By: Tiege Dooley-Panko
Brad’s Status is a heart-warming, thought-provoking piece of work directed and written by Mike White, known for School of Rock, Nacho Libre, and The Good Girl.
When Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) joins his son on a college visit, he begins to question if he feels fulfilled by what he’s accomplished in his life. He wonders if he’s done enough. He questions if his wife (Jenna Fischer) has brought him down by her eternal optimism and ability to be satisfied so easily and hopes his son doesn’t make the same mistakes he did. He does all of this while comparing himself to his seemingly perfect college best friends.
Brad’s friends have accomplished a lot since college and it’s hard for him to not be negative about it. His successful friends include a Hollywood director (Mike White), a hedge fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement) and a bestselling author (Michael Sheen). Brad often envisions what his life would have been like if he chose the same paths they did.
White used this juxtaposition of Brad and his friends to explore the running commentary we all have in our head after viewing social media and observing everyone else’s perceived successes.
White pulled this off flawlessly.
Social media comparison and its effect on our self-esteem is a relatively new battle in society and it was nice to see the breakdown of how this can contribute to our sense of self-worth.
The title of the film suggests the importance social media has
on all of our lives and its influence on the film.
Overall, the movie is a great family flick.
It’s an insightful piece for the younger generation in that it gives a glimpse into how much parents sacrifice and give up for their children’s’ happiness. In the movie, Brad tries to do things he thinks will impress his son (Austin Abrams) and learns that
might not be what’s most important.
Overall, it is a very light-hearted, hopeful and thought provoking father-son narrative based around the very raw reality of sending a child off to college and all of the feelings that brings up.
White said his inspiration for the film was his own father. He wanted to write something to tell his dad he loved him and that he thinks he’s a success even if his dad thinks he hasn’t lived up to his own expectations.
Amazon Studios will release Brad’s Status in theaters September 15th, 2017.