Everyone loves to have a sneaky listen in to their fellow humans’ conversations in a park. People watching is one of the best free entertainments we have. This is especially the case in the summer. We are a curious creature and Ed Blum takes us on a journey through a multitude of couples, young, old, on a blind date or amid a divorce in Scenes of a Sexual Nature. Blum allows us to listen to all of those conversations in the safety net of not getting caught.
On the lush green lawns of London’s Hampstead Heath. A variety of couples commune and sort through their assorted romantic dilemmas. Brian (Douglas Hodge) asks his partner, Billy (Ewan McGregor), to cease his constant carousing. Gerry (Hugh Bonneville) and Julia (Gina McKee) slog through what appears to be a very bad blind date. Meanwhile, Iris (Eileen Atkins) gets a blast from the past when she encounters a man she had a fling with 50 years earlier.
The non-linear pattern works marvelously with this type of production by going back and forth between the couples and it doesn’t utilise the trope of having one character connecting all of the stories. We see Tom Hardy’s Noel throughout, but he is as close as it gets as a connection. This is a free-flowing look around the lives of people in a park and in that regard it works very well.
While trying to discuss love, sex and relationships, there is an evident struggle in Scenes of a Sexual Nature of the audience being introduced to all of these interesting characters only to promptly leave them after their short arcs are completed. The sense that we have spent this short time with them without learning anything truly substantial about them.
All of the characters are with us fleetingly and you have to wonder if the premise of the film would have been suited more so to a television series where a couple of scenarios an episode is delved into. This would allow the audience to feel a bit more about the characters and their situations. It is a shame as all of the characters and their experiences well written. The film just needed more time with each as we are left wondering what happened next with each on that summer’s day on the Heath.
The stories are hit and miss and due to the sheer volume of stories involved in Scenes of a Sexual Nature you do not have to wait overly long before you find a story that resonates with you. This is the strength of the film in my opinion. By not having stories that everyone will love it allows for a wider audience to enjoy it. There is something for everyone here and also depending on what mood you are in or how your feelings on love and relationships are at that point you may appreciate the story of a couple more than you did previously. These are characters going through such a wide scope of their lives that it feels purposeful to now have to resonate with all of the stories on the first watch. It is certainly a film that grows on you with repeat viewings.
The star of the film, however, is not the actors, but Hampstead Heath itself. It’s varying locations offer up so many options for encounters and under this summer’s day, looks beautiful. Blum has purposefully made sure to show his audience how enjoyable it is here when the sun and crowds are out. While there are multiple name actors in this large ensemble. No one specifically stands out and for a film like this, which is okay. If someone did stand out more than the others then you would imagine they would force you to be the focus of the film. So by having everyone excel in their performances the film becomes stronger for it.
Scenes of a Sexual Nature is quite the under-rated British gem that is excellently written by Aschlin Ditta and Ed Blum. This is a free-flowing observational drama through the complexities of love and relationship that grows on you with repeat viewings.
Signature Entertainment Presents Scenes of a Sexual Nature on Digital Platforms now and Amazon Prime Streaming 4th December.
I am but a small website in this big wide world. As much as I would love to make this website a big and wonderful entity. That would bring in more costs. So, for now all I hope is to make Upcoming On Screen self sufficient. Well enough to where any website fees are less of a worry for me in the future. You can support the website below…
You can support us in a variety of ways (other than that wonderful word of mouth) and those lovely follows. If you are so inclined to help us out then you can support us via Patreon, find our link here! We don’t want to ask much from you, so for now we have limited our tiers to £1.50 and £3.50. These will of course grow the more we plan to do here at Upcoming On Screen.
Thanks for reading, every view helps us out more than you would think (we have fragile egos). Until next time.