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Thanks For Sharing

28 Sep

Thanks For Sharing – directed by Stuart Blumberg. A quartet of sex addicts in recovery stumble toward one another in mutual aid and redemption. 112 minutes Color 2013.

★★★★

Josh Gad is probably miscast as the premier liar of this story, for his casting is like casting Bud Abbott in the role. He is meant to supply fat-boy comic relief to material that does not welcome it, since the underpinnings of the lie are nothing-funny.

These people are stern addicts. And their humor would have been best served by its emerging in meetings themselves, where 12 Step style can be very funny indeed, but germane, which Gad’s is not. It’s not the actor’s fault. It’s the fault of the role.

Otherwise we have an excellent film to go to with your fellowship buddies or with those who need some education as to the catastrophe of the condition of addiction to pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, sexual resorts, and the long list of the rest. For the film does a fair and honest and informed job of looking closely at the addiction in action and in remission – remission being no guarantee of recovery, of which no such thing has ever been known. It’s hard to quit sex addiction; harder than alcohol. You carry around your saloon in your britches.

Pink is completely convincing as the raving sex maniac who comes into the program late and, with help, finds her way toward sobriety. Mark Ruffalo plays a man five years on the sexual wagon, and he is solid in the role. Tim Robbins plays his long-time sponsor, a bleeding deacon of the S-Fellowship (which is never defined), and the parent of a son who has gone sober from drugs cold-turkey on his own. His relation to this son, his refusing to work an 8th and 9th Step with him, is a key drama in the story and one important to behold.

The Ruffalo character has not had sex or a date in five years, and, when he allows himself to, he falls quickly in a relationship with an eager beauty played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Paltrow is one of the great creatures of the modern screen. When Audrey Hepburn appears on screen one falls in love with her. There is no question as to how good an actress she is. She occupies our heart. And the same holds true for Gwyneth Paltrow, who is a very good actress indeed. She is an actress of great suppleness, intelligence, and grace. Aways fresh. She responds to everything happening to her physically, as though it belonged to her. Like Audrey Hepburn, she is a lady. But one with no stodginess to her. She is fascinating fun to watch.

And all this being true of her, the audience’s energy moves more towards whether this relationship will work out than to whether the quartet of addicts will stay sober.

But the story still honors their stories. And the record of them is true to the facts of sex addiction and its effects on everyone, addict or not, sober or not. So inform yourself. Thanks For Sharing will do for sex addiction what The Lost Weekend once did for alcoholism. It’ll give you the inside story.

 
 
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