From Belgium, this ensemble drama explores issues of sexuality and relationships from some intriguing angles. Writer-director Laurent Micheli sometimes allows cliches to seep in amongst these six characters, but a loose tone keeps it realistic.
Here’s the set-up: When her boyfriend dies suddenly, Ana (Marie Denys) tries to distract herself from grief by indulging in anonymous sex. Her boyfriend’s younger gay brother Arthur (Tristan Schotte) is also sleeping with every man in town, including Ana’s friend Graciano (Gabriel DaCosta), whose girlfriend Dahlia (Adriana DeFonseca) doesn’t suspect anything when Graciano invites Arthur to crash on their sofa. And then there’s barman Louis (Arnaud Bronsart), who’s fighting with his girlfriend Leo (Severine Porzio) because he wants kids but she doesn’t.
The intertwined connections involve lots of sex in various places. And the film’s tone is enjoyably energetic, as the actors find lots of attitude in the characters even as the plot sends these people in darkly emotional directions. Everything is livened up in the middle, when the entire cast breaks out into a breezy musical number to show the passage of time, jumping ahead four months to a rather momentous camping trip together.
It’s when the more honest feelings start to emerge that the film gets even more engaging. And the actors are solid. Bronsart and Porzio get to play the most complex relationship here, as a couple trying to regain their momentum. And DaCosta is hugely charming as the sexy Graciano. His connections with both Schotte’s Arthur and DeFonseca’s Dahlia are full of surprising twists.
Because of the focus on six interlinked characters, the film sometimes feels like an extended episode of a melodramatic soap. But it’s involving as filmmaker Micheli touches on resonant themes while pushing these people in spicy directions. That said, the script kind of sidesteps more complex issues along the way, settling for somewhat generic commentary about things like repressed sexuality, random sex and homophobia.
But it’s sharply shot and edited, and the strong cast makes it pretty gripping while it lasts. This at least gives the illusion that there’s some depth in the story. And it also gives us some things to think about afterwards, which is never a bad thing.