Midlife crisis is real in this slice of life film.
This post for The Land of Steady Habits is spoiler-free.
The Land of Steady Habits (2018, directed by Nicole Holofcener) is a slice of life type of film that I couldn’t personally relate to because I’m not a man in the 50s who is facing a midlife crisis, but Ben Mendelsohn’s performance as the character Anders Hill was definitely worth watching. The film is adapted from the novel of the same name by author Ted Thompson, and it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before making its debut on Netflix last weekend.
It seems like what this film was trying to do is depict the struggles of life; the struggles of love; the struggles of finding happiness; and the struggles of finding one’s purpose. They were successful in showing all those struggles through Anders, as we see this early retiree live a lonely and depressing life for almost the entire film. The poor unhappy man can’t have proper sex, even when he can get the women—three in total too.
Mendelsohn shows depth in his acting, and proves that he can star in a role that isn’t a villain. In The Land of Steady Habits, his character tries to move on from his old life and settle in his new-found singlehood.
I found Anders’ son Preston (Thomas Mann) to be similar as his father. He’s a 27-year-old recovering addict who still lives at home. I totally missed the addict part when watching the film, but this all makes sense now as it explains the scene of him attempting to drink champagne from a Nebuchadnezzar size bottle. I was wondering why he was apprehensive in that moment. It’s quite surprising to me how Western parents strive for their child to be independent, as the mother, Helene (Edie Falco), had kicked Preston out of the house in hopes that he would finally find his own apartment.
I haven’t got much thoughts about this film, apart from the fact that I had expected one of the plot twist that happened at the end. I also haven’t seen enough of the director Holofcener’s work to get a sense of what her film style is, but apparently it seems that she’s known for making similar types of films.
Often, these slice of life films don’t really have a conflict that excites audiences; it basically just focuses on a person’s life, which is exactly what it is in The Land of Steady Habits. I can’t say I liked this film much, as I’m someone who prefers the three-act structure, but feel free to check it out on Netflix when you don’t know what to watch.