Friday, May 14, 2021

The Man in the Hat Review: A Quirky and Beautiful Celebration of Life and Love

Release date: May 14, 2021
Running time: 95 minutes
Written and Directed By: John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck
Starring: Ciaran Hinds, Stephen Dillane, and Maïwenn

The Man in the Hat journeys through France in a Fiat 500 accompanied by a framed photograph of an unknown woman. He is pursued by five angry men in a Citroen Dyane. Why are they chasing him and how can he shake them off?

The Man in the Hat is a film that has to be seen to really understand.  The movie stars Ciaran Hinds as the man who drives all over France trying to shake the pursuit of five angry men, yet the man in the hat does not talk during the entire film.  In fact, the movie has very little dialogue, choosing to tell its story through experiences and music.  There are a few choice bits of dialogue and exposition here and there, but in general the speech is kept to a minimum, allowing the audience to experience the fun music, bright colors, and interesting people that are part of this journey.  

Now the fact that there is not much dialog does make this story a little hard to follow.  And The Man in the Hat tries to be funny with strange situations but many of the jokes fall flat.  The story is told mostly through interactions and some context clues, and the few bits of dialogue do help to flesh everything out.  However, the movie does not make it easy on the viewer to follow along.  But I think that is the point of this film; you experience the journey and just live in the moment.  As the man journeys throughout France, he sees bright villages, beautiful countryside, and all manner of inhabitants. And all of this is accompanied by some pleasant music.  The Man in the Hat has a classic movie feel like it came from an earlier era.  It provides a nice break from some more mainstream movies, a sort of vacation to France away from the cinematic blockbusters. 

The Man in the Hat will not be for everyone.  This film is definitely a unique experience with a melding of sights and sounds to form a story that is equally enjoyable and confusing.  It was not tough to like this film after it got started, and despite the strange format it allows you to visit a variety of beautiful places.  I really did not mind that I had trouble following along as the film really made for an entertaining endeavor.  And in the end, this journey will stay with you and put a smile on your face.

The Man in the Hat is a quirky, bright, and beautiful celebration of life and love that proves that often the journey is more enjoyable than the destination.

Watch it.

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The Man in the Hat is available in digitally and on demand on May 14, 2021.  

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