August 1, 2022

SCREEN | Lena Dunham Keeps A 'Sharp Stick' x Fantasia 2022

"Men love a problem."
Kristine Froseth Dunham | Sharp Stick | Fantasia 2022
Fantasia International Film Festival
Girls creator Lena Dunham returns to independent cinema by crafting another provocative portrait of a young female desire in coming to terms with a sexual awakening through a detour of youthfully misguided self-destructive behaviour. Sharp Stick feels like both a slightly tamer or innocent but clearly more blunt narrative alternative to her acclaimed HBO series refocused on a singular protagonist.

Starring newcomer Kristine Froseth as a sexually inexperienced Los Angeles babysitter with childlike tendencies who seduces her much older employer, a surprisingly insecure Jon Bernthal, we follow her coming-of-age journey of young adulthood through gaining sexual confidence in fairly ill-advised ways.

Surrounded by her adoptive sister (Taylour Paige) and quirky mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Froseth's Sarah Jo has a wide-eyed enthusiasm and optimism that seems intoxicating and even seducing. Due to a hysterectomy in her teens, she skipped her natural phase of sexual curiosity and sets herself on a path to conveniently knocking out a sexual bucket list by first engaging in an illicit affair with the nearest attractive married father and husband to her.

Filmed during the thick of the pandemic with a mostly female crew, Sharp Stick is fairly audacious in its bold yet problematic expression of burgeoning sexuality and self-discovery of female pleasure. Dunham continues in her lane of seeking sexual desire told through messy relationships twelve years after her debut in the illuminating Tiny Furniture.

Sharp Stick screened as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. It will be available through digital and video on demand starting August 16th.


More | AV Club / Indiewire

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