April already and time for a new Collab category but do you think we can think of anything? Can we fuck. So it’s a Free for All again and I’m not mad about it. I’m mad about this week’s film however but that’s another story.
A woman on the brink of a marriage proposal is told by a friend that she should date other men before spending the rest of her life with her boyfriend.
Will (Dan Stevens) and Anna (the luminous Rebecca Hall) are childhood sweethearts blissfully in love and happy in life. Anna’s some sort of academic while Will makes tables, and in his spare time renovates a home for the two of them to live in. Once completed the plan is that they’ll move in, get engaged, have the babies, all that jazz.
This is all well and good but you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? On the night of Anna’s 30th birthday, one of their friends (more on this arse clown later) mocks them for being boring and ponders how they can possibly be happy never to see anyone else’s junk. The couple is initially bemused by this reaction but it triggers a conversation that leads to an agreement that they will in fact sow some oats with other people before they put a ring on it. They’re strong enough, right? And it’s all just physical – RIGHT?
Well, straight off the bat Anna gets down with sexy Dane who she meets in a club when she’s with Will. Will’s all for the union and Anna enjoys herself, despite the initial butterflies. Will in turn is not short of offers and soon afterwards gets it on with Gina Gershon (who’s the best thing in this film). When Anna finds out, she pushes Will to see her again because she wants to spend more time with Dane. And here’s where things start to unravel… like, what? I get that no strings loving can be hard to do if you’re not that kind of person but you’re not looking for new relationships, guys. Or…?
It should be said that they also each make a questionable sexual decision in addition to Dane and Lydia, and this might be why they go running back into the safe arms of their initial conquests.
Running parallel to the main relationship woe is the slow disintegration of Reece and Hale’s relationship. Reece is the jerk friend who suggested Will and Anna’s way of life was a problem in the first place. Hale is desperate for a child and Reece won’t even discuss it with him. He’s happier to cast judgement on Will for shagging around – DESPITE THE FACT HE’S THE ONE WHO SUGGESTED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! These dudes are the worst with Hale being incredibly passive and annoying – and Reece just generally being unbearable.
While I appreciate the premise of this film, I definitely expected it to be a lot more fun. Forgive me for expecting a movie with this central cast to be a witty sex comedy. Instead it was bleak and stupid. The ending is really frustrating – and I’m no fan of the cavalier and selfish way in which both Will and Anna treat the new people in their lives. Anna more so.
Permission does get points for being good looking, as is Rebecca Hall who is always head and shoulders above anyone else in her movies. It doesn’t give us the happy, sickly ending we were expecting (I was certainly expecting it), and I liked that even though I shouted at the screen because it was also kind of bitchy. I felt bad for one of the parties.
Gershon is a fucking gem, always and her divorcee Lydia was probably the most fun I had throughout. I can’t tell you how bored I was by the secondary “Waaaaah-can-we-have-a-baby” drams.
I don’t know, I’m not sure what the message is supposed to be: Good, healthy relationships are bad and boring, so nobody should have one? I’d say it should be: if it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it but what do I know?
What did Jill think of this one? I think I know because we messaged back and forth about our mutual frustrations. But officially, would she dump this to bone other films or prefer to live monogamously for the rest of time? Find out here.