Holy smokes. What did I get myself into? I knew going into this, it was about a girl having an affair with her mom’s boyfriend. What I didn’t know was, the said girl was 15.
15…having an affair with an a lot older man.
Okay let’s go through the ‘good’ stuff of this film. Bel Powley, the 15 year old, actually plays a convincing 15 year old despite being actually 23. The subject matter of being curious about sex and the need to be loved is done well. You can really see the naivety from our protagonist as she becomes addicted to having sex as she believes that is what love actually is. So Powley shines here in terms of that.
Kristin Wigg plays Bel’s mom and Alexander Skarsgård plays the boyfriend. I think both brings what was expected of them for this movie. Wigg plays the distraught mother who is having more fun doing her activities than being a role-model for her kids but then again its the 70s, times were different back then. Skarsgård has the right lines to play the affair boyfriend and the jerk who blames Powley about their affair than rather than himself for taking advantage of a 15 year old girl.
I would say I agree with what people are praising about this film which is largely that its honest and a bold way to explore coming-of-age type of films. But my biggest gripe with it is how it decided to portray the affair. It is brutally honest as you see a lot of nude and sex scenes and its pretty one-sided. Powley is 23 but she’s 15 in the story and its really awkward to watch a nude scene with at 15 year old and an adult man having sex. And it’s not just one or two, its like flashes of probably like 5 or 6 quick flashes of sex and than one long drawn out scene where she’s topless. This is totally my own morals and my line of comfortability. I actually interact with 15 year old so it was pretty strange and awkward to watch a film with a 15 year old having an affair.
The strange part about it is, the movie is rather artsy and uses a lot of ‘imagination floating around art’ to convey the narrative and I liked that part but its like why couldn’t it handle the sexuality in an artsy way? Sure it is being ‘real’ with the audience as instead of alluding to these acts happening, let’s just show you? I would be fine if she was an adult or whatever, but a 15 year old? That’s really drawing the line for me. But what have you, if you are fine with those sequences, you probably would enjoy the movie more than I actually did.
Another thing I appreciate it was the whole fact of how Powsley looked in the film. She looked pretty bland and average yet she attracted boys at school and her mom’s boyfriend. And it makes me wonder how realistic that is in terms of society. I mean it does point to the fact that some boys/men would totally be attracted to a person when sex is always on the table, no matter how that person looked physically or whether she was actually ‘attractive’. It does goes against the hollywood notion that only hot chicks gets busy.
So all in all, this movie is honest about coming-of-age in terms of how some teens deal with sex and love. The actors do what they need to do. Slight problems with its narrative but it’s more about personal taste than anything else.