A Disturbing Exploration of Family Dynamics in “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons”

A Disturbing Exploration of Family Dynamics in “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons”

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Entertainment, Published On
July 5, 2023

Certain movies develop that test the limits of acceptable behavior, break new ground, and explore controversial topics. The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” is an example of such a piece of literature. The controversial topic of incestuous connections within a family is explored in this short film directed by Ari Aster. The bold writing, disturbing images, and stellar acting in “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” challenge viewers to examine their own families in light of the worst aspects of human nature. In this post, we’ll analyze the film’s disturbing undertones and discuss how it affected viewers.

Tell Me More About It

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons

When “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” starts, Sidney, Joan, and their adolescent son Isaiah seem like the picture-perfect family everyone dreams of. Sidney, Joan, and their adolescent son Isaiah are presented in the first scene of “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” as the picture-perfect, blissful family unit. As the novel progresses, it becomes evident that the Johnson family is harbouring a sinister secret. The film’s non-linear storytelling style allows for the truth to be revealed in increments.

Isaiah’s incestuous connection with his own father, Sidney, is revealed over the course of several flashbacks. This news rocks the foundation of the seemingly ideal family and reveals the dark truth beneath their public front. As the plot develops, it becomes clear that this tragedy has lasting emotional and psychological effects on the family members. Defying conventional wisdom and long-held views of family ties, it illuminates the intricate power and control dynamics inside the Johnson family.

What Do We See in the Film?

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons

Isaiah’s conflicted feelings for his father and the knowledge that their connection is terribly wrong and damaging are at the centre of the film. It also shows Joan, Isaiah’s mother, in all her sorrow and uncertainty as she tries to make sense of the new family dynamic in the wake of this heartbreaking news. The film’s non-linear storytelling style allows it to bravely tackle the taboo topic of incest inside the family while also revealing a disturbing pattern of abuse and suffering.

Ari Aster’s decision to tackle a controversial topic raises eyebrows, forces awkward discussions, and tests the limits of acceptable narrative. The heart of “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” is an introspective look into the dynamics of a dysfunctional family.  The complexity of the Johnson family is explored in the film, prompting spectators to reflect on the strength of their own families and to face some unsettling realities about authority, control, and manipulation. It strips away the pretence of complexity and shows how abuse and trauma may affect future generation

The Taboo

Aster and his pals conceived the movie concept over dinner. We discussed taboo subjects, and one of the most popular was the idea of a son abusing his father. These were taboos that weren’t even taboos because they were so incomprehensible. That idea has no place in the movie industry. In the first scene, Isaiah (Carlon Jeffery) is masturbating when his dad, Sidney (Billy Mayo), walks in on him by mistake. Sidney tries to ease the uncomfortable atmosphere by assuring Isaiah that his behaviour is perfectly normal. If you knew going in that this film is about a father and son who abuse each other, you might be prepared for the painfully familiar dynamic of an adult manipulating a youngster. Aster, though, causes us to halt in our tracks and abandon all preconceived preconceptions.

The first of the film’s many surprising revelations occur when Sidney leaves his son’s room, and Isaiah is seen masturbating in front of a picture of his father. Sidney’s speech backfires on him because of how progressive it is. In Isaiah’s warped mind, Sidney’s description of his incestuous yearning as “natural” and “not taboo” makes perfect sense. This may be the incident that Isaiah alludes to later in the film when he blames Sidney for mistreating him.

The Bottom Line

Ari Aster and other directors have been moved by “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” because of how brave and willing it is to deal with uncomfortable topics. It has inspired a new generation of directors to explore dark and complex issues. This shows an audience hungry for stories that make you think and deal with social taboos. “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” is an excellent example of how movies can be used to talk about complex topics and start meaningful conversations. Its bold look at close relationships within a family pushes the limits of storytelling and questions social taboos.

Even though the movie is controversial, it has left a lasting impression on everyone who has seen it. It has led to conversations about family relationships, abuse, trauma, and the limits of artistic expression. “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” made a big impression because Ari Aster didn’t back down, the movie had an unsettling mood, and the actors gave it their all.


Is the movie appropriate for all ages?

No, it may be quite upsetting and triggering because of the violent and frightening material and themes. Caution is suggested for viewers.

How has the movie been received, and has there been any backlash against it?

The film’s reception has been largely negative. It has garnered both acclaim and criticism for its boldness. It has provoked heated discussions on where the lines should be drawn in society and how movies should deal with taboo subjects.

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