Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kissing On the Mouth

Kissing On the Mouth (Joe Swanberg, 2005) [6]
I was recommended this by Netflix, and the review was intriguing, so I thought I would give it a try. Aside from the truly hideous title and the cheap look that comes with being shot on DV, there are some moments and aspects of this film that really are done quite well. The plot is a melding of every kind of twenty-something form of angst you could get and form into a coherent form. All the bases are covered: sex, commitment, jealously, finding of purpose; they all converge into the characters of Patrick and Ellen as they grapple with life after college. Of course it's all done in the incredibly narcissistic way that most people of this generation handle their problems. Being of this generation, however, I find not this not really completely self-indulgent but to have some truth at times. These characters are obnoxious and the scenes aren't greatly revolutionary or complex but they have some truth to them and that's all that's being asked of them. Patrick and Ellen have been thrust into the real world and all its dealings, especially sexuality, and they are still completely unprepared for all the emotional repercussions that dealing in reality bring. Ellen thinks she's having meaningless sex with an ex, but it's not that simple. Patrick clearly has feelings for Ellen but can't express any of them beyond having shit-pantsed tantrums. For anyone else, these characters could have insufferable but they lay themselves out there to be exposed so much, it's hard to not take notice. Most of this has to do with the frank depictions of nudity and sexuality. Far from being titillating, it's mostly boring and not arousing in the least. Its uncomfortable nature is perhaps its strongest element. It forces the viewer to tackle not in terms of exciting sensuality but in terms of all the neurotic, needy feelings behind it.

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