Director – Sean Garrity – 2022 – Canada – Cert. 15 – 87m
A married couple’s attempts to rekindle their sex life while their kids are away for a week go horribly wrong – out on digital from Monday, July 3rd
Packing their two young daughters off in the school bus to Winter Camp, Josh (Jonas Chernick) and Emma (Emily Hampshire) suddenly realise they have a week free to do…what? Drive to gymnastics and sit in the parents’ waiting area? Then it dawns on her: we don’t have to close the door. We can be as loud as we want. But while their parenting is generally successful, their sex life is much less so, with an attempt at coitus leading both of them to fake orgasm.
Sex seems to be in the air. Emily takes the opportunity of having extra time available to visit an art gallery with her best friend Wendy (Melanie Scrofano) for an exhibition which turns out to include black and white photographic print enlargements of testicles, where she runs into old art college friend Marlon (Gray Powell) who she fancies and who, it transpires, is not only the gallery owner but also fantasized about her back in their student days. This reminds her that he often says stuff without any sort of filter.
At the ad agency where Josh works, meanwhile, his query as to whether an ad featuring a woman suggestively inserting a banana into her mouth is a bit too much is met with the response, it’s what the client wanted. Chancing upon a sex aptitude test in a magazine, he works through it and scores a depressing minus 83. His colleague Kelly (Lily Gao) claims to have orgasms far more frequently than his once a week. And a walk outside the office confirms she is not alone, with words above the heads of satisfied-looking passers-by reading things like “this morning”, “last night” and, in the case of a couple seated on a bench with her on his lap, “right now”.
Marlon subsequently turns up for a surprise visit to Emma at the high school where she teaches, and after leaving her classroom, returns and makes sudden, passionate love to her. Or at least, she fantasises in her mind that he does so. He is also taken with the paintings of a particularly talented 15-year-old girl Aisha (Eden Cupid), and hang already taken down the testicle photo show, acquires them for display in his gallery.
Josh and Emma try to think of ways to spice up their flagging sex life. They try a threesome, with Wendy invited over for dinner as the third person, but it transpires that Wendy, while not at all interested in Josh, has been secretly smitten with Emma for years.
At work, keen to help, Kelly suggests to Josh that he and Emma visit a sex club, only to find the members include her dad. And, worse still, her mum. Later on, they also try taking ecstasy. Will their experiences of seven days of freedom make a difference once the kids are back home?
The whole thing is very likeable and watchable and contains surprisingly small amounts of exposed flesh (scenes in the bedroom, for instance, involve women wearing T-shirts in bed). The parenting and sex subject matter makes this an obvious candidate for home viewing platforms, with its likely target audience stuck at home with the kids tucked up in bed rather than able to get out to the cinema of an evening, but that’s certainly no reflection on the calibre of the film.
Its approach makes a refreshing change from the usual boy meets girl romcom, and it’s perhaps surprising that plots like this aren’t far more common as one can imagine them as a popular home viewing subgenre. Visual media in the sex-obsessed Western world so often portrays romance and / or sex through rose-tinted spectacles, a be all and end all, whereas this little film bravely takes on that assumption to suggest that sex, while it may be important, might not be the be all and end all so often presented on our screens. No masterpiece, perhaps – it’s no Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn (Radu Jude, 2021) by a long way – but enjoyable enough on its own terms.
The End Of Sex is out on digital in the UK from Monday, July 3rd.