The Land of Steady Habits – Marketing Recap

Netflix’s marketing of THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS sells the story of a man whose mid-life crisis may just make things worse for everyone.

land of steady habits posterA mid-life crisis lies at the heart of the new movie The Land of Steady Habits. Ben Mendelsohn plays Anders Hill, a man who finds himself dissatisfied with the status quo of his life and so decides to quit his job in finance, divorce his wife Helene (Edie Falco) and creating a rift between him and his son Preston (Thomas Mann).

Unfortunately Anders finds the grass was not greener on the other side. Directionless and alone, he finds himself wandering stores in the hopes things will fill a void in his life, sleeping around and engaging in other reckless behavior. In the end he finds himself more at odds with himself and his pursuit of happiness than he was before.

The Posters

Anders standing in front of a massive wall of multi-colored towels and bathmats is a great choice of visuals for the poster. It shows how he’s up against the overwhelming odds of everyday life and is just trying to make sense of it all.

The Trailers

The first trailer, which premiered on Vanity Fair, shows Anders to be a nice guy who’s kind of a jerk. A good dad with no patience for his kid. A divorced husband who can’t stop hanging around his ex and is super-awkward on the dating scene. A disillusioned finance professional with no idea what he could do that’s more meaningful. In other words…kind of an ordinary guy. The basic story is laid out here, showing all the situations Anders and Charlie find themselves in as they try and figure life out while everyone around them offers their own opinions and thoughts.

What comes through most clearly here is that we need to start giving Mendelsohn some better, more wide-ranging roles. He can’t *always* play the bad guy and is charming and breezy in the trailer, as is the rest of the impressive cast.

Online and Social

No website or other online presence for the movie, though it did receive some support on Netflix’s Twitter account and Facebook page, though not as much as some other more high-profile releases and some of the other movies it was promoting at Toronto.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen here.

Media and Publicity

The movie was announced as one of those screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. Just before that director Nicole Holofcener was interviewed along with the other four female directors with Netflix-original movies coming out in the last few months of 2018. Mendelsohn talked about the movie and how it fits into his career during Toronto while Holofcener shared why she wanted to make a thriller and the freedom given to her by Netflix.


Quite frankly, it’s just nice to see Mendelsohn not play some conniving, mustache-twirling villain in a science fiction movie. The trailer sells a movie that’s a little funny along with being somewhat sad. Anders never really looks like a sympathetic figure, which may turn some people off, but it also looks a bit more realistic and emotionally honest for that.


Costar Elizabeth Marvel gets profiled, with a focus on how her role in the movie fits into her career as a whole.

Star Ben Mendelsohn had an interesting way of preparing for shooting and bond with his costars. He also showed up on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie and tell some other interesting stories.

Director Nicole Holofcener was interviewed on Recode Decode about working with Netflix and the different expectations the company has compared to most studios.
Another good profile of writer/director Nicole Holofcener.

Another interview with director Nicole Holofcener where she talks about what inspired the story and what it was like adapting a story for the first time.

Una – Marketing Recap

“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has become a Netflix hit with a lead character whose personality and optimism was undiminished by years spent as the captive of a criminal passing himself off as a religious leader. This week’s new movie Una presents a much more dramatic – and realistic – about the toll sexual abuse of minors takes on someone throughout their life.

Rooney Mara plays the title character, a grown woman still dealing with the emotional scars left by an affair she had with a much older man (Ben Mendelsohn) when she was just 13. Seeking answers as to why he did it, she searches for him. Eventually she finds him, but the confrontation opens wounds and leads to revelations that neither anticipated.

The Posters

The first poster, released before the movie had a U.S. distributor, places Mara and Mendelsohn next to each other, both of them simply looking at the camera relatively impassively. The only nod to the story is the explanation below the title that this is based on the play that apparently “shocked the world.”

“Absence makes the hurt grow stronger” is the copy that’s written on Mara’s cheek as we see a close-up of her face looking sadly slightly to the side of the camera. Those two elements are about all the hint we get about the story, but it’s clear it’s going to deal with some emotional trauma.

The Trailers

The first domestic U.S. trailer starts off with Una, still a child, testifying at the trial of the man who abducted her. Cut to her as an adult on the search for Ray and finding him living under a new name. She’s looking to confront him about what he did all those years ago and get some answers about why he did it. There’s obviously a lot of anger that she wants to get off her chest.

This is a much better effort than some of the earlier foreign release trailers, though they served to create awareness and keep the movie top of mind in the audience. Mendelsohn and Mara are both giving emotional performances, though hers is a bit more external than the internalized fear and regret he’s showing. The subject matter is, of course, disturbing, but it looks like a compelling and gripping story.

Online and Social

I couldn’t find a website for the movie, either on its own or on the sites for Swen or any other company involved in its U.S. release. There were a couple social profiles, but both seemed questionable for various reasons. Barring any other evidence, I’m saying there’s no official online presence for the movie.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve come across.

Media and Publicity

Photos appeared in Entertainment Weekly ahead of the movie’s Toronto Film Festival debut that provided the first glimpses at both Mara and Mendelsohn. The movie was also among those selected for the Telluride Film Festival.

While that Toronto appearance didn’t get universally positive reviews it did highlight the impressively deep cast that had been collected, something that Andrews talked about since it was quite a feat, especially since most of these actors are at the height of their buzz at the moment.

While the movie wasn’t screening at Sundance, it did get picked up by Swen during that festival in what was seen as the distributor’s first big move into the U.S. market. Swen eventually agreed to release it in the U.S. and gave it a fall premiere.

Mara was the feature of a Vanity Fair cover story where she talked extensively about the movie as well as her career in general and her overall outlook on life.


It’s not easy selling a story involving predatory sexual assault, which is absolutely the term to use when an older man preys on a teenage girl. Usually these stories involve dramatic quests for revenge or justice denied someone by the courts. Any story is going to come under fire for presenting a single point of view, one that may not be shared by all survivors of such trauma.

What the campaign does well is keep the focus on Mara’s Una. That seems commonsensical, of course, but it’s nonetheless notable for having actually been executed. It’s clear that she’s not only on a journey seeking answers but that she’s not sure what to expect when she reaches its end. Mendelsohn’s Ray, for his part, isn’t presented as a cipher for all that’s bad and creepy about men but about someone who did a very bad thing and has tried to pick up his life in the wake of that. Such an approach may seem like cheap rehabilitation of a sexual predator, but it’s likely the movie itself has angles that aren’t apparent in the marketing.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.