Set in contemporary NYC, the film focuses on 3 main relationships/protagonists. Sofia is married to sexy Rob and together they have great sex. But she has never had an orgasm in life. She works as a couples/counsellor where she meets the couple Jamie and James. James is going through some sort of depression which is affecting the relationship between the two. We also see that a guy has been secretly watching over James’ every move. We also meet Severin, who is a dominatrix, who fulfils fantasy of her clients but in the process has herself never developed skills of human interaction. When James/Jamie find out about Sofia’s orgasmic condition, they introduce her to Shortbus, a weekly social/artistic/sexual salon. James wants themselves to open up their relationship and meet a guy. They meet a young guy Ceth and begin a relationship. Sofia tries anything and everything there to get to climax. Even Rob starts joining her because he feels, he ha failed as a lover in bringing her the orgasm. On the other side, Severin begins to help Sofia loosen up sexually; Sofia helps Severin achieve a deeper human connection than she had experienced before, including a sexual experience between the two but Sofia is still unsatisfied. We soon find out that the video that James has been making throughout the film was actually a suicide film and he wanted to open the relationship so that Jamie can be happy after he is gone. This is when Caleb enters, the guy who has been secretly watching James and helps him fight his inside demons. We see scenes that show us connections between the characters' emotional problems and their sexual lives. The film finds alogical conclusion when all characters somehow find a proper solution/closure to their issues.
First things first, yes, there is a lot of sex. Graphic real sex, far from being crude or offensive. But rather than displaying sexually explicit scenes for the sake of cheap titillation, "Shortbus" is provocative with an actual purpose. With sex as focal theme, the film shows how sex, friendship and love continually intermingle. The raw carnal need of every individual may reflect their mannerisms and need as humans as well. It conveys our motivations and struggles. Yes, this film will be remembered for its explicit sexual scenes but also for its beautiful emotional moments. As this is a gay blog, its important to highlight that the story of Jamie and James was handled really well. The opening scene of James trying to suck himself and drinking his cum, is a bit too much to handle initially, but later we get to see what really is going on between them. Emotional handled well with intimate sex scenes, it makes for an interesting watch nonetheless. But having said all this, the film does get quite slow at some points and you wish, something quick should happen. So in that area, a tighter editing would help. Acting by most people is above average.
Just like real life, the sex in this film comes from honest place and not for titilation. The film shocks you and makes you think. (7/10)