Brad’s Status Screen 4 articles

Brad’s Status

2017

Brad’s Status Poster
  • The revelation feels detached from any examination of Brad’s life experience, or of what motivates his fretful concern with his status—is he an embittered liberal, a closet conservative, a detached cynic? The journalism he wrote—what was it? The donors and the beneficiaries he matches—who are they? Where does he live? What kind of high school does Troy attend? . . . We never find out, because White isn’t imagining people, or characters; he’s imagining talking points and slogans.

  • White recognizes Brad's self-pity as symptomatic of broader insecurities: a deeply American fear of failure, which, for Brad specifically, is tied to the loss of the fiery political idealism that initially drove him as a college student. Such a character isn’t exactly a stretch for Stiller, but White’s unforgiving gaze . . . seems to have pushed Stiller into deeper and more poignantly introspective displays of emotion in this film.

  • Every return to equilibrium presages a detour into a fresh illusory fantasy, followed by a desperate clawing back to equilibrium, and so on. Things fall into place with disarming ease, and I came out wishing that Brad's Status militated a little less for an individual attitude adjustment and a little more for a reset of the American Dreams that drive us crazy. Rarely, though, has a mainstream movie so pointedly documented the free-floating anxieties of our time and place along the way.

  • Mike White's deep understanding of envy, entitlement and embarrassment has never been more nightmarishly effective. But don’t expect one of those broad humiliation comedies where the audience cringes and laughs as the characters make increasingly bigger asses of themselves; those movies usually provide some sort of catharsis. Brad’s Status remains grounded in reality — it’s gentle, human and unresolved. I loved it, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch it again.

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