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Movie Review

Trust the Man

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for language and sexual content

Reviewed by: Susan Quirk

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy, Romance, Drama
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 18, 2006 (limited), September 1, 2006 (expanded to wide)
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer



How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to sex or pornography? Answer

Personal stories from those who have committed adultery and/or had a sexual addiction—Go

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes, James LeGros, Ellen Barkin, Garry Shandling
Director: Bart Freundlich
Producer: Marina Grasic, Evelyn O’Neill, Sidney Kimmel
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“He’s doing the best he can”

Imagine a man rushing to present his wife a beautiful rose, and just before she receives it, the wind catches it into the air, and it falls to the city street to be smashed to smithereens by a garbage truck. “Trust The Man” is a detailed examination of all the dirt and grime that has attached itself to that ruined flower.

Tom (David Duchene) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore) are married and in love, but with two small children and her busy acting career, their physical relationship is low man on the totem pole. Their sexual complaints are typical for married couples, but failure to address and fix these issues (their once yearly therapist session is not doing the trick) results in a disastrous downturn for their relationship.

Tom has adopted the role as househusband to support his wife and nurture the kids, but soon a sexy preschool mom seduces him into an extramarital affair. Tom wants to hide behind a sexual addiction for his situation, but a visit to a group therapy session for “real” sexual addicts forces him to confront the reality that he is just a plain old cheater. As succinctly identified in Proverbs 25:28, “A man who lacks self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down.” Tom knows he is jeopardizing the most important aspect of his life.

Juxtaposed with Tom and Rebecca’s story is Rebecca’s brother, Toby (Billy Crudup) and Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a co-habitating couple of seven years. Toby is no catch for Elaine. He has a fear of death neurosis, is crass, lazy and seems more committed to his car than his girlfriend. Elaine wants marriage and a baby, but when confronted with the reality that her live-in relationship is not going to evolve in that direction, she throws Toby out onto the street.

“Trust the Man” wants to teach lessons about morality and fidelity but lacks the credentials to do so. Elaine reveals her past to include abundant promiscuities, including a ménage a trois, and countless one night stands. Tom views on-line pornography and videos that include bestiality, and yet he is confused how he ended up in bed with another woman.

Upon breaking up with Toby, Elaine follows Rebecca’s twisted advice and hooks up in a one night stand, even though she finds the man repulsive. In a study of contrasts, however, Toby flees the temptation of an amorous ex-girlfriend—revealing a real love for Elaine that is tied to sexual self-control and faithfulness.

The path to a trusting and satisfying marriage can be difficult to achieve, yet the rules are rather simple. “Trust the Man” does not understand this. The Bible is direct on the subject of adultery. Exodus 20:14 says simply: “You shall not commit adultery.” And again in the New Testament, I Corinthians 6:9-10 states: “do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? …neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers…”.

The Bible teaches that the only healthy sexual relationship is within marriage, and that it needs to be nurtured and prioritized. First Corinthians 7:5 states, “…the wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer….” Just as you would not teach a child to cross a busy street by encouraging him to run as fast as he or she can, sexuality is similarly tied to a “look both ways” common sense mentality that should be practiced from youth to old age.

Early in the film, Rebecca complains of the lack of romance tied with sexuality and many scenes in “Trust the Man” explicitly serve to erase the beauty and romance God desires in the marriage relationship. Offensive material and profanity is spewed continuously, including the F-word, numerous instances of the Lord’s name taken in vain, graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, including oral sex, descriptions of sexual positions, perversions, sound effects and a lesbian kiss. Also a very offensive character calls himself a “minister,” yet one that is not opposed to fornication. This character returns in a blasphemous moment to officiate a wedding.

“Trust The Man” is yet another movie that falls into the “Hollywood preaching morality paradox” genre like the Adam Sandler movie “Click.” The audience is expected to laugh at characters as they roll around in an immoral abyss for ninety-nine percent of the movie, and then in the last final moments accept a nanosecond of enlightenment.

In all fairness, “Trust The Man” does have a surprisingly sweet ending, with the moral compass pointing mostly in the right direction. However, the tangled web of sexual excursions and deceptions is a long journey down the wrong road and definitely not worth taking.

Violence: None / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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Movie Critics
…an insufferable experience. …
Boston Globe, Wesley Morris
…opening a film with a small child straining on a toilet and talking about poop isn’t just a bad idea; it’s an invitation to unfortunate metaphor. …
New York Times, Manohla Dargis
…superficially entertaining…
San Francisco Chronicle, Ruthe Stein