The Strange, The Johnsons, is set in a middle-class black family living in the suburbs with sprawling lawns, where elegant weddings can be held in an atmosphere of conversations with family and friends. (Even the title suggests suburban, presenting the story as a type of gossip.) Aster has received some criticism for telling this sharp dark tale of incest within the context of a black family; however, the story is interesting, grounded in art rather than just controversial. The undercurrent of satire is that the causes of tragedy cannot be made from the fabric life of humans. The Johnsons are a part of the middle class of the wealthy, and their issues do not stem from poverty, but they’re not part of the standard (and typically white) myth about suburban secrets or WASP resistance. Aster’s not mocking the notion of a healthy black family. Still, he’s challenging the idea that the dysfunctional family occurs to everyone else that are either victims or the result of social problems and pressures.
A father accidentally steps into the room where his son is doing a little masturbation. He leaves quickly, apologizes awkwardly at the door, and then asks to return and have a conversation. It’s painful to watch him slather in emotional honesty as the father tries to convince his son, a teenager, that it’s all normal and nothing that the child ought to feel ashamed about. Likewise, this isn’t something that should be kept secret in their relationship. It’s an unspoken silence which something might reverberate. It’s hard not to be filled at the thought of embarrassment that comes from secondhand; however, it’s also clear that Sidney Johnson, the dad of Sidney Johnson (Billy Mayo), is, by contemporary standards, doing everything right. Sidney Johnson doesn’t want his son to think that sex is a sin and embarrassing. He believes in honest emotional communication. However, it’s not without a hitch in a way as Isaiah (Brandon Greenhouse) asks the actor if he “does the same thing.” It’s an essential distinct difference in between “explain the child why masturbation is pretty commonplace” in contrast to “explain your own jerk-off behavior to your 12-year-old son,” and Sidney is aware of that. He flinches and then falls to a vaguely affirmative “Everybody is a jerk.” (When it comes to looking at Sidney’s work and realizing his character is a famous sentimental poet in the vein that of Billy Collins, it’s a perfect character choice.)
What’s Strange About Johnsons Johnsons
A few years before taking the globe by storm with his Hereditary or Midsommar, Ari Aster made the most shocking film to this point. The strange thing About Johnsons Johnsons was his final project at the American Film Institute’s graduate school. It premiered in 2011 and became an online phenomenon throughout the years. The satirical, pitch-black drama exposes the corruption that lurks under the clean surface of decent suburban life. It explores the terrible consequences of sexual abuse, gaslighting, incest, and conspiracy.
It’s a jarring and complicated watch, and it’s intended to be. The only thing that is surprising about it is that it’s been a source of controversy. However, it’s a beautiful film and a significant one, too. It’s only 29 minutes long, yet it amazingly narrates the unimaginable within its short distance.
The person who watches the film, knowing that it is based on the abusive parent-son relationship, may think of a familiar tragic story involving an adult the child abuses. However, Aster can stop us from our tracks and force us to discard any notions we might have about. The most shocking scene in the film is when Sidney goes out with his son and is discovered that Isaiah was sexing with a photo of his father. The irony is that Sidney’s protracted speech is the reason he gets back at him. The twisted mind of Isaiah believes that Sidney was referring to his sexual desire as usual and not considered taboo. The foundation for Isaiah’s subsequent sexual abuse is laid out there, and this could be what he refers to later on in the movie while accusing Sidney.
What is ‘The Strange Thing About the Johnsons Is it About?
But, Isaiah discovers the memoir before Joan can read the book. The following incident escalates into a physical confrontation between Joan and Isiah, leading to one character’s death.
When the Strange Thing About the Johnsons was first released online, it quickly became a hit because of its themes. However, many people did not enjoy the fact that Aster was a Jewish guy, was the center of a Black family.
Aster stated in Shadow and Act at the time that “The colour of the family isn’t a factor. We definitely believed it was a given that casting actors of color in a movie that dealt with such controversial themes could cause a uproar but it’s an untruth to claim that we didn’t feel hesitant particularly since a lot of people were telling us to reconsider the idea.”
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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011) – IMDb
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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons – Letterboxd
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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons Trailer – Saxon Wood
“The Strange Thing About The Johnsons” – Ari Aster (2011)
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