The Masculine Mystique
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 87 min
National Film Board of Canada
The Masculine Mystique, one of the National Film Board’s attempts during the eighties to produce "alternative dramas," casts an amused eye at the efforts of four rather unliberated men – all NFB employees – to cope with feminism, modern-day women and contemporary male-female relationships.
Blue, in his early thirties and reluctantly single, is searching for the perfect partner. Alex has a wife and two children and a girlfriend on the side. Ashley, recently separated, struggles with single parenthood. Mort, divorced, anxiously pursues domestic bliss with a new partner. Scenes from their personal lives are intercut with frank encounter sessions where the men bare their souls, question each other’s motives and try to confront their feelings about the women in their lives. Essentially a docudrama, The Masculine Mystique is an honest, often amusing, touching account of a contemporary dilemma.
Giles Walker, who co-directed The Masculine Mystique with John N. Smith, went on to direct the continuing misadventures of Alex and Blue in a pair of tongue-in-cheek sequels, 90 Days (1985) and The Last Straw (1987).