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Boys Will Be Men 2001

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Moira Productions, 1535 Juanita Way, Berkeley, CA 94702; 510-558-8013
Produced by Tom Weidlinger
Directed by Tom Weidlinger
VHS, color, 57 min.

Gender Studies, Sociology, Psychology

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Tom Weidlinger has written, produced, and directed several award winning films for national broadcast public television. Boys Will Be Men is his latest work in the forest of media oriented documentaries on the psychology of being male in today’s American society. In light of recent incidents of violence sweeping our nation involving young men from all walks of life, Boys Will Be Men illustrates the sometimes, ordinary, heroic and tragic aspects of being a male today. This video explores the nature of the beast within all of us but concentrates on everyday pressures of being male in American society today.

Recent violent incidents have caused clinical psychologists, educators, and law enforcement to turn their undivided attention to this phenomenon. The school shootings of 1998, to the present introduced two clinical psychologists, Dr. Michael Pollack, and Dr. Michael Thompson to the media and the general public. Both are well known for their work dealing with male oriented issues in psychology.

The viewer follows 20 young men from Chicago as they undergo a rite of passage at an outward-bound type wilderness intervention program in Southern Idaho. The film illustrates and explores the difficulties and successes of these young men thrown into an environment that requires teamwork for survival.

There are no catchall phrases here. Just young men attempting to fit in and become “somebody”. More often than not, they fail only to get up and try again. Through their personal interviews, parents, and teachers, the viewer gets to see cultural and societal mores as they relate to male adolescence and eventual adulthood. While the answers to “what hurts them, makes them violent, and sometimes kills them,” may seem subjective, Tom Weidlinger has produced a film that is both personal and universal. It is provocative and challenges the viewer to take a close look at contemporary masculinity in the United States and what we, collectively and individually must do to stop the destructive behavior that is sweeping across America killing the innocent and destroying the lives of our young men.

Highly Recommended

See another EMRO review of the same title.