The Little Death n. (slang) orgasm.
Writer/director Josh Lawson‘s THE LITTLE DEATH La petite mort (2014) is a series of awkwardly paced vignettes about, well, sex. Four couples in their sadomasochistic, dacryphilia, somnophilia, and role-play glory, have sex. Random and kinky sex, and perhaps, a bit too much of it. The movie is pursued as a moving exposition of relationships, whether good or bad–consensual, bombastic, and for all of the couples in this film, a rather complicated involvement of who does what to whom no matter how disturbing the requests or how bizarre the circumstances. Lawson’s writing/directing debut might prove as a dim fascination to those of whom are looking for a more careful contemplation of relationship eroticisms, and may find that Death turns out to be a boorish spectrum comedy. However, those of various predilections may find this movie all the more curious, and delight in its peculiarities and quirky enticements.
An uneasy complication appears in one relationship: Maeve (Bojana Navakovic) wishes to be raped. Even worse, her lover, Paul’s (Josh Lawson) attempt at making the crime of rape happen not once, but twice. The first an inept home invasion where Paul is easily rattled by Maeve’s inability, or desire, to fend off her attacker. The second “attack” proved more believable and uncomfortably perhaps for many viewers, tackles the subject of whether the issue of rape should be pursued in any visual form, specifically for this sadomasochistic characterization, comically.
Onward to Dan (Damon Herriman) and Evie’s (Kate Mulvany) inept attempts at role-playing fantasies to spice up their love life. Unfortunately for Evie, Dan’s keen believability at roleplay leads to an insatiable desire for him to pursue a full-fledged acting career.
The “sleeping princess syndrome,” or somnophilia, is another difficult topic that reigns in another disturbing paraphilic, where Phil (Alan Dukes) secretly wishes that his wife, Maureen (Lisa McCune) relinquishes her searingly overbearing persona. She is harsh and being physically repulsed by his touch. One night, Maureen accidentally takes Phil’s sleeping pills and is knocked out cold. Instantly, Paul is allowed to be with the wife he perhaps often dreams of quiet, obedient, and docile. These little “accidents” resumes nightly and attempts to compensate by misdirection. There are scenes where the husband “dates” his newly submissive wife–he buy her gifts, watches late night television programs with popcorn and all the trimmings–as a disturbing attempt to avoid the underlying issue of consent.
Rowena (Kate Box), has dacryphilia, rather, becomes sexually aroused whenever her husband, Richard (Patrick Brammall) cries, and unfortunate for Richard, his wife does whatever she can to make him cry. From always reminding her husband that his father died, “misplacing” the family dog, and even hinting that she might have cancer to get the tears flowing.
Additionally, the random appearance by Steve, the “sex offender,” making his rounds about the neighborhood, to bring cookies and a friendly smile only reaffirmed the movies’ premise as a crude sex comedy. Fortunately, at the very end, offered succeeding redemption: an unexpected romance between Sam (T. J. Power), and his hearing-impaired translator, Monica (Erin James). Which, above all, the best story the entire Little Death movie has to offer and has everything any loving relationship needs: attraction, awkwardness, and varying misunderstandings.
Pity you will have to wait until the very end of the movie to truly appreciate it.
Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2015 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights are reserved.