Let me just start off by telling you that this movie was the first time I’ve ever turned my eyes away from a screen that had Nick Jonas on it.
Stereotypically, fraternity movies have two main themes: booze and brotherhood. Andrew Neel’s "Goat" certainly has its fair share of both, but the result is drastically different than the comedic portrayals of college in "Old School" or "Animal House."
The movie follows fictional Brookman University first-year Brad Land (Ben Schnetzer) through his time rushing and pledging the fraternity Phi Sigma Nu on campus. He walks onto campus wanting and expecting the frat lifestyle of his older brother, Brett (Nick Jonas).
Brett is a genius who is majoring in business, works out every day, gets all of the ladies and is worshipped by his fraternity. Why wouldn’t Brad want his life?
But Brett’s life isn’t as perfect as it looks. As a brother, he is obligated to harass the pledges … including his little brother.
A majority of the movie, which is based on a memoir of the same name, is a giant montage of Brett and the other brothers enforcing degrading and horrifying tasks that the pledges must complete. Referred to only as goats, the pledges are shown being forced to physically hurt one another, to sleep naked in cages and to drink ungodly amounts of liquor.
But it’s all justifiable because they get to party next year, right?
As the movie progresses, it slowly reveals the twisted reality of hazing, how it affects those that experience it and how they justify its importance in the “initiation” of a brother into a fraternity. The ultimate purpose of the movie is to provide people with a close and gut-wrenchingly brutal image of just how far the ritual can go.
There is no denying that the movie achieves this goal.
Ultimately, the representation of fraternity life in the film "Goat" is a bit exaggerated and not an accurate representation of how pledges are treated at a majority of universities. However, the main message of the film is still important.
The movie teaches that hazing is an act that, although considered a rite of passage by older brothers of the fraternities, is not condonable at a certain point. Furthermore, it is important for boys considering to rush fraternities to know that no Greek status is worth their pain, humiliation or even life.
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