Director Michael Winterbottom ("24 Hour Party People") has actually done Hollywood (and Planned Parenthood) a service by taking out the 'fake' lovemaking scenes audiences have grown accustomed to and replaced them with REAL sex, actual condoms IN USE, and a female (or male) orgasm that hasn't been staged for dramatic effect.
Seriously, the porn industry should take note if this film has any commercial success in the USA, because for my money I'd rather have my human sexuality nicely photographed, lit well, and true-to-life than filled with emotionally forced bad acting, flat lighting, and fake orgasms (with even faker breasts). Name one porn movie with fantastic helicopter shots of Antarctica's icy surface with a science lesson tossed in too. Nada.
Best of all are the honest, first-rate acting performances from both Brit acting veteran Kieran O'Brian ("24 Hour Party People") as 'Matt', the very lucky older guy (age 31), and 'Lisa' (Margo Stilley), the young American waif, who gets picked up at a rock concert one night at London's Brixton Academy.
In England, where this film has already been released there was quite a brouhaha as first-time movie actress Margo Stilley (age 21) supposedly tried to have her name removed from the credits. Luckily, the scathing reviews by the British press have worn off and the film is being released in the USA with Margo credited and NO NC-17 rating.
Although a first-time principle actress, Margo's performance is noteworthy in that her improvised dialogue not only rings true but it speaks to the neuroses of many young 'wild' females way beyond the Paris Hilton experience. She even creates a little comic relief when confronting her 'boyness' in the bathroom mirror.
In retrospect, I don't think this film has the artistic merit of last year's ode to eroticism (Bertolucci's "The Dreamers"), but director Michael Winterbottom does make a compelling argument for taking sex scenes to their natural conclusion. Adult audiences are gravitating more and more to NC-17 rated movies (re: "The Brown Bunny," etc.) and it may be time for local cinemas (and Hollywood) to grow up. Hey, if Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt really are lovers then why couldn't they have 'condom sex' on screen for a change, and how much more of an impact would that have on college-age adults practicing 'unsafe' sex than thousands of hours of PSA's and sex-ed classes! Even if sex on the big screen isn't your thing, this film is so pure in its intentions it's practically a 'date movie' (except blind dates). Even the ladies will enjoy the sensitive approach to the material as the sexual exploits build from cunnilingus to some mild S&M, eventually progressing to the de rigeur 'cum shot'. As I said, it's an ADULTS ONLY experience, but one that might rekindle the sexual romance in your own relationships and give you a forum to converse with your partner about a sensitive subject (in America anyway).