Lie With Me (2005)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Erotic Drama  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Canada  |  
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It's second nature for most movies to avoid instances of random nudity, using a well-placed blanket or a precisely angled camera to preserve the modesty of the stars. A movie like Clement Virgo's Lie with Me goes in the other direction, including so much incidental nudity (even an old man's genitals make an appearance) that it's almost desensitizing. Perhaps the all-inclusive approach is Virgo's justification for his more graphic nudity, of which there is plenty -- so much, in fact, that the movie verges on being classified as pure smut. What keeps it in the realm of art is that it's consistently well made, the performances are genuine, and there's actual plot content devoted to something other than the lovers' carnal hunger. (Not much, but some.) Virgo's arty ambitions are evident from the opening shot, a soft-focus close-up of a woman's face, pulled out in dream-like slowness to reveal one hand holding a remote control, the other disappearing down the front of her skirt. That first minute pretty much summarizes Virgo's intentions: hardcore sexual interactions captured artfully, through grainy film stock and a moody score. The key to a movie like this, in which an animalistic sexual relationship goes through various stages of stability, is that the stars have chemistry and generate heat. That's definitely the case for Eric Balfour and Lauren Lee Smith, who are practically dripping with eroticism -- most notably Smith, whose promiscuous party girl also provides some pretty steamy voiceover. Should their humanity ever be in question, both characters are also supporting their parents through major life changes. While it's not entirely clear how these parental subplots relate to the characters' central yearnings, at least they're sensitively executed, developing Leila and David beyond the level of mere sexual ciphers.