As the film goes on, the so-called “message” or “purpose” of the movie is called into question several times by Jonah Hill himself. At one point, Hill actually speaks out about the film’s false portrayal of “vulnerability” on his part — pulling back the curtain to reveal that he’s been struggling immensely with what he wants this movie to be and that they’ve shot hours of footage across many different months in a vain attempt to craft some sort of story.
The ultimate goal though, as prefaced in the opening minutes of the film, was to create a comprehensive documentary about Phil Stutz and present his teachings to the world at large — which the film succeeds in tremendously. “Stutz” depicts a detailed account of Stutz’s life right up to the modern day, from his growing up in Manhattan to his early psychiatric work on Rikers Island to his development of “The Tools” and his tragic diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. On top of this portrait of his life, the film also dives into all of “The Tools” that Stutz has developed over the years to help his patients tackle their mental health issues — including specific exercises like “The Shadow,” “Life Force,” “The Snapshot,” “The Grateful Flow,” and “The Reversal of Desire.”
Although Jonah Hill may have had some early concerns about the true purpose of “Stutz,” in the end he accomplished both of the goals that prompted him to create this film — presenting the best of Phil Stutz’s tools to a wider audience, and creating a detailed biopic that encompasses Stutz’s life, and the unique patient-doctor relationship Hill and Stutz share.