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Scenes of a Sexual Nature - art house and international DVD / romantic comedy DVD / drama DVD review
SCENES OF A SEXUAL NATURE Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Ewan McGregor, Hugh Bonneville, Sophie Okonedo, Holly Aird, Eileen Atkins
Director: Ed Blum   Studio: Velocity / THINKFILM
DVD release: 15 January 2008   Runtime: 92 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Dolby Stero 2.0), Subtitles (English, Spanish), "If We Build It They Will Come: The Making of Scenes of a Sexual Nature," Filmmaker commentary with director/producer Ed Blum and writer Aschlin Ditta, Trailer, Trailer gallery

Snickers and full-on laughter, sadness and oddities, and an emotional high so intense as to give the viewer chills - all within the first 15 minutes of the film. That is only the beginning of what Scenes of a Sexual Nature has to offer. Directed by Ed Blum and written by Aschlin Ditta, it almost achieves magic. Almost.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature is a very different sort of a movie, showing almost voyeuristic snippets of life and love within a London city park. The love - and rediscoveries of love - in young couples, older couples, married couples, gay couples, and pairs that aren't couples at all. The breakups that punctuate the beginning and endings of a sexual relationship. The pain and pleasure of a long-term monogamous relationship, and the pain and pleasure involved in an open relationship. The compromises and trade-offs required to make it work, and the changes that just can't be made even if it would help make it work. There are a few surprises, as well, that keep the viewer wondering and watching even though it feels very, very long.

The cover of this new movie shows small, brief images of the actors and characters. It is an appealing design, but it is also quite accurate and true to the movie. All we get are brief moments with each of the many in this ensemble piece: artistically random scenes joined together with a general light-hearted sexiness, but with little real momentum.

One of the loveliest things about this film is the beautifully normal people who act in it. Everyone in it is comfortably human, and beautiful in their flaws. For the most part, these are people who might be family or friends or people you pass in the grocery store. Given the love and sex that is explored, it is such a wonderful surprise. No supermodels here, folks - and it is all the better for it. Ewan McGregor is, perhaps not surprisingly, adorable in his role as a somewhat self-centered gay man in a 15-year relationship. All the faces that appear on the screen are familiar from other works but fall very neatly and easily into the small roles they play.

After an impossibly long tale of bits of personal stories, Scenes of a Sexual Nature ends on an almost happy note, but with no resolutions to any of the people and couples on whom we have eavesdropped. Overall, it leaves one with a sense of potentially happy introspection.
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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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