Keeping Up (Film Thoughts: Brad’s Status)

brads_fandango_poster_v3I was not interested in seeing ‘Brad Status’ initially, because based on its trailer, it seemed like the kind of movie with a message you have seen over and over again, and you initially wonder if you will see something new here. A middle aged man, Brad, played by Ben Stiller, takes stock of his life at age 48 as he compares himself to four of his contemporaries, who, in his mind, have accomplished more – financially at least. This coincides as he and his son visit schools in Boston. His son Troy (Austin Abrams) can potentially get in Harvard, although they are also looking at Tufts, which is Brad’s alma mater.

So, you can more or less see where this movie is going – white male privilege, etc. Brad’s actions make you cringe, and you are a little bit angry at him. i wanted to smack him and say grow up. Thank God, director Mike White frames the film smarter than that – it knows how the audience feels, and even has a character, one of Troy’s friends verbalize it to him: “At age 50, you think the world still revolves around you.’

movie_imageWJ0799QR sThat’s right, of course, and who among us honestly has not looked at our life the same way as Brad’s? I can relate, being around the same age as the character. We can be insecure, we can be judgmental, we can have all those things that can amount to a middle age nervous breakdown. I guess one’s appreciation of this film may vary on how you can relate to the Brad character, and it can sometimes be a painful look at the mirror. If for anything, the film can make you think – in a bad way – and just like the Brad character, unfairly take stock of your life, maybe beat yourself a little bit just like he. At the end of the film, there seems to be no resolution, and one might think and ask, ‘what was the whole point?’  But then the point is – you asked the question.

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