The End of Sex
TIFF Contemporary World Cinema Section
Reviewed for Shockya.com by Abe Friedtanzer
Director: Sean Garrity
Writer: Jonas Chernick
Cast: Emily Hampshire, Jonas Chernick, Gray Powell, Lily Gao, Melanie Scrofano
Screened at: Critics’ link, CA, 9/1/22
Opens: September 10th, 2022 (Toronto International Film Festival)
There’s so much more to a relationship than sex, but any kind of incompatibility, even just perceived and not necessarily rooted in truth, can be very damaging to an enduring connection. This often happens, at least in the movies, later in life, after couples have kids and suddenly realize that they never have sex anymore. This is a road frequently traveled in film and television, and The End of Sex takes audiences on another trip to that place, spending time along the way with two people who are probably just fine, provided they could take the time to get out of their heads and realize what they do have.
Josh (Jonah Chernick) and Emma (Emily Hampshire) are ready to jump all over each other when they finally have a week alone together with their daughters at sleepaway camp, but they quickly find that things aren’t like they used to be. The situation is made worse when Josh’s colleague Kelly (Lily Gao) gives him a quiz to take about healthy sex lives and Emma re-encounters a man she used to know whose lack of a filter makes her think of a passion she wants to feel. Their attempts revive things, which include a threesome with Emma’s colleague Wendy (Melanie Scrofano), only serve to dredge up more potential issues that make them question whether they’re truly compatible.
The End of Sex reunites My Awkward Sexual Adventure director Sean Garrity with his stars Hampshire and Chernick, who takes on writing duties for this film. This is a comedy that’s meant to showcase perfectly normal people who have adjusted to the state of being parents, putting different things first and ignorant of how their own relationship to each other has changed in the process. This is a story that could happen to any couple, and hopefully a cautionary tale that shows that not all worries are legitimate, and treating something as an issue will invariably turn it into one.
Charnick and Hampshire are well-paired, each allowing their characters to stay relatively calm until something occurs to make them truly agitated or concerned. This is one of the more controlled and standard roles that Hampshire, a veteran of TV series like 12 Monkeys and Schitt’s Creek, has played, and while she seems to enjoy toning it down, there is a spark that comes alive in scenes where Emma begins to consider how her life could be different if she just changed her approach and took more chances. When Josh gets rattled, Chernick does a good job of keeping it contained, even though Josh seems ready and almost eager to just lose control.
This film’s drastic title doesn’t involve a string of wild sexual exploration like some other films have showcased for those looking to spice things up, but there are a few moments in which Josh and Emma get a peek at exactly what is out there, typically resulting in shock and then a mix of curiosity and horror. In the end, this is a romantic comedy that at times threatens to get serious and suggest real trouble for its protagonists. That drama is merely in service of showcasing just how their relationship has evolved and needs to work, a worthwhile endeavor that is pleasant and entertaining enough even if it isn’t particularly original. Though it doesn’t break new ground, this film is fun and provides a humorous look at the way that marriage, and any relationship, can change over time.
Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B