A blurry ― and almost out-of-body ― night in Crete leads 16-year-old Tara, who is on a wild holiday with her best friends, on a mission of self-knowledge, to the best of her ability.
How to Have Sex
Molly Manning Walker
Yearly, hordes of young British tourists descend on Malia, a haven on the Greek island of Crete of sun-kissed motels and sticky nightclubs, for a week of unsupervised gallivanting. Fresh off their final exams, bestie trio Taz (Mia McKenna-Bruce); Skye (Lara Peake), who seems older than she is; and Em (Enva Lewis), a straight-A student, arrive on the scene with a simple itinerary: party hard and get laid.
Clad in bodycon and down for adventure, the 16-year-olds are successful only in achieving the first goal on night one. Taz — a goofball and the only virgin in the lot — awakes to a hangover and cat calls from the balcony of neighbour Badger (Shaun Thomas). “It’s all very Romeo and Juliet,” Skye jokes, and soon Badger and his pals Paddy (Samuel Bottomley) and Paige (Laura Ambler) join the gang, embarking on night number two. Drunken escapades lead Taz beachward with smooth-talking Paddy. The next morning is fuzzy and full of lingering confusion. Meanwhile, as exam results roll in, it’s clear that life will soon set the girls on different paths.
Molly Manning Walker’s glittery, gritty, EDM-soundtracked feature debut rages in a timely way, avoiding coming-of-age clichés and, more importantly, any shaming. Serving a cocktail of youthful horniness and the realities of being in such a vulnerable state, How to Have Sex is about self-acceptance, friendship, and survival. This film is for anyone who’s ever felt like being left behind leads to the end of the world.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: sexual violence, drug use, crude content, coarse language, strobing/strobing effects