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HomeMovieHow to Have Sex movie review & film summary (2024)

How to Have Sex movie review & film summary (2024)


Staying in a room with an adjacent balcony is another friend group: Badger (Shaun Thomas), a goofy, gregarious ham with an oversized kiss-print neck tattoo, Paddy (Samuel Bottomley), an arrogant, one-track party boy, and Paige (Laura Ambler), a mostly quiet peripheral character whom Em sets her sights on. When these two groups link, the limits of their livers are doubly put to the test, and with it, dynamics become messy at best and traumatizing at worst as jealousy, consent, and the fear of “not having fun” collide and collapse.  

The visual style of “How to Have Sex” is one of the film’s most trademark features, and with Walker’s background as a cinematographer, this comes as no surprise. The neon-flushed, buoyant energy of the girls’ liquor-soaked nights are in stark contrast to the static harshness of daylight and Crete’s sand-colored facades. Boosted by the film’s empathetic editing, which thrusts the viewer into a vicarious hangover with quick cuts between these states, the differences of day and night are made almost painfully apparent. 

These energies between feral nights and afternoon recoveries are not the only elements at play in “How to Have Sex.” In fact, the entirety of the film is poignantly defined by the grating volatility within female friendships, sexual desire, and where they intersect. 

While the film revolves around the trio of girls, it’s Tara who becomes central. In her goal to lose her virginity, we see her teetering on the edge of making moves, but nervously withdrawing. It attests to the idea of wanting to be ready versus actually being so, and the prioritization of an end goal over an experience. It’s an ever-familiar experience of teen girlhood, a pressure applied not only by peers, but by oneself. She’s taken with Badger, but between slandering selectivity in the process of getting laid and the party hard propaganda there’s a line that’s overstepped; Tara is subjected to a dangerous power play within an overwhelming “don’t spoil the fun” environment. 

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