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shortbus: instant classic

kirk and i saw shortbus last night, and loved it. the times has a great review (registration required).

i’ve written about it earlier–it’s the new movie from john cameron mitchell, the creator of hedwig. he wanted to make a movie that celebrates sex, and depicts it graphically and honestly in the context of story, plot, and art.

and wow, did he succeed.

the characters are all on a journey to reorder their lives for a variety of reasons. and through sex, they embark on a voyage of self-discovery that is honestly and beautifully depicted–more so than in any film in recent memory. it’s the movie that robert altman should have the guts to make, but probably doesn’t.

and the sex is real, human, hysterically funny, tender, shocking, outrageous, and occasionally degrading–just like sex in real life, and most unlike most cinematic sex.

but ultimately, the movie for me wasn’t so much about sex as it was about control. self-control, the difficulty with reclaiming control ceded to others, and the difficulty in knowing when to cede it yourself. sex is the vehicle that’s used to flesh out the concepts (so to speak), but to say this is a movie exclusively about sex is to miss the point entirely, i think.

and, oddly enough, it’s the feel-good date movie of the year, a movie with its heart on its sleeve, with the happiest of happy endings that sends you from the theater on an emotional high, more appreciative than ever of the relationships in your life. after seeing the process that the characters collectively go through, and where they collectively are at movie’s end, you know that, with someone you love at your side, there’s nothing you can’t work out, together, ever.

the movie is clever, honest, beautifully filmed, riotously funny, tender and tragic, and above all, real. really really real. and a poignant love letter to new york city as well–through the content, the characters (the faux ed koch is perhaps the best character in the movie) and through the device mitchell uses for scene transitions (i won’t spoil it for you, but it’s stunningly gorgeous).

in these times where so much is repressed that we no longer have the perspective to determine the extent of our represssion, this movie is the perfect reset button. go see it, get some perspective back, and be reminded of just how wonderful life is.

oh, and how wonderful sex is, too.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] kirk says i tend to speak in superlatives. it’s a fair statement. i cheerlead a bit for the things i like. but i mostly don’t blather on about the things that stink, because they aren’t worth my time. and i don’t even mention a lot of the things i like a lot. i saw “the prestige” this week, and liked it a lot, but it ain’t “shortbus”, so i’m not going on about it. […]

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