I was compelled to respond to all the 1 star reviews. As someone who actually really dislikes fart jokes, finding them to be lazy writing that only attempts to appeal to the lowest common denominator, I can sympathize with anyone who would be skeptical of this movie at first. But I love this movie. These are not merely fart jokes, but a much deeper and richer metaphor. There's another review on here that goes into some length to describe how Dano's character Hank is an unreliable narrator, a troubled and delusional, suicidal man in the midst of a mental breakdown. While I find that review to be an accurate reading it doesn't fully explore the film's use of metaphor which function on many levels. The first level is the film's plot itself which can be read as everything we are being shown is really happening, or that we are seeing things from Hank's perspective and he is hallucinating and delusional. But to go deeper than that, this is a movie about shame and repression so strong that it makes you unable to express your own inner feelings. It directly comments on this in numerous ways, through the long discussion of Hanks's shameful feelings about masturbation, how he constantly tells Manny not to do things because people will think he is being weird. Manny is doing what comes naturally and just being honest and talking without filters. Everything is new to him and he approaches the world like a child, wondering and asking questions about everything. Manny is innocent and has not learned shame yet. Society shames all of us, and teaches us that there are right and wrong ways of behaving. There are proper ways of behaving in public, and as children, when we act naturally, we are usually shamed, maybe even punished for breaking the rules of polite society. These rules rely on numerous pre-concieved notions but are in actuality completely arbitrary. The idea that a fart or a boner are gross are value judgement that rely on the idea that there can be something wrong with our natural body functions. Thus are we taught to be ashamed of our own bodies, taught to conceal nudity and hold in our farts. I could go further into how religion and polite society frame innocent body functions as perversions, but Hank's insecurity extends into shaming of other behavior, his repression is so extensive that he is uncomfortable in expressing basic emotions. This is explored through the recreation of meeting the girl on the bus, and how someone without preconceived notions of right and wrong behavior and societal repression would approach the situation entirely differently. Dano is so afraid of how other's might perceive him that he never approaches this girl he feels a connection to, Hank is his un-repressed inner asking him why anyone would ever stop themselves from doing what would make them happy. So this movie is questioning society's arbitrary rules, public shaming that causes social anxiety and shyness and forces people to conform to socially acceptable behavior. It uses body functions as a metaphor for that. Farting in the film is a metaphor for holding feelings inside or hiding your true self. In the final scene of the film Hank lets out a fart in front of other people in a last desperate attempt to revive Manny, Manny who represents his inner child. Throughout the film he brings Danny to life by letting go of and coming to terms with his inner repression, learning to re-approach life with playfulness, curiosity, and creativity, as a child would. So in that final scene he is "letting go" of his repression. There is one more level that all of this operates on, and it's here that I have to say that I have pity for people who could not see any deeper meaning in this film. Because it confronts the ways in which we take ourselves too seriously, when in reality part of the human condition is living in these strange and amazing and earthy vessels we call bodies. And bodies are amazing things that operate on a level of complexity that science still struggles to understand, outright magical in fact. But we ignore that magic and instead frame our viewing of our bodies with shame and repression. The film playfully confronts us with bodily functions in order to make us confront our own relationships with our bodies. As someone who normally despises bathroom humor I was amazed to find myself laughing out loud and feeling outright joy at moments of reveling in bodily humor that were outright triumphant. This is in part a movie that tries to teach us to enjoy life by taking it less seriously, by showing us a man who is learning to do the same. And so if you despise this movie, I think if you spent your time doing nothing but trying to learn to find enjoyment in this film, and trying to understand why other people do, you would find yourself letting go of repression and finding empathy beyond what you knew you were capable of. I think it would be entirely worth it.
Swiss Army Man
Comedy / Drama / Fantasy / Romance
Swiss Army Man
Comedy / Drama / Fantasy / Romance
A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.
December 22, 2019