Michael (2011): More than meets the eye

Title: Michael (2011)

Director: Markus Schleinzer

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78% (Critics)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85% (Audience)

 “Like its protagonist, Michael is deliberate and very discreet. It shocks by suggestion, not by display.” -Mark Jenkins (NPR)

“This coldly compelling film doesn’t try to explain Michael’s behavior or analyze his disease. As if doing penance for Michael’s sins, it eventually metes out unequivocal punishment, but it is small consolation.” -Stephen Holden (New York Times)

“Illustrating the banality of evil in an impressively controlled and sometimes darkly humorous fashion, Michael takes a coolly nonjudgmental, non-psychological approach to a disturbing topic.” -Alissa Simon (Variety)

I didn’t do this movie justice when I wrote about it in an earlier blog entry. But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t give it the recognition that it fully deserves.

America has come pretty far in exploring the “taboo” through the world of cinematics but it has not come far enough quite yet. It’s truly great that the ideas on sexuality, religion and even politics have seen a vast expansion throughout the years in regards to interpretations through film but most Americans still hold negative stigmas over certain topics such as murders committed by teenagers/children as well as certain sexual behaviors. What is it that I am trying to say? It’s mainly this: Americans are very “protective” of children, not necessarily in a literal sense but more so in the way children are to be seen as well as the failure to acknowledge that children are a major part of the everyday life we live in as a society. Because of this I know it must be hard for people to take what I am saying seriously. Why is this girl promoting a movie that is about pedophilia? Because it’s about more than that. Michael can even be seen as an in depth character analysis of the human mind, more specifically that of a pedophile. This movie was not created to rationalize pedophilia or to fight for it’s acceptance. The purpose is quite the opposite. This mo,vie induces not necessarily a shock but a restarting and reusing of the critical part of the mind. Michael requires a conscious audience. Leave all preconceived notions and judgments at the door. Much more than pedophilia, this movie is about life. The ups, the downs as well as the highs and lows. It is a study on the search for one’s true self. The possibilities of what could be and where one’s potential lies. What can one gain by living in falsities? What can one gain by facing life’s struggles as they appear? With self recognition comes strength. Strength to overcome any obstacle that may appear. A win for the underdog.

This movie also paints the picture of what one of my professors likes to call the “little man”. Who is the “little man”? Society ignores the “little man”. He is nothing. Someone of little to no value. And with this it brings about the question, “Is society to blame for the failings and shortcomings of the ‘little man’?” Should we as a society be more attentive to those around us rather than constantly worrying about ourselves? Do we need to pay more attention to our children and be responsible for them? For those who had written off Michael as nothing more than a “creep fest” or an unnecessary controversial film, they are lacking an open mind in which to receive Michael. For without an open mind it is almost impossible to appreciate true art.

So if any of you have a chance to watch it, please do because it is one that should not be stuffed in the closet and forgotten.

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