I like movies. As such, I sometimes find film content recommended to me on social media. Recently, there has been a prevalence of content regarding the “film bro”. There is a great deal of well-written literature on this topic, including this article, this article, and this UrbanDictionary entry, but I’m going to describe a film bro as a best understand it below.
A film bro is first and foremost, a bro. This entails a generally center-right political slant, a superlative sense of entitlement, an unfounded volume of confidence, a callous disregard to anyone’s existence but their own, and an affinity for alcohol. When that is combined with an interest in film, the result is someone, usually male, who spends their time regurgitating mainstream film criticism about the same handful of movies, shot by men for men. The film bro doesn’t care if you like action movies or not; he will talk non-stop about Tarantino. He unironically identifies with Tyler Durden, Travis Bickie, Arthur Fleck, and anyone who Ryan Gosling portrays onscreen.
I wasn’t always a film bro, but one of my best friends was. I have an indelible memory of him fiercely debating the merits of The Shawshank Redemption over Rain Man, back in the sixth grade. I also remember him recommending that I watch Pulp Fiction, which I did with my family in the eighth grade, much to my mother’s chagrin. Over the years, I gradually learned not to trust his movie recommendations, which I perceived to be pedantic and pretentious. The movies were so slow! The plots didn’t make a lot of sense either.
This changed when he recommended the Before Trilogy, a dialogue-driven love story spanning thirty years. Something about it resonated with me at the time, as a university-aged student just like Jesse and Celine, yearning for what they had. There were a few more misses after that, until we spent a semester in France together, the birthplace of cinema and home to film bro favourites, Bresson, Goddard, and Renoir. And every single movie we watched that winter was sensational. Even now, many remain firmly lodged in my memory. In his living room, we streamed In the Mood for Love and Incendies; in theaters we watched La La Land and Silence.
If this sounds like a enemies to lovers Harlequin romance, that’s because it absolutely is: but between cinema and myself. My fascination with movies took off after that, and I hurriedly filled gaps in my mental repository. There were so many movies to watch with the promise that the more I watched, the…