the talking points we hurl back and forth at each other?
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Video was originally uploaded on May 17, 2018.