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Brad's Status

Things aren‘t going badly for Brad. He lives in Sacramento, has a family, a house, a car, and a meaningful job, but he probably won‘t be raking in the big bucks. Brad asks himself: is this enough to be happy?

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Material wealth is still the measure of success and – at least in the logic of our consumer society – happiness. Ben Stiler acts like that‘s the case as well as Brad in Mike White‘s BRAD‘S STATUS, a midlife crisis film that dissects lifelong lies, envy, and fears of failure. Brad and his family aren‘t doing badly actually. They live in Sacramento, have a house and a car, but the fact that Brad heads an NGO makes him feel like that‘s it for him. He can‘t achieve more, a social or financial rise will not happen, so what should he do? He flies to Boston with his son Troy for a few days to look at universities. If Troy studies in Tufts, his father‘s Alma Mater, his chances are worse at life than if he was accepted into Harvard. But what chances? Success, money, or happiness? The question whether one affects the other and enables or even hinters it, is at the film‘s core. The film mostly consists of Brad‘s inner monologues, a stream of consciousness in which White succeeds in visualizing Brad‘s subjectivity. We keep seeing him imagining the successful lives of his college friends and him masochistically comparing his life to others. It‘s only when he realizes that other people‘s lives aren‘t going as well as what appears on the outside that he can accept his own life and what he has: more than material wealth.

Michael Meyns

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Details

Original title: Brad's Status
USA 2017, 102 min
Genre: Comedy
Director: Mike White
Author: Mike White
DOP: Xavier Grobet
Montage: Heather Persons
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Distributor: Weltkino
Cast: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Luke Wilson, Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer
FSK: oA
Release: 29.03.2018

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