Film Review: What Men Want
Although the title of this movie is What Men Want (2019), the movie does not revolve around that trope. Instead, it is a witty and reflective analysis of what it’s like to exist in professional spaces not just as a woman, but as a Black woman.
Taraji P. Henson plays Ali Davis, a successful sports agent and fellow Black woman, who is at the top of her game with multiple signed athletes, and cover shoots. The movie starts off in a board meeting with Ali and her colleagues, the majority of which are white men. Ali thinks she has secured the position, but she gets overlooked for someone who is less qualified for the position.
Feeling underappreciated and devalued, she goes to her best friend's bachelor party in an upset mood. At the bachelor party she meets Sister, a character played by Erykah Badu, who gives her a strange Haitian tea that will improve the way she connects with men. The next day, Ali wakes up realizing she can hear what men are thinking and uses this ability as an advantage at work. In the mix of all this, she finds an authentic connection with Will, a character played by Aldis Hodge, and is taken on a journey where she reflects on her life goals.
What Men Want is the stereotypical narrative of a leading woman in an all male boys club who fights for her spot in the workplace. The movie is equipped with the multi-talented sidekick assistant, portrayed by Josh Brener, but what makes this movie stand out is the fact that the lead actress is a Black woman. Exploring the narrative from her perspective, the movie highlights the ways that Ali navigates through an office as a Black professional.
As a Black female viewer I found myself connecting with her, because that struggle of finding your place as you try to prove that you belong in a specific space is one all too common. Ali gets herself into confusing yet hilarious situations that you want to yell at her through the screen for, but you understand, overtime. It’s the common struggle of finally getting a seat at the table, but still being excluded, and Taraji does a great job of bringing that story to life.
Ali finds herself in the most comical situations, like almost having a BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, and Masochism) moment with a neighbor who she overheard (through his thoughts) found her attractive, or drunkenly starting a fight at her best friend's wedding. There is always a moment of laughter, but along with that there are also really warm moments in the movie.
Ali interacts with her father who helps her through the ups and downs of her life; He serves as her guide when things go wrong. He was the first person she went to when she didn’t make a partner (one of the task of her job at work). Her interactions with Will’s son causes her to treat his son as if he was her own.
Overall, the movie was really fun, and its a great girls night out movie to watch with friends. 10 out of 10.
What Men Want (2019) is now playing in a theater near you. Check out the trailer below: