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Young People Fucking (2007)

by on 2012/07/19

“I don’t think I could narrow it down to a list.”

* * *

Arm-waving title aside, the central conceit of Young People Fucking is dividing the movie into a virtual five-by-six graph. Arrayed along one axis are the various character groups: the friends, a couple, the exes, first daters, and roommates. Demarcating the other are six “stages” of sex, excluding the pre-credits introductions.

The whole — assuming it has much unity — is a series of isolated units, like a cut down anthology reordered in an alternating pattern. We see an encounter with one group, then another with the next, gradually making the rounds over the course of a night.

Each group has their own reasons for getting together that night. Some do it to distract themselves, some slog through a routine, others are more circumspect, or cavalier instead.

My initial reaction was “Young people?” They all appear in their thirties, though the stated ages range from 23 to 31. This detail notwithstanding, I was struck by the attractive production. The stories are fair, the writing better, and the acting exceptionally strong. The limited indoor locations and sets are detailed and convincing, well-lit, and nicely shot on a flattering stock.

I don’t mention the visuals to suggest they enhance the nudity, however. In short, there isn’t a lot to see. A few of the women are topless on occasion, but they’re natural, and not treated objectively. You’ll need to search elsewhere to see anything else you desire. The contents of Fucking are more tasteful than its title suggests.

Little is glamorized. It seems like everyday life, with a focus on moods and feelings, on words and ideas. It’s a disparate selection of default postures and intentions, of social politicking, and role reversals.

Specific threads will likely elicit unique reactions from each viewer. I found the young couple embarrassing, and feared for their long-term odds. The exes made me squirm with dread for repeating old mistakes. The rest I could give or take as curiosities.

I can see the varied situations appealing to a wider audience. If the themes explored don’t specifically apply to me, they might have done so in past, or may yet be relevant in future: asking questions without wanting the answers, dominance and submission, dysfunction, insecurity, players being played, rejection, and the reversal of traditional roles. All of these and more are up for consumption, entertainment, deliberation, and discussion.

In fact, with its relative breadth of topics, it wasn’t until midway through I realized I had “met” everyone already . . . and all were apparently upper/middle, white-bread, Anglo, heterosexual types.

Furthermore, none of the threads meaningfully related to the others. Imagine a scantily clad Breakfast Club, with each student detained in their own room. Even thematically — connected by stage titles — none escaped the silos, diegetically or by techniques like juxtaposition.

Still, while I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t go far enough, Young People Fucking was far from the tawdry exploitation I expected. Sex serves as its vehicle, a medium for meditation. An imperfect, but thought-provoking, survey of relationship issues.

* * *

Rated R

90 minutes

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5 Comments
  1. cineroulade permalink

    The title on this one must have gone some way to simplifying test-screening expectations!!!

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