My Year Without Sex (2009)

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Released 12-Oct-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of-Life as it Happens
Audio Commentary-Sarah Watt, Sasha Horler, Matt Day
Audio Commentary-Sarah Watt, Executive Producer Barbara Masel
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Easter Egg
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 92:32 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sarah Watt
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Sacha Horler
Matt Day
Jonathan Segat
Portia Bradley
Roy Davies
Catherine Hill
Sonya Suares
Petru Gheorghiu
Eddie Baroo
Travis Cotton
Fred Whitlock
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

My Year Without Sex is the second feature film from Australian director Sarah Watt. Like her earlier film, Look Both Ways, it is a comedy/drama about coping with a major health problem.

Natalie (Sasha Horler) is a suburban mother with two kids, 12 year old Louis (Adam Segret) and 7 year old Ruby (Portia Bradley ). Husband Ross (Matt Day) is a decent Aussie bloke who works as a sound engineer at a public radio station. At one point in the film Ross questions whether they are middle class. They are probably lower middle class and one of the themes of the film is the unavoidable pull of consumerism, particularly around Christmas.

After a routine doctor’s visit Natalie drops her bag and in picking up the contents suffers an aneurysm. Brain surgery follows. Post surgery the couple get the good news - she has recovered well, and the bad news - sex is out of the question until her condition stabilises. Even for a long term couple the warning is a life changer.

Watts' film is a drama about the difficulty of returning to a normal life after such a traumatic event, the underlying fear that it could happen again and, worse, that she may not survive another event. Natalie looks to her family for strength. She also joins a singing group with Winona (Katie Wall) the trophy wife of Ross's money man brother. Finally she is drawn to the church, despite being a person of no faith, and forms a strong friendship with former rock singer, drug addict Margaret (Maude Davey) now a priest.

My Year Without Sex is at times funny and moving. The acting performances are generally good, with Horler given the big moments whilst Day has to negotiate ineffective Ross. Maude Davey is particularly good as Margaret. Fans of Look Both Ways will find this of similar attraction though I must say I preferred the earlier film slightly more. Still, in a year (2009) when grim was the order of the day, it is nice to be able to laugh with the pain.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Information about the technical specifications of My Year Without Sex is a little difficult to come by. It is presented on DVD at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio or thereabouts and is 16x9 enhanced. It looks natural at this aspect ratio and there is no suggestion of cropping.

It is 16x9 enhanced.

In the Making of feature cinematographer Graeme Wood and Production Designer Simon McCutcheon talk about the slightly unusual approach to the use of colours in the film. Director and artist Watt provided representative paintings of the colours desired for each of the months and colour swatches were prepared to ensure that the final film bore a strong relation to the original colour designs.

The filmmakers intended that the film have a slightly rough hewn look, with colours evident but not overly bright, and a low key look to the interiors. As a result this is not really a standout in terms of picture quality but it is a realistic depiction of a low-key household and environment.

It is not all that sharp but the flesh tones are accurate.

There is a light grain but otherwise no blemishes to the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

My Year Without Sex carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack running at 448 Kb/s. There are also two Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary tracks.

The soundtrack is bright and clear without being a reference track. The dialogue is easy to hear and understand.

There are no technical problems with the transfer. The actors are in audio sync.

As one might expect the surround effects are subtle and the subwoofer only rarely comes to life.

Music is in the form of various indie pop tunes. As a Western Australian I can't help but like a film that features Little Birdy and not one but two songs by Bob Evans!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

My Year Without Sex comes with a host of extras.

Life As It Happens (25:05)

The Making of featurette provides a good cross section of the trades working to put the film together. Director Sarah Watt talks about her inspiration and the process of creating the script and making the film whilst the designers are on hand for the more technical input. She nails it when she describes the film as an "anti-redemptive" film, where the characters aren't essentially changed by their experiences. Worth a watch.

Commentary Track - Director Sarah Watt and Actors Matt Day and Sasha Horler

This is a pretty interesting commentary track. The director is on hand to act almost as moderator between the two actors to draw out their experiences of making the film and the processes that they used to develop the characters.

Commentary Track - Director Sarah Watt and Associate Producer Barbara Masel

Having two commentary tracks involving a director may seem like a risky move. Fortunately this track is far more about the work that went into the film from a production side. There are a few long pauses but this is worth a listen.

Stills Gallery

A series of shots (I stopped counting around twenty) from the film.

Deleted Scenes (6:33)

There are 11 deleted scenes on offer. Most are extremely brief and don't really count as scenes. There are a few interesting bits, such as Natalie doing yoga and some further hospital bits but it seems that Sarah Watt pretty much shot the film she wanted.

Theatrical Trailer (2:02)

A decent trailer for the film.

Teaser Trailer (1:07)

A fun teaser showing the different ways sex can be interrupted. A funny and well crafted teaser although it probably doesn't really echo the film.

Easter Egg (1:20)

I am not sure if something can be an Easter Egg if it is mentioned on the back of the DVD case but, anyway, this can be selected by hovering around the extras menus. Check it out: it will either tickle your fancy or be a waste of 1 minute.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  At present this is Region 4 only.

Summary

My Year Without Sex is not a copy of Look Both Ways but they are so similar in their ideas about life and death that it is fair to say that if you loved one you will love the other. A somewhat slight comedy drama, this features some appealing performances and a dose of Australian humour.

The DVD transfer is fine and though low-key seems to be a reflection of the director’s intentions. The extras will be sure to please fans of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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