My Year Without Sex

My Year Without Sex

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

This comedy drama focuses on a year in the life of an ordinary family from the 'burbs. Ordinary, that is, until mum Natalie (Sacha Horler) suffers a brain aneurism near the beginning of the film."I wasn't stressed was I?" she asks, "I did yoga." Whether she was strung-out or not before the haemorrhage is debatable but, if she is to avoid a repeat incident of the one that nearly killed her, stress has to now be avoided and that also means she is medically forbidden to get jiggy with it with husband Ross (Matt Day) for the next year, less the excitement busts another blood vessel.

Although couched in terms of sex - the opening few minutes show how sexual images are virtually everywhere in modern life and the film's segments are all labelled with terms such as 'doggy style' and 'missionary position' - this film is more concerned with love and the trials and tribulations of the modern family unit, all drenched in Aussie attitude, of course. Writer/director Sarah Watt is interested in the lives of working class Australians and the everyday challenges, such as where to find extra cash for Christmas. And despite the life-changing event with which the film begins, it is less concerned with major drama than the minutae of family life, where a simple visit by the tooth fairy can come to signify much more.

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Testing a family for breaking points within a comic framework is not exactly new territory, but Watt's scripting is sharp and she plays fast and loose with audience expectation in the cliche department. The performances are also spot-on not only from Horler, whose incredible transformation from well to death's door and back again should ensure she gets plenty more work in future, but also from the younger stars Jonathan Sega, as Louis and Portia Bradley, as Ruby, who bring an enviable naturalism to their roles.

Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2010
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Film traces a year of recovery in a family hit by sickness.
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