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Netflix original French-language film I Am Not An Easy Man follows the shameless manchild Damien, an app maker, and an unabashed male chauvinist in the midst of his eternal conquest of the fairer sex. After a bump on the head, he finds himself in an alternate dimension, an ultimately problematic universe, where Damien must cope with his newfound gender repositioning. The Eleonore Pourriat-directed film runs down the issues within gender dynamics and male privilege through the character’s arc.
I Am Not An Easy Man is a darkly funny film, purposefully ham-fisted with its unnuanced gender-flipped cliches and specific situations that Damien (Vincent Elbaz) finds himself in, shoe now on the woman’s foot. Women are controlling society, and everything within it, from the workforce to fashion to TV programming. Just as women in the present are subjected to the intersectional mistreatment from men and their continually reinforced privilege, Damien, too, is ogled at, not taken seriously, and otherwise reduced by female superiority.
Because Pourriat isn’t at all concerned with making women into heroes, it’s a concept that works through Damien’s meeting of Alexandra (Marie-Sophie Ferdane, in an excellent role). A writer in a bout of writer’s block, she moonlights as a gambler and a notorious seducer of men. Additionally a deep egoist, she’s intrigued by Damien’s equally problematic viewpoint on the opposite sex and sees an opportunity to further her ostentatious lifestyle.
Predictably, a relationship ensues, and the film’s problems also begin. The viewer isn’t given an instance where a person in Damien’s position, possibly a woman in his old universe, can enjoy an alternate, broad-scale ending. Viewers aren’t supplied an opportunity to picture a universe where the “woman’s world” is further sketched out. In this woman’s world, we get a story about a man—and only the misguided Damien finds himself changed.
I Am Not An Easy Man has some winning portions in the strong comedic moments and Ferdane’s spectacular performance, but ultimately its interesting concept goes nowhere.
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Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.