A Vertical Entertainment Picture, Written and Directed by Karen Maine.
Over the years, we have had many coming of age stories focusing on young men and them discovering their sexuality, and increasingly recently we have had great coming of age stories about young women too. However, this story is very much about a young woman discerning her sexuality and self-pleasure, in the face of her massively religious family and environment.
The story is not auto-biographical but many of the themes and topics are based on the upbringing of writer/director Karen Maine, and you can definitely feel that attention to detail and personal connection.
Set in the early 2000s, the story revolves around a teenage girl (Natalia Dyer) who stumbles upon a chat room and begins to discover masturbation. However, she is brought up in a deeply religious family and most of the film is spent on her time at a Christian weekend camp.
While there, she battles her sexual urges, discovers the hypocrisy of the church and many of its members, struggles to understand who her true friends are, and finds numerous different ways to self pleasure.
This is definitely a comedy but deals with some very real themes as well, and there is a definite heart running through the film. I think this is a really great watch for many girls growing up, as much is made early on about male pleasure in society, but women finding pleasure is for some reason a much more taboo, and that needs to be changed.
The film features a funny supporting turn from ‘Veep’ standout Timothy Simons, who is hilarious in everything he is in and I really wish he had received more opportunities since ‘Veep’ ended.
This is very much Natalia Dyer’s film, and she proves again to be a very engaging actress and perfectly portrays that awkwardness of teenage years without ever going over the top or falling into cliche. She’s great in ‘Stranger Things’ but I hope she goes on to have a really interesting career after the show too.
This is a great coming of age story, a funny comedy, a strong exploration of sexuality, and a real VALIDATION for people who get turned on by ‘Titanic’ (the film not the boat).
Rating = 4/5