The Little Death – Film Review
Australian actor/writer Josh Lawson makes his directorial debut in this comedy, which was voted second in the 2014 Sydney Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature. The Little Death, derived from the expression ‘la petite mort’ (which the French use to describe an orgasm), is a comedy about sex, love, relationships and taboo.
The film revolves around the secret sex lives of five seemingly ordinary couples. Maeve has a fantasy that Paul struggles to fulfil, Evie and Dan try to role-play their way out of a rut, Rowena discovers she only gets turned on when her husband Richard cries, while Phil finds a newfound romance for his mean-spirited wife Maureen when she’s asleep.
First things first, this is a very funny film. It passes the six laugh test within five minutes. It is sharply written and well performed as it romps its way through the different relationships. In a very Australian fashion, it’s not scared to take a few risks for comedic value either. There are a bunch of jokes that revolve around some pretty edgy stuff.
The nature of the narrative – flitting between one couple and the next – does result in it feeling more like a long sketch show rather than a coherent movie though. This isn’t helped by the fact that the occasional links between stories aren’t particularly strong nor are the separate threads brought together especially well at its conclusion. The jumbled nature of the narrative and its slightly unsatisfactory story arc are best illustrated by the fact that the most interesting relationship barely features until the very end. Monica and Sam become caught up in a chaotic and hilarious dirty phone call but, just as we are starting to really care about these characters, the credits roll. I could have done with a lot more of them, to be honest.
That said though, The Little Death is unquestionably entertaining from start to finish. With more laugh-out-loud moments than most comedies you will see this year, it’s snappy, daring and well-observed. There is huge potential in Lawson as a writer (he also stars in the movie, by the way) if this flawed but funny film is anything to go by. Well worth a watch.
The Little Death is released 25 September 2014
Review by Bobby Townsend