out of Five
Running time: 92
Mildly amusing, mostly tedious British drama that completely fails to live up to its provocative title.
What's it all about?
Scenes of a Sexual Nature is set entirely on Hampstead Heath over the course of a summer's day. It unfurls in real time and tells seven different stories, including: Iris (Eileen Atkins) and Eddie (Benjamin Whitrow), who meet for the first time after visiting the same spot weekly for almost 40 years; a gay couple (Ewan McGregor and Douglas
Hodge) discussing adoption and infidelity; and a just-divorced couple (Adrian Lester and Catherine Tate), who still have feelings for each other.
Smaller stories include: a husband (Andrew Lincoln) whose wandering eye gets him into trouble with his wife (Holly Aird); a weird young guy (Tom Hardy), harassing and then being harassed by an angry young woman (Sophie Okenedo); a couple on a disastrous blind date (Hugh Bonneville and Gina McKee) and a businessman (Mark Strong) meeting his lover (Polly Walker).
The acting is passable, but the film could have used a lot more humour – only Ewan McGregor seems to be enjoying himself and Catherine Tate, in particular, is completely wasted. That said, it's nicely photographed, even if it only serves to remind you that spending an actual summer's day on the Heath would be more fun than watching the film.
The problem is that none of the stories are developed properly, so it's hard to care about any of the characters. The only thread that generates a flicker of real emotion is the one with Atkins and Whitrow, but even that quickly becomes boring.
In addition, the script fails to exploit its premise – for example, a couple of the stories overlap but not in any meaningful or interesting way. The result is like watching seven tedious student films stitched into one.
This has a couple of good moments but is mostly something of a disappointment, particularly given the talent involved.