The Power of the Dog Movie Review

Toxic masculinity represents a time in human history in which men were expected to be men. There was little room for feelings or expressing themselves in an open or healthy manner.

The 2021 Netflix film, The Power of the Dog, is based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage. In Montana in 1925, brothers Phil and George Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons) have taken over the running of the family ranch. Phil is a man’s man in every sense of the word, George is considerate and emotionally open.

On the road to the market, they eat at a restaurant owned by Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Rose is a widow who has been forced to change her life to support herself and Peter after the abrupt passing of her late husband. Phil’s callous and cruel jokes drive both mother and son to tears. George tries to make up for his brother’s actions, which turns into a marriage proposal. When Rose and Peter enter Phil’s orbit as his sister-in-law and nephew, this new reality turns his world upside down. Taking the boy under his wing, Phil swings between mocking Peter and teaching him how to run a ranch.

The question is, has Phil started to change, or is this a ploy to continue his brutish ways?

This is supposed to be one of the best movies of 2021. Whatever it is that made this film special, I don’t see it.

It has nothing to do with the performers or the story itself. Director and co-screenwriter Jane Campion does what she does best. Cumberbatch once again proves that he is one of the most versatile actors in the business. Plemmons and Dunst are well cast for their roles and the perfect ying to Cumerbatch’s yang. Smit-McPhee is a young actor who solely based on his one role, has a bright future. The problem is that I was on the verge of being bored and wondering why I should care about these characters.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Put the Blame Where it is Due and Not on Israel

When one gets to a certain age, the blame game become immature and a waste of time. It takes an adult to see that. Unfortunately, not all of us who are grown act like adults.

In the latest twist in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) blamed Israel for the honor killing of Israa Gharib. Her crime is that she was fraternizing with a man outside the bonds of marriage. In her world, this was a crime for which the only punishment is death. The men accused of killing her are her father and brothers.

I agree with Rep. Tlaib that toxic masculinity was responsible for Ms. Gharib’s death. She was not seen by the men closest to her as a flesh and blood creature with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, dreams and flaws. She was seen as an object to be used and sold in the name of marriage.

However, the blame for her death lands solely in the lap of her father and brothers. It has nothing to do with Israel.

The sooner Rep. Tlaib and the rest of the Israel haters recognize that, the sooner we will get to a legit and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

Thoughts On The Gillette Commercial

True cultural change can only happen when everyone steps forward to make the change.

Some may argue that feminism is solely a women’s issue and not within the purview of men. But the reality is that without our male allies, the goals of the movement will never be reached.

The new Gillette commercial is doing more than just selling shaving cream. It is encouraging the men and boys around us to do better. To treat women with respect and not be so quick to bully other boys because they do not confirm to the standards of masculinity.

Change, especially major cultural and societal is never easy. It requires taking a hard and difficult look at where we have been and where we need to go. While we are not yet at at a truly equal society, this commercial is an important step in the right direction.

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