My Year Without Sex
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In cinema, the teasing allure of sexuality is usually being agonized by horny teenagers in coming-of-age raunchy comedies. My Year Without Sex plays with that concept but placing this struggle into a family drama. Sacha Horler (The Austrailian Patricia Heaton) plays Natalie a mother of two that abruptly has an aneurism.
It was lucky that she was already in a hospital when it happened. She was unconscious for several days while they performed brain surgery. She awakens looking bruised with a partly shaved head. She also gets the distressing news that this was just a “yellow card.” It could fatally happen again from any number of things including an orgasm.
So that means if she has sex again she could die. This causes the family life to become a little tenser, especially between Natalie and her husband Ross, played by Matt Day. Their evolution through the documented year is handled very well as they deal with the typical stress of a family. Throughout the year they have to deal with financial situations, random accidents, and all of the usual holidays. Writer-director Sarah Watt does a very good job of creating a typical year with all of its idiosyncrasies
The journey through the year is what makes this film work because it is such a realistic portrayal. It does lag near the end, but there are enough unique things Watt is doing that keep interest. She does a very good job of creating this world full of sexuality in billboards and advertisements. We’ve become trained to become accustomed to it. Even the yoga classes are suggestive in nature. Watt keeps it smart, but not holding your hand through the occasional imagery.
As Natalie searches for a new form of satisfaction she grows closer with her priest, Margaret played by Maud Davey the Australian Laura Dern. They use Christianity in a very modern way with a lot of doubt towards the institution. It is never a religious movie, but does use faith and luck as a worthy parallel to this story.
The subplots with the children are never bothersome, but too much time is devoted to them independently. They work better when it is relation to Natalie, but there wasn’t enough meat to the story of Louis (Jonathan Segat, the Australian “Robin William’s son from Hook). He is the only character who notices a lot of the sexuality scattered throughout society since he is on the cusp of puberty. Yet he is also struggling with the fact that he may not be interested in girls.
This was a movie made with a lot of intelligence directed towards character development and it definitely pays off.