"Pithy, Provocative & Pornographic"
What You Need To Know:
The social satire in STORYTELLING is very pointed, pithy and provocative, and not entirely without merit. The sex scenes in the movie, however, are incredibly shocking and distasteful, especially in the first story. Ultimately, the movie argues in favor of unrestricted artistic expression, even if it graphically depicts the ugliest, most perverted kinds of human behavior. This gives STORYTELLING a strong Romantic worldview, instead of the Christian worldview that it should contain
(RoRoRo, B, H, HoHo, AP, LLL, V, SSS, NNN, A, DD, MM) Strong Romantic worldview with light moral elements, humanist statements & brief but strong homosexual content that satirically skewers political correctness & condescending, elitist artists, but that supports uncensored artistic expression, even if all it exposes is ugliness & perversion, & attacks American suburban living; 39 obscenities, 2 strong profanities, 2 mild profanities, & strong use of the “N” word; implied mass murder & football tackle paralyzes teenager; depicted fornication, shocking sounds of depicted sodomy, woman completely undresses for man, & implied homosexual act; upper & rear nudity & full female nudity in sadomasochistic photos; alcohol use; smoking & drug use; and, miscellaneous immorality, such as racism, mocking the handicapped, laziness, & son hypnotizes father into indulging him.
Writer and director Todd Solondz probably will never be accused of becoming a complacent filmmaker. He always seems to be taking big chances. Unlike his last movie, HAPPINESS, however, the critics may not take so kindly to his new movie STORYTELLING, because it is not always politically correct, nor does it spare movie critics from its satirical jabs.
STORYTELLING is divided into two parts. The first, shorter part, titled “Fiction,” tells what happens when the girlfriend of a college student with cerebral palsy has a fling with their black literature professor. A political revolutionary who seems to be bored by his white suburban students, the professor turns out to be a perverted racist.
The second story, titled “Non-Fiction,” describes a dysfunctional white suburban family, headed by John Goodman and Julie Hagerty. The parents are pushing their aimless, lazy older son, Scooby, into college. A would-be documentary filmmaker, named Toby Oxman (played by Paul Giamati), decides that he’d like Scooby to be his focus on the trials and tribulations of high school life, especially the trials of students who, like Scooby, are on the verge of graduating. A family tragedy puts everything into perspective for both Toby and Scooby, leaving viewers with a lot of things to think about after they leave the theater.
The social satire in STORYTELLING is very pointed, pithy and provocative, and not entirely without merit. This is true especially when the movie calls into question the political correctness in today’s society regarding minorities and handicapped people. The sex scenes in STORYTELLING, however, are incredibly shocking and distasteful, especially in the first story. In fact, in order to get the R-rating guaranteed in his contract, Solondz blocks out the most graphic sexual encounter with a red censor bar. Ultimately, his movie argues in favor of unrestricted artistic expression, even if it graphically depicts the ugliest, most perverted kinds of human behavior. It also attacks American suburban life. This gives STORYTELLING a strong Romantic worldview, instead of the Christian worldview that it should contain.
STORYTELLING is, however, one of the better acted, better written satires to come out of Hollywood in recent years. By focusing on the sudden maturation of Mark Webber’s Scooby character, it packs an emotional wallop that leaves one regretting the director’s juvenile need to offend and blaspheme viewers’ sensibilities.