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Shortbus (2006)

DVD Cover (THINKFilm)
Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film, Sex Comedy, Urban Drama
John Cameron Mitchell John Cameron Mitchell
Paul Dawson Paul Dawson
Lindsay Beamish Lindsay Beamish
Adam Hardman Adam Hardman
Sook-Yin Lee Sook-Yin Lee
Raphael Barker Raphael Barker

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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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. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 07, 2007
Written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell and cast entirely through online submissions, to say "Shortbus" is an experimental film would be an understatement. It is, without a doubt, the most sexually explicit and adventurous mainstream film ever released into theatres. It takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of scenes and sequences that are either going to make your eyes wide with wonder of your stomach turn from nausea. I found the film to be inspiring, moving and one of the most captivating cinematic experiences I have ever had - how's that for a plug?

The film follows a group of New Yorkers as they each struggle with some sort of identity problem. We have Sofia (Sook Yin-Lee), who can't have an orgasm. We have James (Paul Dawson), who hates what he is and wants to die. We have Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a dominatrix who wants a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone...anyone. And, we have Caleb (Peter Stickles), a stalker who wants to do more good than harm. Those are four of the primary characters in the film, though we're introduced to a plethora of individuals who all flock to a salon called Shortbus, where the 'gifted' and 'challenged' go to frolic, play and - well - you get the picture.

What separates this film from ordinary porn is its heart. Director John Cameron Mitchell doesn't shy away from filming the sexual scenes as up front as possible, but he also manages to infuse each and every scene with a tint of comedy...or drama...or absolute absurdity. This is what separates this film from ordinary porn - it has a story, strong performers, and an apt and brilliant director. It also helps that Mitchell has an ear for music and pumps the soundtrack full of outstanding indie rock tracks, most notably from New York based singer/songwriter Scott Matthews, who performers most of his songs in the actual film - his gruff appearance looking more Amish than indie rocket. And the mistress of Shortbus, Justin Bond, closes the film with a fantastic torch song.

"Shortbus" was the best film I have seen in ages, for a number of reasons. It leaves a lasting impact on you because it deals with many issues, most sexual, that all of us deal with from time to time, whether it's not satisfying the way we want to, not feeling comfortable in our own skin, or simply getting frustrated at something we cannot do or obtain. But, the film is also about a group of rather lonely people in a city so large and so expansive. This city is shown through gorgeous animation that looks more like Michel Gondry that anything else. "Shortbus" is a one-of-a-kind movie experience and I recommend it to everyone. But, beware - it's a little graphic.

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Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #1: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 04/19/2007, 08:33 AM
I wasn't able to be as fully captured by this movie as bluemeanie was which I think is partly due to how some of the playful material was handled (though not particularly speaking about any of the pornographic scenes) and also because I felt it wasn't doing something properly, though I can't seem to put my finger on the exact department which it was lacking in. Nonetheless, I still think it's a fine film that touches.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 03/10/2009, 11:42 PM
I knew this film was unrated, but holy Christ. It was a touching and fun film that I really enjoyed, but a 10/10 is a bit ridiculous. Like Kari said, there was just something missing.

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