Taking place in New York City, director Bart Freundlich’s Trust the Man follows the essence of human character to show the journey of two couples that struggle, side by side, to first ruin perfectly compatible relationships and then struggle to mend them as they learn to trust others and themselves.
But don’t get fooled by the description of this perhaps average plot. Hidden behind tales of insecurity, plaguing existentialism and miscommunication is a movie that dissects human nature with a hint of charm delivered by the talented actors.
This movie is neither cheesy, nor chick-flick. In a Woody Allen style of directing the raw reality of fractured relationships, Freundlich sets up the movie so that at times one feels they are watching a play where the actors are simply acting in this universal story that highlights the themes of love, relationship, betrayal, life and death, which are the important aspects of this movie.
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Elaine, a children’s book author, who aspires to build her own family with children, to the dismay of her boyfriend Tobey (Billy Grudup) who sees life as a series of experiences leading to the unavoidable demise of man. His sister, Rebecca (Julianne Moore) is having similar character differences with her own husband, Tom (David Duchovny). The X Files star gives his acting career a whole new face when he takes the role of an easy-going, stay-at-home dad that has to learn to come second place to his famous movie star wife, who doesn’t have enough time to sleep with him.
These talented actors will still get under your skin and make you laugh hard as they tackle life with brutal sarcasm; other times they will make you cry or at least feel sympathy for their helplessness as they teeter on the verge of losing it all.
Still, this is a feel good movie with a dash of reality that is amusing and thoughtful as it attempts universal themes that transcend time and age, leaving you with a nice warm feeling of appreciation for love and friendship and not having a life as chaotic as Hollywood portrays normalcy.