When another’s success is your failure

In Brad’s Status, Brad (Ben Stiller) struggles with how he thinks he is viewed by others. Press photo.

Brad’s Status is a movie for those who wonder if they’ve chosen the right path

Directed and written by Mike White, Brad’s Status is a movie about a man reflecting on his life, and wondering how he got to where he is.

Brad’s (Ben Stiller) life is comfortable. He is happily married and the founder of a non-profit organization. His son, Troy (Austin Abrams) will soon be going off to college with the hopes of gaining admission to Harvard University.

Brad has a lot to be happy about. And yet, he is kept awake by his nightly reflections on his life. Is he enough? Has he fulfilled his potential? Did he peak early?

This feeling of having fallen short is exacerbated when he compares himself to his old college friends—a big shot Hollywood director, a hedge fund manager, a White House spokesperson and a retired tech guru. Brad’s feelings of mediocrity are enhanced while touring university campuses with his son, who allegedly has the grades to get into whichever school he wants, including Harvard.

Brad is haunted by what could have been. He has a hard time accepting his perceived mediocrity, so instead he blames his wife and external circumstances.

Interestingly enough, the film was shot at Concordia. If you watch closely, you’ll clearly see parts of the Hall building, the CJ building and the Loyola campus. During one scene in particular, you can even spot a few posters advertising Concordia’s strategic directions.

The film takes an introspective look at how Brad analyzes his life. To do so, it uses mostly voice-over, which both works and detracts from the film, as there is a lot of telling rather than showing. Though it makes for an easy watch, it also undermines the very real despair Brad feels. It’s a poignant film that takes an intrinsic look at the sense of lacking one feels not with their own achievements, but rather when faced with the success of one’s peers.

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