Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

What Is a Woman? (2022)

Directed by Justin Folk

Starring Matt Walsh, Gert Comfrey, Marci Bowers

Author

It takes balls (no pun intended) to take on this topic, as it’s certainly controversial and messy, but I wish Walsh was a little more sincere in his approach. Dramatizations of fishing and kicking a bulletin board and waking up in the middle of the night, along with melodramatic cutaways to stock footage and wistful music, make the whole thing feel a bit disingenuous.

Ballsy (no pun intended) for these public figures to accept these interviews. Many of them, Walsh corners with a logical line of questioning. It’s definitely cringy and uncomfortable when they realize they are starting to look a little dumb and request to end the interview. But Walsh goes further, cutting short and carefully editing some of them to make interviewees look dumb or long-winded. Walsh’s refusal to take these people seriously ad his forced, unfunny commentary makes him seem a little flippant and arrogant and dick-ish (no open intended). If you want to take on an important and confusing topic, and if it’s really a problem that needs to be addressed, you have to be more careful and fair with it.

Interviews in the second half are markedly better, as Walsh asks better questions, gets better answers, and allows the interviewees to respond in more depth. In particular, I like what Justin Peterson has to say in this one.

In the end, Walsh is right: there’s no consensus on our language and our definitions and our understanding of this topic. And that, I agree, is a problem.

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