Dancer Bruno is happily in love with his girlfriend, Carla…or so he thinks. Then martial artist and fellow dancer Rai steals his heart. Now the sensitive Carla must overcome her jealousy and accept her boyfriend’s tryst with Rai, but can she keep from falling for him herself? This simple narrative explores the complex issues that arise when three people share feelings but cannot choose which person is the one for them.
Some films are so unassuming in their simplicity you casually approach them with no expectations of nuanced complexity, rich narrative substance and convincing portrayal of subtly accentuated characters. Then they simply blow you away.
Sex of Angels successfully portrays real human reaction so naturally, you become truly sucked into the world that’s beautifully crafted by director Xavier Villaverde. Executed with maturity and elegance, the film is extremely sexy. All the players are gorgeous, and you fall completely in love with Rai and Carla, and all their shortcomings.
The characters are utterly believable with rich backgrounds, sweet peculiarities and emotional triggers that can go off at any moment. One such instance, when Bruno, Rai and Carla are horsing around together in Rai’s gym, illustrates the fragility of human feelings and how easily a seemingly insignificant event can shatter a person’s illusions about the nature of a relationship. In a moment of heightened passion the two men kiss, oblivious to Carla’s presence. What would be your own response is then played out before you. The only response. The human response.
The various moments of personal emotional crisis, experiences which are unique to the individuals portrayed, belie the complex nature of human feelings rarely explored in cinema. The situations never feel contrived, never unnecessary, and never exploitative. It shares the very attributes that made The Graduate a classic.
The emotional dynamic between the characters as they progress from ‘V’ (one person with two lovers) to ‘Triad’ (three people sharing intimacy) is tackled with an easy pacing that carefully guides the audience as they share the characters’ journey through the complexities of such an arrangement. You come to the same realisations as the characters on screen and in doing so challenge your own beliefs about polyamory.
The cuts are mercurial and transitions between each sumptuous shot seamless. Every performance does just enough to make the characters layered and believable, while at no point overshadowing the other players.
The narrative never lets up. It keeps your emotions tethered from one scene to the next, plucking at your own jealousy, relief, hatred, happiness and love with such ease. You are the director’s harp being played with acute precision. Just as the first situation reaches an apparent conclusion, the film’s entire dynamic shifts, taking on a new life as the tide turns and the characters who were once pitied and pathetic become the play-makers and somebody else’s world is turned upside down.
Overall verdict: Every character you will find endearing and terminally human, lovingly crafted and stunningly portrayed. Every event feels effortlessly natural and wholly believable; every shot is beautiful.
The result is an engaging story, stunning in its simplicity and gripping in its emotion. Tackling an issue like this with such grace has to be commended: it will change the way you view polyamory. You will ask yourself ‘Why is this an issue for them?’, ‘Why is this an issue for me?’, and finally ‘Why is this an issue at all?’. Trying to find ways in which the film could have been improved is an exercise in futility. If you love cinema, watch this film. It is sublime.
Reviewer: Adrian Naik