'The Power of the Dog' takeaways: Netflix film talks about toxic masculinity and false appearances

Still from Netflix's The Power of the Dog starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Image via IMDb)
Still from Netflix's The Power of the Dog starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Image via IMDb)

Mean Cowboys and ranches are back in business with Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer The Power of the Dog.

Directed by Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog revolves around Phil Burbank, a ranch owner and a very abusive, dominant man who psychologically terrorizes his brother George, his wife Rose, and her son Peter. The film is an adaptation of Thom Savage's 1967 novel of the same name.

The Power of the Dog is produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier, Jane Campion, and Tanya Seghatchian.

Takeaways from Netflix's 'The Power of the Dog'


The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the leads along with Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy, Peter Carroll and Adam Beach.

It's quite a thought-provoking film, so let's jump into the takeaways from The Power of the Dog and learn more about them.

Toxic masculinity is its own character

In The Power of the Dog, toxic masculinity looms large, to the extent that it feels like its own character. Embodied by the hyper-macho, abusive, self-righteous Phil, this toxicity hovers over everyone and everything.

Phil's unacceptable and bullying behavior towards a widow is the very example of toxic masculinity. The way he is always watching Rose, observing her every move and trying to push her into spiraling feels like death to her. Phil's footsteps don't just echo, they boom and crack thunder, sending chills down Rose's spine.

Things get worse when her son Peter arrives as she now fears Phil's influence on Peter might turn him into the same type of man. She is now rarely ever sober, constantly hungover and ill, making viewers understand Rose's worries as a mother.

Don't fall for false appearances

Viewers will never root for Phil in The Power of the Dog, knowing how toxic his aura is and how much he dreads a woman like Rose. But at one point, they might feel something for him when he hints at his love for Bronco Henry, which says a lot about false appearances.

Peter, the character who brought the biggest plot twist in the film, is also one of the representations of false appearances in the film. He is seen as a delicate and soft-spoken character. But it is clear, that even after getting bullied by Phil, he is not afraid and eventually gets to work with him. The film showcased Peter as a fragile character, much in contrast to Phil's personality. However, that is completely changed when he ends up killing Phil for his mother's happiness.

Overall, The Power of the Dog, streaming on Netflix, is a must-watch film that takes its viewers through a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts.

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Edited by Rhythm Bhatia