Lena Dunham Puts a Twist on the “Lose Your Virginity” Film Genre

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The “dropping your virginity” cinematic subgenre will get an intriguing spin in Sharp Stick. That is the primary movie Lena Dunham has written and directed since 2011’s Tiny Furnishings. Within the intervening decade, she affected each tv (for the simpler, I’d say) and on-line discourse (no doubt for the more severe, regardless that it’s now not as though that may in point of fact be blamed on her) along with her hit display Women. Amongst different issues, that collection used to be recognized for its often-bracing strategy to sexuality, and Dunham applies that very same sensibility right here, regardless that to a lot more delicate ends than the widespread cringiness of Women.

Sara Jo (Christine Froseth) is extra unworldly than one would suppose a Los Angeles Gen-Zer now not cloistered by means of faith may well be. Regardless that 26 years previous, she is aware of nearly not anything about issues of intercourse — her preliminary interpretation of what a “blowjob” approach is totally literal. A brutal bout of endometriosis led to her to have a hysterectomy at 15 and undergo menopause at 17, leaving her trepidatious about intercourse ever since. “I don’t really feel my age, and I don’t really feel my frame,” she says. However she desires to modify that, and comes to a decision to get proactive about in the end doing the deed. Sadly, she comes to a decision the most efficient guy for the process is her employer, Josh (Jon Bernthal running on the top of his himbo powers). She acts as a caretaker for his kid with Heather (Dunham); the younger boy lives with Down syndrome. Josh is reticent, however simplest for so long as it takes for her — and him, after all — to speak himself into it. The affair is going about in addition to you are expecting, and within the aftermath of heartbreak, Sara Jo resolves to take additional regulate of her sexuality by means of creating a tick list of acts to accomplish and get extra revel in beneath her belt (with the intention to discuss).

From Sharp Stick

Froseth is acutely attuned to the details of an offbeat personality who will have simply been too stressful, too implausible, too uncomfortable to observe, or in a different way off in 100 alternative ways. The movie’s maximum spectacular feat is that it manages to string an exact needle with Sara Jo, with Froseth and Dunham’s script and course managing to make her adventure equivalent portions attractive, discomfiting, awkward, and endearing. The film is coping with a multitude of tough questions round consent and company, and understands that it’s extra essential to let the protagonist practice an arc that is smart than it's to carry the viewer’s hand with pat solutions to any of those problems. Sara Jo is an grownup and completely is aware of what she desires, however she’s additionally extremely naive, and the movie has to paintings via this case with out being overly treasured about her.

The place the film does stumble, it most commonly does so on account of its refusal to provide an explanation for what Sara Jo’s “deal” is. To start with viewing, I believed this used to be an admirably non-condescending tale about an an individual dwelling with undiagnosed autisim, however then in a while ahead of the Sundance premiere, it emerged that the creators can’t rather make a decision whether or not Sara Jo is meant to be neurodivergent (their present line is that she isn't). For a movie that reveals its biggest affect in specificity, that vagueness can also be irritating. Sharp Stick doesn’t at all times stick the touchdown with its thematic gymnastics, but it surely nonetheless manages an excellent regimen.

Sharp Stick is now enjoying in choose theaters, and shall be to be had on VOD August 16.