Having a baby is all that you know it is; rewarding but yet really hard work. The well-known challenges involve lack of sleep and endless laundry, but a challenge which is less often discussed is the strain it all puts on relationships. This is the focus of Stefan Georgiou’s SexLife, and indeed we do not see the baby on-screen at any point – essentially he is a plot device in a more interesting story of how a relationship changes, strains, and (hopefully) survives.
Originally written by Kefi Chadwick as a theatrical piece for the Edinburgh Festival, the film deftly balances comedy and drama in its portrayal of a relationship which has fundamentally changed from the care-free fun-loving days, into one of stress, work, and loss of freedom. The film works by blending the absurd with the very true; so we are welcomed into the family home with the sight of Dan dressing as Tim Curry’s character from The Rocky Horror Picture Show – an attempt by him to reintroduce a spark into their long dormant sex life. This humorous setting gives way to a surprisingly honest and tender film, as the couple hash out a lot of pent up feelings and stress.
Speaking as someone with a 5 month old daughter, the film absolutely nails a lot of the realities that exist within a relationship during this period. Okay I have never dressed as a Tim Curry character (but if I did, it would be the butler from Clue), but the less specific emotional and physical challenges are really well observed, and do hit home. The performances from Rooper and Edwards make the most of the material, and do have a natural chemistry (and tension) that convinces; perhaps helped by the film being shot in sequence over the course of only four days. The production matches this with an equally real sense of place, with the laundry drying round the room, the washing up, the clothes with their stains of baby vomit, and the paracetamol packets kept within easy reach – basically my house today.
SexLife originally played at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 (the only British film to do so). Stefan has been keeping pretty busy since SexLife; he has two tv pilots in post, is co-writing a series based on his debut feature Dead Cat, and is working on another feature with SexLife writer Kefi.
SexLife is now online for the first time, and its well-observed honesty, good humor, and tender heart made it one which we at Short of the Week were excited to share. If you want to see more from Stefan, Dead Cat is now on Vimeo On Demand, and SotW users can watch it with 10% if they use the promo code shortoftheweek.