In this documentary illustration of his popular self-help book, author Mark Manson shares his philosophy of fulfillment as an onscreen guide. The ethos has many components, but much of it boils down to the idea that life is full of disappointments and that people can get better by accepting them. You have the power to choose how much hoot to give.
That may sound like patronizing advice, but Manson delivers it in reassuring, Dude-esque koans (he calls for a simple cultural acknowledgment that “most of us are bad at most of the things we do — and that’s fine”) that making sure it goes down easy.
Director Nathan Price uses different ways to visualize Manson’s concepts. We see reconstructions of incidents and friendships that shaped the writer’s life; a graphic novel style animated version of the story of Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who refused to believe World War II was over; and camera phone videos of people lashing out. The latter is perhaps a slightly inappropriate choice, as it comes somewhere after Manson’s feelings about the negative effects of social media’s “human highlights.”
Manson reveals his revelations without ever disclosing the source of his expertise or fleshing out his career arc – there’s a small chasm between claiming he’s only had one real job and becoming a best-selling author. (Manson went on to co-write Will Smith’s 2021 memoir.) But if “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@%!” helps people, its shortcomings as a movie don’t matter much.
The subtle art of not giving #@%!
Rated R. It already pushes things with that title. Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes. In theatres.