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Parents' Guide to

The Mask You Live In

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Moving documentary examines what it means to be a man.

Movie NR 2015 97 minutes
The Mask You Live In Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 15+

Excellent Film! Parents should watch PRIOR to showing their kids because there are a few sensitive topics (e.g., porn, mass shootings, rape)

As a male born and raised in America, I really appreciate this film and its message! It saddens me to read the negative reviews. So many people prefer to keep their "blinders" on and fail to appreciate scientific research. Some people are even labeling it as "anti-male" which is FAR from the TRUTH---this film promotes HEALTHY masculinity (beneficial to males)! For those of you stating that the film argues American masculinity is the "ROOT CAUSE" of most of modern society's problems, you are INCORRECT! Stop thinking so dichotomously! The film illustrates how it is a CONTRIBUTING FACTOR to the issues mentioned...NOT the sole reason. The film focuses on drawing the connection between the problems and masculinity because that is the FOCUS of the film. An entirely separate documentary could be made on each of the issues because they are complex! The negative reviews speak to how there is a profound lack of appreciation and utilization of science in America. Unfortunately, political hyperpolarization and the spread of misinformation are only making this problem worse. NOTE: Parents should watch PRIOR to showing their kids because there are a few sensitive topics (e.g., porn, mass shootings, rape).

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 15+

Understand boys and men' emotions

Great documentary video shows how boys and teens deal with their emotions. What should be our social values? How teens see themselves? What can educators do? Good for teens to watch. The later part may be too deep for younger teens.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Newsom takes on a tough subject with confidence, which makes Mask incredibly effective and moving. It starts with young boys and how they're trained to hide their softer, more empathetic selves, then delves into the turbulent teen years and talks about the issues and experiences that complicate men's experience of being men -- including drugs, drinking, porn, feminism, fatherhood, and what's referred to as "rape culture." It's the same approach Newsom used so effectively in her earlier film, Miss Representation, which looked at the media's impact on girls and women.

What what makes The Mask You Live In so effective are the candid, heartfelt stories that the interviewed boys and men share about their lives, as well as the sheer number of them. The details change for each subject, but the overall message is the same, and it gets hammered home time after time, eventually taking on more and more meaning: We need to find a way to let boys maintain their sense of selves without having to hew to an outdated, irrelevant stereotype. Our future depends on it. Mask is at times difficult to watch, but it's a must if we're to raise a new generation of emotionally healthy young men.

Movie Details

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