Written and Directed
by Bart Freundlich
Running Time: 1:43
for language and sexual content.
Trust the Man was a funny and entertaining adult romantic comedy that dealt with serious issues but never got bogged down.
Stay at home dad Tom (David Duchovny) and his wife Rebecca (Julianne Moore) are a seemingly happy couple. They go to therapy once a year just because they feel like they should. But underneath the surface, there are problems boiling. Tom has sexual issues that he can't seem to control and it will eventually lead him to have an affair with a single mom from his son's school. Rebecca's brother Tobey (Billy Crudup) has been dating his girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for eight years, with no marriage in sight. Tobey is the ultimate slacker, perfectly happy with how his life is, while Elaine wants more. Both couples will need to fight through their issues in order to survive.
Usually when I go to see small movies like Trust the Man, they end up being so serious that it's hard to enjoy them. What I liked most about this film is that while there were serious issues, the entire movie was kept lighthearted and funny. There's a scene late in the film where Tom has started going to group sex therapy and everyone in the room has discussed what their problem is. Everyone else has very strange predilections while Tom's real problem is just that he isn't getting enough. So Tom goes into this wild story about luncheon meat that was extremely funny.
At its heart, the entire movie is a very solemn story about two couples with potentially devastating problems. Tom wants sex so much he cheats on his wife, while she seems to be on the border of cheating herself. They also have children to worry about, along with Rebecca's career as an actress. You would think that by reading what their story is about, the film would have a somber tone but it doesn't. You'd think you'd be upset at Tom for cheating on his amazing wife, but somehow the writer/director Bart Freundlich manages to toe the line so well that you feel sorry for Tom. And you still want them to get back together, no matter what they've gone through. With Tobey and Elaine, we've all seen relationships that seem to go on forever without marriage and kids at the end of the line. It is somewhat typical that the guy is the one who is happy with the way things are, while the girl is the one who wants more of a commitment, but it still works. Their story isn't original, but it's the actors that really keep this movie going.
David Duchovny has always had that detached charm about him. He never gets too high or too low, and his voice always sounds like he could be joking or he could be serious. For some movies it can get annoying, but for Trust the Man it worked out perfectly. His character almost doesn't want to get into the affair and continually seems to be amused by the whole situation. It's as if the entire situation isn't really happening to him, until his wife finds out and confronts him. And then he suddenly realizes what's going on. Julianne Moore is one of those actresses that always manages to take whatever role she's in and make it special. She is very happy on the outside, but as the movie moves along, you can see her pain start to show through. But throughout it all, she remains strong and keeps her head above the fray.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of those up and coming actresses I haven't made up my mind about. She had a very different look about her and her acting abilities are strong but only in the right roles. Her character in this film was accepting of Tobey's lifestyle until one day she decided she had just had enough. Out of all four characters in the movie, hers is the one I probably least liked. And lastly there was Billy Crudup, whose character was always just living for the moment. Not actually going out and doing anything, but just being happy watching Sports Center and eating cereal. He didn't see anything wrong with his life and therefore, didn't see any reason to change. He had a strange fixation on his therapist, but it also helped him realize what he really wanted was Elaine. Well that and her dating other guys.
The script was very solid and I liked the fact that it all took place in New York, and the city became another character in the film. There was no time where I felt bored or where I thought the movie was moving too slow. It was fairly consistent and funny throughout, and yet still managed to showcase some serious issues. The ending may not be the most realistic thing I've ever seen, but somehow it all still worked.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed Trust the Man. It's a serious yet funny look at troubled relationships with a good story and a winning cast.
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