Men’s Group is a cleverly crafted film by Australian’s Michael Joy, Director, and John L Simpson, producer. It is the result of a collaboration that started between Joy & Simpson when they tragically lost dear friends. They reaslised that many men in their relationships as partners, sons and fathers faced many dilemmas and situations that usually went unvoiced.
The perspective they have come up with is a group of seven men from different walks of life who are all facing their own dilemmas and situations in a solitary fashion.
The scenario begins when these men meet for the first time in the suburban Sydney home of paul who facilitates the meetings. It would appear that the majority of them are there are under duress and can’t see the point of the seemingly unstructured meetings.
The environment that the men meet in tells its own story, along with the snippets of their own lives that is intertwined between the meetings. This creates a relationship and empathy for the audience with each of the characters.
The manner in which the film has been scripted and filmed gives the audience a feeling of actually being part of the meeting’s environment and the emotions that each of the men is going through.
Joy worked with each of the actors over a period of 2 months in a workshop environment developing their characters. From these sessions a crafted script was created. These scripts were not available to the actors as Joy & Simpson wanted to ensure that the first responses of the actors to their characters was a true response to their lives as it unfolded before the cameras. Before each session was filmed it was revealed privately to each actor what could be revealed of their character in that session.
Most scenes had 3 cameras filming and everything in the film is the FIRST and ONLY take.
At the end of this film I felt that I had been on a journey with these men and it stuck in my thoughts for days.
It highlighted the need to recognise that at all times in our lives we need to be able to share our situations, dilemmas and crises. No matter what you are going through, no matter how big or small they seem – be prepared to expose it, not necessarily to your closest and trusted acquaintances, but maybe to others. Don’t dismiss the words of others just because they don’t walk the same path in life as you, show respect and you will more than likely have something to gain.
Reviewd by: Linda Mcglyn
Released on: August 13th, 2009
Stars: Grant Dodwell, Paul Gleeson, Steve Le Marquand
Length (Minutes): 104
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
Director: Michael Joy