Irrational Man | 2015 | R | - 6.5.5
A philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles to cure his job burnout with a move to a small Northeastern college. When he chooses to become involved with a student (Emma Stone) instead of an unhappily married professor (Parker Posey) who is pursuing him, he feels renewed. Also with Jamie Blackley. Directed by Woody Allen. [1:35]
- A sex scene shot from the middle-upper arm and up (we see the upper chest of both people in profile) shows a man and a woman apparently seated, face to face, bouncing up and down, panting, gasping and groaning as they sweat (the camera cuts away).
► A younger woman tells an older man in three scenes that she wants to have a relationship with him and he says no each time until she says she wants to come over to his house instead of eating in a restaurant where they are sitting and the camera cuts to a bedroom, where the couple is seen under covers in a bed and she says, "I love making love with you" then they kiss three times for a few seconds each time and the scene ends.
► A woman tells a man in his house that he is going to sleep with her and she then asks if he is infatuated with a female student at the local college; he says no, and she kisses him passionately as the camera cuts away and then later returns to the man and the woman under covers in a bed (we see his bare chest); she is lying with her chest and abdomen against his back under covers, with a hand on his shoulder and he apologizes and says that he has not been able to perform for a year and she suggests that he see a doctor she knows (please see the Substance Use category for more details) for the problem and the scene ends.
► A woman kisses a man on the lips three times in a close-up. A young couple tell each other, "I love you" and they hug briefly.
► A man states that much of philosophy is only verbal masturbation; people around him in a classroom do not react. A male narrator states that having a sexual affair with a woman allowed him to overcome writer's block. A female professor remarks to a small group of professors and students that a new male professor at their college has a reputation for having sex with female students. A female student asks a male professor if he is very experienced with women and he tells her yes, because the orgasm is a good painkiller, but also that the pain relief effect wears off, finally disappears, and one-night stands become no good. A woman tells her adult daughter not to become too close to a male professor in a romantic way and she replies that she loves her boyfriend. A woman tells her boyfriend that she loves both him and a male professor and cannot commit to one person; her boyfriend breaks up with her. A woman meets a male friend on a college campus and says he is showing more energy today, then asks, "Is it a wet dream or a religious epiphany?" and he says it is neither. A woman tells a man, "You know I'm in love with you" and he says that she is not in love, but in love with the romantic notion of love. A man and a woman shout at each other about not having sex; he wants to be friends and not sex partners. A woman breaks up with her husband, he tries to talk her out of it, and she says no. In several scenes, a woman tells female friends that she wants a male friend to take her away to Spain. A man tells a woman that in his younger years, passions of love and lust were irresistible. A woman tells a younger woman that a man they both have a crush on had a post-passion conversation with her, implying that they had sex and the younger woman only smiles.
► Several summer college-campus scenes feature dozens of college-aged women wearing tops with V-necks that reveal cleavage and a few bare midriffs. Many women wear short skirts. In a scene of a struggle with a man (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a close-up features a woman's dress rising above the thighs to reveal several flashes of panties. A woman wears a crop top that bares her abdomen and is lacy material that shows some skin and small portions of a neutral color bra. Two scenes of male and female joggers feature men and women in short sleeved tops; a few women reveal a little cleavage. A man rises from bed at night wearing baggy boxer shorts and we see his buttock cleavage, his bare back and chest, abdomen and navel.
- A man disables an elevator car, then a woman walks out of a studio on an upper floor and finds him standing in the hallway where they talk; he grabs her around the throat from behind and tries to throw her down an empty elevator shaft, they struggle violently, she gasps and grunts, and in close-up, her short dress rises to reveal bare thighs and legs thrashing strongly; she breaks free, he falls backwards down the shaft and we hear a loud thud.
► A man steals a chemistry-lab door key and enters the room where we see dozens of bottles of clear liquids, some chemicals and plastic bottles; the man pours some white powder from a jar into a smaller jar and puts the smaller container into his pocket, and then later pours some of the chemical into a cup, takes the cup to a park, sits on a bench beside another man and when the second man looks away, switches cups with the second man; later that day, a radio announcement reports that a man died in a park.
► At a college party, a male student takes a pistol out of his closet and mentions Russian Roulette; he removes all the bullets and a female student asks what Russia Roulette is as a male professor at the party takes the gun, loads in one bullet, spins the cylinder, points the gun at his temple, and pulls the trigger (we hear a click, but no shot discharges) causing others to gasp; he spins the cylinder again and points the gun at his head as the students shout angrily at him, and a male student takes away the gun.
► A college-aged man and his girlfriend argue in several scenes and she states three times that she cannot be committed to one person long term. A woman argues with an older man in a few scenes, raising her voice and screaming for a few seconds in these scenes.
► A male professor tells a student that real life is nasty and ugly and includes hate and genocide. He adds that people go through life in ignorance, with misinformation and apathy. In a beach scene in which a man stands and looks at the ocean alone, his voice narrates that he has considered suicide by drowning. A woman says to friends that romantics think that suicide is romantic. Outside a diner, a man hyperventilates, leaves his female friend and says that he must go home; he hyperventilates for several steps in close-up as he walks away and later, says that planning a murder made him feel alive. In a diner booth where two couples sit, one of the women cries and states that a family court judge is going to give custody of her children to her ex-husband, because the judge is a friend of the ex's attorney; she says that she hopes the judge gets cancer and a man's voiceover narration says that he will kill the judge to help the woman. Discussing mystery novels and a murder in the news, a man says that he always thinks of cyanide, because it is fast acting, whereas arsenic is slower and painful; a woman says she always hears that poisoning is by arsenic in news reports of murder and a man says that he would use a gun or run over the victim with a car. A man tells a woman that he is a murderer and says, "I eliminated a cancer. I had a sense of accomplishment." A man says that a murder was the meaningful act for which he had been searching and a woman raises her voice, screams and cries at him, then tells him to move away from town. A woman tells a man that he should turn himself into the police or she will report him and he agrees. A woman breaks into a man's house through an open window and looks at papers on his desk, and then leaves; she sees notes about a man who died in a park and about a philosopher who wrote that some killings are moral, because the world is a better place without the victim. A woman tells a man that a recent judge's death was from a heart attack caused by cyanide poisoning and later another woman tells the first woman that a man they both have a crush on committed the murder. We hear that an innocent man was arrested for a murder. A woman stands on a beach and we see her staring at the ocean while a voiceover says that she was close to death for one terrifying moment. We hear that a male college student suffered from the shingles. A man tells a woman that he has suffered from erectile dysfunction for a year (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A man tells a woman that he had an MRI done, but nothing serious was found (he does not mention a condition). A woman tells another woman that a man was depressed when his wife left him; the second woman states that the man witnessed a beheading in Iraq. A woman asks a man if he saw a beheading in Iraq and he says no, but he was close to a bomb explosion. A man tells a woman that he stepped on a land mine in Iraq, but we do not see an injury. A man says that in traveling the world to help others, he caught meningitis. A woman tells a man that another man's mother committed suicide by drinking bleach when the second man was 12 years old. A woman tells her boyfriend that she is achy and may have the flu. A radio announcer states that authorities found a man dead in a local park, having had his second heart attack.
- About 5 F-words, 8 scatological terms, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, crazy, nuts, crackpot, middle-class, self-destructive), 15 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, Oh God, My God, Jesus).
- A woman invites a man home for "great grass" but he declines, three female college students light and puff a small marijuana pipe (we do not see the drug), a female professor says that the addition of a new male professor to the college put Viagra into the philosophy department, a woman asks a man if he took his Cialis and he replies that he did but that it did not work, a woman swallows two aspirin tablets with a glass of water, and a man takes an aspirin with a glass of unknown liquid at a desk. A man drinks from a flask while driving and we hear it contains single-malt Scotch, a man offers a flask to a woman and she laughs and declines (he drinks), a man offers a flask to a college aged woman and she declines (he drinks), a man brings out a flask at a beach and drinks, a man has a short glass of Scotch on the dining room table (he does not drink), a woman brings a bottle of Scotch to a man's door and he invites her in where he pours Scotch into two short glasses and the man and woman drink, a man gets up from bed and pours and drinks a short glass of Scotch, a glass of wine is seen in a painting, glasses of wine are seen on a table and a woman sips from her glass, a woman at a cocktail reception orders a martini and a man orders a scotch while others around them drink short and tall glasses of alcoholic beverages, men and women at a college party drink from cups of beer, men and women at a piano recital carry and drink from cups of punch (they may or may not contain alcohol), men in a bar scene sit at the bar with glasses of beer (one drinks) and men sit at a table with short glasses of amber liquid in front of them, a waiter in a restaurant brings a man and a woman two large martinis and the woman drinks, two glasses of dark liquid are shown near a pool table in a pool hall bar, two women art a bar drink scotch and wine and men at the corner of the bar sit in front of glasses of beer, and a male professor tells a female student that Emily Dickenson wrote about the inebriate of the air (about someone intoxicated by only air).
- Philosophy, sense of purpose, "moral murder," job burnout, mental illness, grandiose ideas, relationships, love, fidelity, infatuation, suicide, responsibility, murder, death, lies and gossip, consequences, unexpected results, poetic justice.
- Seek professional help for job burnout and depression before they become dangerous conditions.
Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.
We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.
Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.
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