Ex Machina: When “Good Guys” Deserve To Finish Last

Caroline Diezyn is back and better than ever as we take a good, hard look at Ex Machina

Please be warned that this article and the podcast contain spoilers… which would be a shame, because this movie is awesome.

Things start off like they normally do, talking about the other things we’re watching (Caroline has fallen in love with What We Do In the Shadows).

Once we get into Ex Machina, we both shared a love for the movie’s ability to make us feel like it was exactly one step ahead of us.

Then we get into a deeper look at the male characters, Nathan and Caleb, as well as technology, privacy, the uncanny, and the meaning behind the title.

What makes this episode so special for me happens around the 40:00 mark when Caroline gives a feminist reading of the text that goes over my head for a really long time. I’m honestly embarrassed to even include this section in the podcast because of how hard of a time I have in understanding just what the hell she is even talking about.

Ultimately, the reason that I decided to keep it is because I think it’s important, and I don’t think it’s an isolated case of me just being dense. Until this conversation, I had just assumed that I was a good feminist (or at least a good feminist ally). I thought I had done the work and now it was just a question of continuing to stand as a shining example to other men of how to behave. This conversation has stuck with me for the week or so since we recorded because it has made me question a lot of what I understand about myself.

I like to see myself as a supporter of women and I also like to see myself as a “good guy.” It had never occurred to me that the way I approach both of those ideas may not be compatible with each other. In having Caleb read to me as a dehumanizing tool who only cares about saving Ava because of his adolescent crush, it made me ask myself uncomfortable questions about my own sincerity in interacting with the women in my life. Because I identify with Caleb so strongly, when the film steps out of his perspective, I couldn’t understand why he needed to be punished. I empathized with his fear and confusion. The fact that I don’t have immediate answers to these feelings and questions lets me know that I have work to do.

So I’ve left it all in and I sympathize with those for whom it will be frustrating to hear yet another man being so insistently ignorant but I also hope that others may find their voice in mine so that they can struggle through the discomfort of learning why the “nice guy” Caleb any kind of hero after all.


Other NetFlakes content mentioned in this episode

Caroline has also asked me to let you know that the line she loved at the end that Nathan utters as he stumbles down the hallway is:

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.24.47 AM

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End credit music:

Worldcatcher / “Know Who You Are” / taken from Forest City Series Vol. 2 / 2015 / used with permission from A Person Disguised As People

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