THE LITTLE DEATH | MOVIE REVIEW

Yay to Aussie films, even more yay to films that deal with the taboo subject of sex, even more yay if they are funny :). Kernel Kate Bradley headed along and reviewed THE LITTLE DEATH, the new film from Aussie comedian Josh Lawson.  THE LITTLE DEATH is currently in cinemas, and again I must apologise for not posting prior to release – you can keep blaming the Balinese food and cocktails and Bintang for the next ten articles coming to you. THE LITTLE DEATH is released from EOne Australia and NZ, it runs for 97mins and is rated MA15+. Enjoy Kates review…….all the best……..JK.

 

THE LITTLE DEATH MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE LITTLE DEATH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY KATE BRADLEY

Do you know who Josh Lawson is? Given you actually bothered to click on the link to this review, chances are you do, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising if you didn’t. Truth be told, if I hadn’t worked as a receptionist for Lawson’s agent in Sydney about a hundred years ago, you’d have to get me on a good day to remember him as the Australian guy from ANCHORMAN 2. Despite a prolific and impressive career both here and in the US, the Queensland born actor has somehow slipped under the radar in terms of instantly-recognizable-off-the-street talent – a situation that may be rectified once his directorial debut THE LITTLE DEATH hits cinemas for public consumption.

THE LITTLE DEATH is a genuinely hilarious comedy about the secret sex lives of four suburban couples and their individual fetishes, each titillating tale loosely connected by location and circumstance in a small-world LOVE ACTUALLY kind of way. Suffice to say this is no ordinary Rom-Com. You will find no whimsical voice-overs from Hugh Grant on the subject of love but instead, a series of outlandish scenarios as a member of each couple tries to indulge their sexual fascination. Richard Curtis is going to wish he thought of this first.

 

THE LITTLE DEATH MOVIE IMAGE
THE LITTLE DEATH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | DAN (DAMON HERRIMAN) AND EVIE (KATE MULVANY) (I THINK)

 

Despite the risqué subject matter, THE LITTLE DEATH is surprisingly tasteful. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say this is a safe movie to take your Gran to, but to make a second comparison, that family-friendly holiday classic LOVE ACTUALLY shows more superfluous nipple than this film. In fact, there’s next to no nudity in THE LITTLE DEATH, no member of the cast is sexualized and the more controversial fetishes are handled with relative sensitivity. For example, THE LITTLE DEATH opens on the story of Paul and Maeve, played by Lawson and Bojana Novakovic (NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN). When Maeve asks a confused Paul to partake in her rape fantasy, admittedly it is not a promising start on the sensitivity scale. It is simple fact that a story about a woman’s rape fetish written by a man is never going to look good on paper. As the story unfolds, however, there’s no speculation regarding the psychology of the fetish, nor does it glamourize actual rape in any way. Instead, the focus is on Paul – the sweet, lovely, kind boyfriend who loves Maeve with all his heart but is struggling to understand how to fully satisfy her. Presented in this way, the Paul/Maeve story may not sound as interesting but it is far more honest and, I’m sure, relatable.

And therein lies the charm of THE LITTLE DEATH – in the midst of the farcical antics, nearly every couple’s story is grounded by an emotional truth. Rowena, a woman with dacryphilia (arousal at the sight of someone crying), is trying to get pregnant with her husband. Phil, a man with somnophilia (arousal by watching someone sleep), is pining for the simpler, happier times of his worn-down marriage with Maureen, played by Lisa McCune. Without these truthful motivations, the stories would seem convenient and silly, which is demonstrated in the weakest link of the film, the story of Dan who, after trying to fix his uncommunicative marriage with roleplaying, decides he wants to become an actor. While initially seeing Dan take the roleplaying far too seriously is very funny, ultimately the one-note joke outstays it’s welcome.

 

THE LITTLE DEATH MOVIE IMAGE
THE LITTLE DEATH | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PAUL (JOSH LAWSON) AND MAEVE (BOJANA NOVAKOVIC)

 

Easily the highlight of the movie comes right at the end – a fifth narrative of Monica, a sign language interpreter working at a video-call relay service for the deaf, calling a phone-sex line on behalf of Sam. Guys, this is the most hysterical and adorable ten minutes ever. These characters barely make an appearance in the bulk of the film but endearing performances from Erin James (Monica) and T.J. Power (Sam), teamed with funny “dialogue” and expertly timed visuals make for a beautiful post-script to the other strands, demonstrating the heart-warming potential of new, kinky love.

From the performances of the flawless cast to the clean and effective cinematography, THE LITTLE DEATH is a well thought out film that feels effortless. Don’t expect any particular insight into sex, love or the relationship between the two. Much like the act of sex itself, the trick is not to think about it too hard – just relax and have fun with it. Preferably with another person. Or with a group of people, whatever floats your boat, as long as you’re all comfortable with each other. THE LITTLE DEATH will make you laugh but there’s enough intelligence and sincerity in the story telling to leave you with that warm, snuggly, post-coital feeling. This is one worth checking out.

 

4 Pops