Review by Camden Ferrell
In 2016, Mark Manson released the non-fiction book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck a.k.a. the favorite book of every annoying person you’ve met in college. Written as an attack of the self-help book industry, it quickly grew into a bestseller. The similarly titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@&! Is a movie adaptation of the book, starring its author. Equally insufferable and fake-deep, this movie will appeal to fans of the book and likely annoy other viewers and make them roll their eyes in disdain.
Mark Manson believes that the self-help industry is plagued with mindless positivity and advice that is ultimately useless to the millions of people that look to them for help. His thesis is that one should only engage in things they value while disregarding (hence the swear in the title) other aspects of life whose personal utility is inflated. This movie features Manson as he illustrates and stars in scenes where he talks about his various life experiences that have shaped the book and movie.
The first thing that is noticed is his explicit disdain and disregard for self-help books, and he does this with a profanity-riddled rant that he believes is some revolutionary idea, but it is surface level analysis at best. This gives the movie an immediate tone of arrogance that lingers throughout like sour flatulence. The attitude of the author would be more warranted if it was paired with more insightful and radical ideas that were unique to his own experiences.
Manson may have some natural charisma as the narrator of this movie, but it is paired with some self-righteous rhetoric that is annoying from second one. In aiming to attack the self-help industry, this movie will carry on the legacy of the book in the sense that it will continue to breed a special brand of person who will carry themselves selfishly through life and look down on those who haven’t been “enlightened” in the way only Mark Manson can do.
It has the quality and consistency of a drunk Ben Shapiro wannabe trying to pontificate about life to you on a Tuesday night in the local bar of your small hometown. The movie speaks as if its an expert in every facet of life and is blessing us lowly viewers by sharing the wisdom that can lead us all to a better life. If self-help books are mindless positivity, then this is mindless self-aggrandization.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@&! is a movie that is only for fans of the book and quite literally nobody else. It features the same annoying, tired, and condescending contents of the book while also making you physically hear and see the arrogance of Manson instead of just reading it in text form. There is certainly an audience for this, and if you happen to be someone who relates to and enjoys this movie, more power to you, but don’t expect it to make you a better or more likeable person.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@&! is in theaters January 4 and hits VOD on January 10.