Sunday 20 November 2011

Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006) - Ed Blum

No, this isn't what you think it might be...

In fact, it's a rom-com in typically British, Love Actually style.  It takes place on Hampstead Heath, of all places, and provides snapshots into a variety of relationships - the beginning, the end; the young, the old; the good, the bad and the ugly.  The characters are portrayed by a wealth of British talent: Andrew Lincoln spying on a young girl whilst spending a pleasant afternoon reading with his wife; Adrian Lester and Catherine Tate in the process of a rather odd divorce; Ewan McGregor the promiscuous flirt, much to the annoyance of his gay partner; and Tom Hardy, the cheeky cockney intent on getting his end away. 

The narrative transpires in episodic fashion, jumping from scene to scene.  It offers a frank look at human relationships, addressing issues that in reality we may be unwilling to consider ourselves.  It almost has the feel of a theatrical play, the backdrop constant, the focus on the central characters.  Yet the structure is the film's biggest weakness.  The narrative spotlight shifts frequently, so the characterisation remains frustratingly shallow.  This, along with the pompous language, depicts the characters purely as stereotypes rather than real people, which is at odds to the film's concept.  Moreover, the scenes often end before their conclusion, leaving the outcome hanging in the balance.

It may not achieve its goals, but Scenes of a Sexual Nature is still a compelling and amusing piece of voyeurism.