Director: Clément Virgo | 93 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Lauren Lee Smith, Eric Balfour, Polly Shannon, Mayko Nguyen, Michael Facciolo, Kate Lynch, Ron White, Kristin Lehman, Don Francks, Richard Chevolleau, Frank Chiesurin, Nicola Lipman, Theresa Tova
An erotic movie? An art-house film? Responsible porn? “Lie with Me” seems like it all, but it is actually not the latter. Erotic, but not in a Playboy-esque way, art-house, but unpretentious, or vague, he seems pornographic, but is essentially not voyeuristic, except for one boring lovemaking scene. The others are indeed “functional”. In fact, “Lie with Me” (note the ambiguity of the title) is about the quest of a woman who wants intimacy and, like so many of her generation, flees into the world of sex and all the power games that go with it.
The way in which her sexuality is approached is not commonplace and certainly not for an American film. It is very personal and often comes very close. Sex plays a major role in her life; it is often discussed and sometimes shown in which both female and male genitals can be seen, also in a state of arousal. Quite refreshing, because not frumpy and essentially all casual, which looks natural. Very nice actually, because the film seems to show things “as they are” and manages to avoid the pitfall of just a little too nicely designed pseudo porn.
The Sex in this film is also a bit nasty and frustrating. Beautiful scene when Leila picks up a boy and wants to force him to make her feel something while they make out: “you’re not making me come, make me come!” This is an example where her frustrations are nicely illustrated, other times she talks about it in a voice-over, which is usually too explanatory.
So the movie has a story and that story is pretty good. The subject matter is personal and a bit raw, which suits the nature of the protagonist Leila, an excellently cast Lauren Lee Smith, who has gone quite bare, literally and figuratively. Quite a challenge for the actress she absolutely is. With a film like this she will not “break through”, because of the strict rating in America too few people will have seen it.
Others may have started seeing him because of the sex. These people have most likely been disappointed, because it is not all that intense, except on the personal level. The film therefore belongs under the heading drama. And romance: are the two young lovers meant for each other, or do they continue to retreat to their world of frustration and power games? The answer, which of course cannot be read here, feels real and is credible, certainly towards the end. A satisfying movie.