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Goat

This film is based on a memoir by Brad Land about his experience being severely beaten and traumatized by two men who Brad offers a ride to and his subsequent experience rushing for a fraternity. The film is extremely psychologically intense and difficult to watch at times, as it shows uncompromisingly various hazing scenes with these young college men trying to prove their worth for the fraternity and finding a way to fit in. One of the guys says somewhere that he won’t quit because he “is finally having sex for the first time in his life because he is pledging to this fraternity. It is a very strange and scary world that we look into, one that is all about proving one’s masculinity. The combining of the beating incident with the hazing situations creates another fascinating glimpse at various expressions of being “a man”. The acting was very good, and I think what made this movie work so well was the exploration of the complex relationship between the two brothers (Brad, played by Ben Schnetzer, and Brett, played by Nick Jonas). Thumbs up from me; while the film is not easy to watch, I definitely think it is worth watching. One of my main concerns is that is seemed at times to make the fraternity brothers out to be all “bad guys”; their characters were not sufficiently nuanced to make this the really deep and credible story it could have been.

 

About Gary Burkholder

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