By Tom Charity from LOVEFiLM
A group of New Yorkers caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality.
Most helpful review
ShortbusBy SAI81 (360 reviews) from Tonbridge , 04 Dec 2006
[Highly rated reviewer]Sofia (Lee) is a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm. James (Dawson) and Jamie (De Boy) are a gay couple who are thinking of bringing someone else into their relationship. Severin (Beamish) is a dominatrix who wants to be able to be more intimate with people. All these people, and more, explore their sexual issues through the Shortbus parties thrown by Justin Bond (Himself).
The last few years have seen real sex come into mainstream cinema in a big way. Films like Intimacy, Baise Moi and Nine Songs have all featured lots of hardcore sex alongside (somewhat) mainstream stories. Now here comes Shortbus, hyped as the most explicit film the BBFC has ever passed at 18 and laden with positive reviews, the most memorable of which described it as 70's porn, as shot by Woody Allen.
The story and the characters (developed by Mitchell and the cast over two years in a Mike Leigh on viagra style) work really well. These are real people, interesting people, that you'll care about.
The acting is teriffic. Sook-yin Lee stands out as Sofia as does Paul Dawson as James but the film is almost stolen by Lindsay Beamish's sad dominatrix with the absolutely hillarious name (it's worth seeing the film just to hear her reaal name). The script fizzes with humour, particularly in the Shortbus party scenes ('It's like the 60's but without the hope') but then once in a while the film takes a twist and ends up wringing real emotion from you.
The film also looks lovely, an CG animated version of New York, used to introduce us to the space and characters is particularly outstanding and the whole thing feels more cinematic than something like Baise Moi or Nine Songs.
However there's a large downside. I'm not a prude, I have no problem with real sex in cinema but for all Mitchell's saying that the sex in Shortbus serves the story...IS the story... it actually only ever takes away from the film. I understand that the sex is an important part of the film; a large part of it is about Sofia's quest for an orgasm (and ends in, if you'll pardon the pun, rather an anti-climax) but there's no reason for it to be hardcore at all. Indeed of all the films that have used hardcore sex recently this is the one where it feels most gratuitous, perhaps because at the heart of Shortbus is a sweet funny story about several people trying to find themselves in various ways. Done with just a little more subtlety, even if the certificate were still 18, this film could have found a broader audience. Including a gay threesome which culminates in one man singing the star spangled banner into another's arse rather precludes that and that's a shame.
When it is character comedy Shortbus is excellent but by trying to push the envelope John Cameron Mitchell has shot himself and his film in the foot.
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A totally explicit film with a good storyBy SteviePS3Gamer (11 reviews) , 03 Oct 2013The only sexually explicit film with the realism on film to go with it and good acting to boot. You have to put this at the top of the gay themed films to watch. It might not be good for a typical straight-ish guy though, unless he is open minded.
Daring but good.By Storymaker (19 reviews) , 21 Apr 2013Shortbus certainly goes where no film dare to go, which makes it interesting. I guess in parts i thought it more of a glorifed pornography, however look a little beneath and its got an ok storyline to it, with some deep parts.
Explicit new York storiesBy rav42 (60 reviews) from Romford , 03 May 2012Based around the titular short lived club, short us has generated a lot of noise because of the unsimulated sex acts that are in the film.
In reality it's a modern more visually sexual version of Steven Soderberghs sex lies and videotape, though not as good. We are treated to a discourse on a number of new yorkers and the sexual politics of their lives and it's all interconnected by the backdrop and shortbus.
I found this a cold film and no where as accomplished as sex lies because it felt there was little narrative drive. I didn't care about any of the characters the sex scenes weren't particularly sexy.
If you hada connection with the club maybe there was something the for you, otherwise I'd get your thrills elsewhere
The only really interesting thing was the innovative transitions using a modelof new York(particularly Mahattan) which was fun and different.
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Intriguing, thought provokingBy RaoulM (5 reviews) , 15 Apr 2012
[Highly rated reviewer]A very New York type of film. The cast are okay to look at [which is important as they all seem to spend a lot of time nude] and can act well enough. The story seemed a bit odd, very self referential. Actually despite the fact that the sex was real, I don't think it was pornographic. Except maybe a little bit with the therapist and her husband working through most of the postions in the Kama Sutra in one go. Intriguing. would I watch it again? Yes probably.
Excellent film that goes where other movies dare not goBy a customer , 11 Feb 2012This is not your typical US movie. It's a gritty drama about a guy who is in a relationship with a partner who really loves him but his self-loathing makes him want to commit suicide.
Its focus is on self-discovery and acceptance that it is okay to be different. Talented cast, never dull, doesn't pull any punches and a real treat to watch ground breaking drama.
The movie has great sound tracks, especially Jay Brennan's contributions.