Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sex with Strangers (2002)


SEX WITH STRANGERS focuses on swinging--or couples engaging openly in sex with other, often multiple, partners. Filmed on digital video over a year by filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz (HBO's Taxicab Confessions), the film observes two couples and and a trio who partake in what is known by insiders as "The Lifestyle." Twentysomethings Calvin and Sarah opened up their relationship to Julie and include her as a permanent fixture to their practices. Married thirtysomething medical professionals James and Theresa spend their free time cruising bars and clubs in their R.V. looking for potential lovers, then discussing their experiences the day after. Southerners Shannon and Gerard met when he was 32 and she was 17, married, then tried swinging when it was suggested by a marriage counselor. Though what is presented is fairly explicit, a minimal amount of sex is actually shown in Gantz's film. Instead, SEX WITH STRANGERS chooses to examine the manner in which swinging affects an otherwise committed relationship--and the result appears to be determined by the emotional constitution of the participants. Calvin's emotional distance appears to be the undoing of sensitive Sarah, while James and Theresa could be an advertisement for The Lifestyle. Problems between Shannon and Gerard, however, appear to be beyond anything that any amount of additional partners could ever repair.

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