Our Idiot Brother

October 7, 2013

Our Idiot Brother makes an interesting stab at trying to portray an imbecile who means well. The film by necessity has to walk the difficult line of exhibiting an idiot who can also hold conversations with people. Is it plausible that he can have deep introspective conversations with other people, yet have short-circuited reasoning abilities? How does his mind work exactly?


But the point of the film is not in answering that question. It is to ironically demonstrate the narcissistic cocoons of each of his sisters. This is therefore a surreptitious anti-feminist film, as the idiot brother plays a mocking reality that each of them have to confront. The manner in which he behaves, which destroys their life plans, is what infuriates them all.


The idiot plays an almost symbolically jesting chess piece of God, maneuvering himself around the board and by hurting his sisters because of his honesty and downright piousness. This is a great idea of a chick flick. It enables a strong balance of femininity and masculinity which is what severely lacks in those types of films. Typically men are not rooks but pawns on the woman’s chess board. But here, while men support the background, they make their presence felt, impacting the drama with quality. By being chaotic, the idiot acts as a man of God in other words, helping his sisters adapt to what is real versus what they want to imagine is real.


Obviously he does not possess that foresight. He is simply acting how he thinks he ought to act. Hence his righteousness which comedically dampens the spirits of women who self-gratify and lack any spiritual sensibilities. Clearly, if they were realists, they would not have their lives so effortlessly twisted by a moron who smiles and tries to improve the world with optimism about the human condition. The disruptiveness of Ned the idiot into the lives of his sister’s is as much a story about his own walk through life than each sister’s present. And, what is charmingly paradoxical about the mysteriousness of God portrayed is that, out of the ruins left by his idiocy, the lives of everyone inflicted are improved. This is a strong statement as any about the vicissitudes of man which requires perseverance through struggle in order for the sweet to taste sweeter.


Grade: B+



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