My Year without Sex

“It abounds with life and an unforced black humour that keeps the characters and us afloat.” — Michael Adams, Empire
Director: Sarah Watt
Year: 2009
Country: Australia
Running time: 96 mins

Australia
Producer: Bridget Ikin
Screenplay: Sarah Watt
Photography: Graeme Wood
Editor: Denise Haratzis
Production designer: Simon McCutcheon
Costume designer: Kitty Stuckey
Sound: John Wilkinson
M offensive language, sexual references

With: Sacha Horler (Natalie), Matt Day (Ross), Katie Wall (Winona), Fred Whitlock (Greg), Maude Davey (Margaret), Portia Bradley (Ruby), Jonathan Segat (Louis)

Festivals: Adelaide 2009

Fans of Sarah Watt’s Look Both Ways will be delighted afresh by the wise good humour that irradiates her new film. Natalie (a wonderfully naturalistic Sacha Horler) is a young mother trying to recover her health and a balanced view of the world after a terrifying brush with death. Matt Day plays her husband, and the title refers to his abstinence from vigorous activity too. He’s so reassuringly rock-steady that Natalie sometimes wants to shake him. Meanwhile childhood continues unperturbed by mortal dramas: 12-year-old Louis is fixated on sports and sportsmen to the exclusion of all else and seven-year-old Ruby has a way of setting her heart, very cheerfully, on the unaffordable. Watt’s view of their domestic chaos is pithily anti-formulaic: her comedy is grounded in a keen eye for the unsignalled ways tears and laughter irrupt into everyday life. The big questions – faith, marriage, mortality – rub elbows with the daily concerns of modern parenting, most notably the sexualisation of everything. Australasian ‘lower middle class’ life, as Natalie wryly classifies hers, is honoured with honesty. — BG

“It was clear from Look Both Ways that Watt was an original talent. It’s clearer now that she’s an exceptional talent… She writes about stuff that’s real and direct and sort of normal – children, home life, romance, illness and always, always, the fear of death – but with a warmth, humour and emotional intelligence that’s disarming… She takes scenes from domestic life and finds the bit that’s most ridiculous, embarrassing and alive.” — Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald