brilliantlove (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/11/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Impressively directed, superbly acted British drama with cleverly edited sex scenes and a strong sense of physicality, however the characters are irritating and the film ultimately becomes too pretentious for its own good.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ashley Horner, brilliantlove (already re-titled The Orgasm Diaries for the US) is set in an unnamed small English town and stars Liam Browne and Nancy Trotter Landry as Manchester and Noon (crazy names, crazy people), two uninhibited hipster artist types who live in a garage and spend all their free time having sex. Between shag-fests, Noon experiments with taxidermy (which, she explains twice, is all about “rearranging the skin”), while Manchester's artistic endeavours involve taking photographs of the pair of them during sex; he also encourages Noon to record an Orgasm Diary on a series of cassettes, which we occasionally hear in voiceover.

When businessman-slash-erotic-enthusiast Franny (Michael Hodgson) finds some of Manchester's photos in a pub, he offers him a gallery exhibition. However, Manchester somehow neglects to inform Noon that their intimate photos are the show's centrepiece and she's understandably pissed off when she finds out.

The Good
Browne and Landry deliver committed, physical performances that perfectly capture the intensity of a new relationship; they're also extremely convincing as bohemian hipster artist types in that they're both deeply irritating and narcissistic. On top of that, there's a child-like naivety to both performances that backfires somewhat in that it makes them seem a bit simple.

The (frequent, multiple) sex scenes are extremely well edited, in that they give the impression of explicit sex without actually showing anything that might get them into trouble with the BBFC. There is also, it has to be said, an awful lot of masturbating – so much so, in fact, that you wonder whether it's meant as a sort of ironic self-commentary.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the second half seems increasingly contrived and simplistic, with the gallery section forcing both characters to behave in ways that don't really ring true. Ultimately, the film becomes too pretentious for its own good, though it does at least provide a textbook example of why you should never attempt auto-erotic asphyxiation in a candlelit room.

Worth seeing?
If you can handle the pretentiousness, brilliantlove is ultimately worth seeing thanks to bold direction and committed performances from its two leads.

Film Trailer

brilliantlove (18)
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Content updated: 26/09/2018 09:34

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