Trust the Man (2006)

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Review #243 of 365
Film: Trust the Man (2006) [R] 103 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.50
Where Viewed: Landmark Esquire Theatre, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 11 September 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Directed by: Bart Freundlich
Written by: Bart Freundlich
Featured Cast (Where I Remember Him/Her From):
David Duchovny ("The X-Files") • Julianne Moore (Freedomland) • Billy Crudup (Mission: Impossible III) • Maggie Gyllenhaal (World Trade Center and Monster House) • Garry Shandling (Over the Hedge) • Ellen Barkin (The Big Easy)

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Am I alone in thinking the title of Trust the Man is a little dubious? What's it supposed to be about? The expression, as I've generally heard it, would lead me to believe that this movie is suddenly going to make me start trusting my boss? Well, that's not going to happen (I'm my own boss), and secondly, this couldn't have less to do with the movie. I've written about this before, so I'll keep my comments about titles brief. You cannot judge a book by the cover, however, you are completely entitled to judge a film by the title. And this title is terrible. I'll offer some better titles at the end.

"…very, very good movie. The characters and the story are A++"
The film, written and directed by Bart Freundlich—who could be the guy that Kevin Smith might wish he had grown up to become (they were both born in 1970) because this film is more along the lines of how Clerks II should have gone—really focuses on the lives of two couples: Tom (David Duchovny) & Rebecca (Julianne Moore) [married for years] and Tobey (Billy Crudup) & Elanie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) [dating for seven years]. They are oddly connected because Tom and Tobey are long time best friends. Rebecca is Tobey's sister. Rebecca and Elaine have become best girlfriends. Rebecca is a modestly famous actress. Tom was in advertising and dropped out to become a househusband and raise the kids (they have two). Tobey is a freelance writer. Elaine is a book editor and children's story author. They all live in Manhattan. Here's how their days go:
Tobey sleeps in, gets up, scratches his head, meets Tom for a blintz at a café, they chat about banal guy stuff and Tobey's manic fear of death and a life he's convinced people everywhere are out to make even more miserable for him, then he powers up his lap top in his car and hammers out articles on fishing and hunting or whatever mundane topic he's been assigned. Rebecca prepares to leave the house with Tom in charge of getting their son off to school and the baby changed, reminds him to get milk, pops over to get her hair done, arrives at the theatre to read lines for the director of the play she's given up doing a movie to do a live stage show on Broadway, she comes home and cooks dinner, and then has to fight off Tom who desperately wants and needs to kiss, cuddle, fondle, and then make love to his wife. Elaine wakes up, tries to talk to Tobey about how they've been dating for seven years and she's starting to want to get married and have a baby, she looks at him giving her a dumb look and listens to him babble on about how he's worried about dying, grabs the covers and runs to the bathroom, changes, and hurries off to her book editing job, meets Elaine for lunch, asks her for advice about what to do about her brother and his inability to commit, listens to her talk about how she just doesn't know how to fulfill Tom's needs anymore—he wants sex twice a day or more, and joins up with Tom, Elaine, and Rebecca at a bistro for dinner where they all try hard to help save each other's relationships. Tom wakes up, gets the kids ready, realizes that he gave up his successful job in advertising to become a househusband, loves his kids, wonders though what's becoming of him as a person, takes his son to school, tries to clandestinely purchase a soft porn magazine from a newsstand with his baby in the backpack carrier, shocks the rest of the people in line, goes to school, meets one of his son's classmate's mother, discovers she's a divorcée, flirts with her, sees a sign on the subway train ride home for a sex-addicts support group, goes to a meeting, lies and says his name is Tobey, makes up a story about how he needs to be wrapped in lunch meat by his partner to reach the height of arousal, feels better about himself—sort of, and rushes home to have dinner with his wife and kids.

Now, I fully intended that to be written that way to give you a flavor for the complex interactions of the characters in this plot. Also, you get a bit of insight into the kinds of characters Bart Freundlich has created. These are four people with incredible depth. We get to know a lot about them. By selecting such a perfect cast he and they have endowed the characters with layers human frailty and fears. The most monumental one of which seems to be the fear of falling out of love. Once you've got it, aren't you supposed to be able to just sail away into the sunset, coast down the hill, see fireworks everyday? Well, Rebecca has fears she's growing older and won't be as desirable. Tom worries that the magic is gone. Tobey worries he's going to die every moment and inadvertently abandon Elaine. Elaine worries she'll be too old to have kids by the time Tobey finally realizes it's ok to be afraid, but not if it means you don't participate in your life.

Yes, this is a very, very good movie. The characters and the story are A++. I laughed so loudly and often it hurt. I was moved to tears by the climax of the story which happens on opening night of Rebecca's play. This has to be one of the greatest make-up scenes in a movie in more than 20 years. So there is great, brilliant comedy sometimes too subtle for people who've not gone through this part of their lives yet to related to, and excellent dramatic tension. There's real emotion. These are people you grow to care about; and, if you're a sap like me, you want to see their relationships last forever. You want to see Tobey and Elaine tie the knot. You want to see Rebecca and Tom unleash their inhibitions and consummate their marriage daily. Of course, you know there will be measures of pain, and that's ok, as long as they come out whole on the other side.

So, what would have been a better title for this gem of a movie? I've spent a lot of time mulling this over. Here are my best suggestions:

Life is not a Death Sentence—no, too depressing
The Truth about Life and Love—no, a little derivative
Loving the One You Love—no, hard to get

Fear of Losing
Loving You Too Much
Who Said Loving You Would Be Easy?
Who Said Love Was Easy?

How about this?…
Tend 2 Love

Let me know if you think of any better ones.

Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Trust the Man (2006) Cast Members
David DuchovnyJulianne MooreBilly Crudup
Maggie GyllenhaalGarry ShandlingEllen Barkin
Other Projects Featuring Trust the Man (2006) Director
Bart Freundlich
CD Soundtrack

Trust the Man (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
Trust the Man, written and directed by Bart Freundlich, focuses on the lives of two couples: Tom (David Duchovny) & Rebecca (Julianne Moore) [married for years] and Tobey (Billy Crudup) & Elanie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) [dating for seven years]. Tom and Tobey are best friends. Rebecca is Tobey's sister. Rebecca and Elaine have become best girlfriends. Rebecca is a modestly famous actress. Tom was in advertising and dropped out to become a stay-at-home dad. Tobey is a freelance writer. Elaine is a book editor. They all live in Manhattan. These are four A++ characters of incredible depth each with real human fears and frailties. Which are all okay so long as they don't keep them from participating in their lives. Freundlich has written a great story and selected an awesome cast that really clicked in this film. You will laugh and cry for there is so much real emotion on screen.

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