Men's Group

DRAMA; 1hr 44min

STARRING: Grant Dodwell, Steve Le Marquand, Don Reid, Steve Rodgers, Paul Tassone, Paul Gleeson

Group therapy: from left, Le Marquand and Rodgers

When Alex (Dodwell), Lucas (Le Marquand), Cecil (Reid), Freddy (Rodgers) and Moses (Tassone) form a support group, it gets off to a slow and painful start. According to convenor Paul (Gleeson), in whose cosy living room the strangers meet once a week, the group exists to “[unpack] information.” Most men aren’t known for sharing their emotions, and this lot is no different. Yet as the weeks pass and they begin to loosen up, their inner lives snap into focus.


Director and co-creator (with producer John L. Simpson) Michael Joy workshopped extensively and individually with each actor, none of whom saw a script. He also kept his cameras in close — for added spontaneity, every scene was done in one take — through both the blistering group sessions and the brief and telling glimpses of the men’s unhappy outside existences. His approach was a gamble and it pays off in spades: the actors rise to a daunting task, excelling with acute understanding in a psychological unpeeling that makes mincemeat of weepy clichés.