New film explores the life of an incel

I read this review of a new film Cuck that has as its central protagonist a white nationalist ‘incel’, the label that involuntarily celibate men who are resentful that women spurn them, give themselves. Incels have been blamed for some of the mass shootings that the US regularly incurs.

It’s a character study determined to provide insight into the types of racist, sexist lunatics who spread fear and hatred via the barrel of a gun and, at least as a portrait of what makes these individuals tick, it’s as timely as it is depressing—and horrifying.

Before it heads down more contrived avenues that exacerbate its dearth of surprises, Cuck crafts an authentic vision of sexually aggrieved white nationalist psychosis. The crazy person in question is Ronnie (Zachary Ray Sherman), a California twentysomething who lives at home caring for his mom (Sally Kirkland, crowing like a prejudiced, pious loon) and, more frequently still, sitting in his dark bedroom, decorated with American flags and pamphlets for the military that won’t let him in because he failed his psych test. Habitually situated shirtless in front of his laptop, pizza and soda always within reach, Ronnie watches online video after online video of right-wing commentators—including his favorite star, Chance Dalmain (Travis Hammer)—ranting about the dangers of liberalism, immigration and diversity.

“Are you ready to take the red pill? Or are you just another cuck?” asks Chance at the end of one such screed. For viewers not familiar with this sort of language, he’s using the terminology of the incel (“involuntary celibate”) community, comprised of men who blame their lack of sex (and generally bad romantic fortunes) on women. The allusion to The Matrix’s “red pill” speech refers to incels’ belief that only they can see the truth: namely, that society is unfairly rigged against men like them, thanks to “Chads” (i.e. handsome, wealthy studs) getting all the “Stacys” (i.e. super-hot materialistic women), and all the “Beckys” (i.e. average women) coveting the “Chads” rather than settling for them. It’s an unhinged view of the world designed to put the onus for their failures on everyone and anyone but themselves.

In this regard, Cuck is incisive, affording a convincing peek into the life of the sort of friendless, sexless, still-living-in-his-mom’s-house catastrophe that eventually takes his self-loathing and resentment out on the public at large.

The review goes on to say that the latter part of the film is somewhat implausible and in explaining why, it contains some spoilers. Here’s the trailer.


  1. says

    At what point do we get to have intimate, sympathetic, here’s-what-happened movie making about someone OTHER than aggrieved white dudes on the road to Nazi-dom?

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