A short and sweet film about who men could be — if we let them.

We enter a gym, locker room, parking lot, wrestling ring, and office. Each environment throbs with testosterone and aggression. The tension rises as the men seem poised for conflict. They honk. They grunt. They grimace. They flex.

However, just as these confrontations appear ready to explode, an alternative reality arrives — one where traditional male conflict is converted into merriment, tenderness, and joy. Instead of duking it out or dressing each other down, they turn the gym into an adult playground, spoon inanimate objects, gift each other towel animals, gently massage each other’s hands, and joyfully bounce up and down in their cars.

The fantasy ends abruptly when one of the men catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. It dawns on him that he’s broken society’s code of masculinity, a realization that leads him to panic and lash out. The film concludes as each man comes to grips with the sad reality that he can never truly embody his authentic self.

Director’s Vision for ‘Oh Boys’

Growing up in Sweden, I never bought into traditional gender roles. I was the wild child who refused to go anywhere near a dress. My mum was an executive at a big company. My dad was the family cook.

After moving to the US, I experienced firsthand that not everyone felt so free. And it wasn’t just the role of women I found restrictive, but also the idea of what it means to be a man.

The term ‘The Man Box’ was coined in the 80’s to describe the strict expectations, emotions, and behaviors considered “manly” imposed on men by all of us — a narrow set of rules of how “real men” must act.

With this film, I hope to playfully point to the rigid structures we all abide by, so we can start to break free. If we stop allowing unhelpful societal norms to dictate how we act, there’s no limit to who we can become.