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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

How to Have Sex - Review (London Film Festival 2023)

Best Holiday Ever. 4.5 / 5

Directed by Molly Manning Walker.

Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday—drinking, clubbing and hooking up, in what should be the best summer of their lives.

The idea of a booze-fuelled trip to party islands like Malia or Ibiza has never really appealed to me. So a film like How to Have Sex already left me feeling uneasy even before it revealed its nauseating yet important message.

Molly Manning Walker delivers one of the strongest British debuts in years. Beginning in recognisable territory with pulsing club music and friendship setting the familiar tone of a coming of age story, the film takes a bold and stylistic change halfway through as we follow Mia McKenna-Bruce's journey. The music fades, the editing becomes less energetic and the shots become longer and stiller. The reflective silences force the characters and the audience to be present and address the events head on.

Mia McKenna-Bruce as Tara gives a beautifully authentic performance, you get locked into her isolated headspace as what isn't said becomes more important than the words spoken. The performances of the cast throughout feel so genuine which only makes the world it builds feel more natural and a stark reflection of our own harsh reality.

An important conversation starter makes this essential viewing for all but especially the young adult audience to consider the effect of their actions - to let this fictional work be a reminder that impacts real life behaviours - a tough but necessary watch crafted with the care and attention it deserves.

Written by Jack Aling Read his latest reviews at:

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