Review of How to Make Love The Question of Consent

Review of “How to Make Love”: The Question of Consent

In her first film, British filmmaker Molly Manning Walker explores the sexuality of teenage girls during drunken school holidays.

Tara (Mia McKenna-Bruce, incredible), Em (Enva Lewis) and Skye (Lara Peake) arrive in Crete. The three English girls have rented a hotel room – they insist on having a view of the swimming pool – and want to drink and party. Tara, the youngest of the group at 16, also wants to lose her virginity because she is the only one of the three who has not had any sexual experiences.

The alcohol flows freely and the three young girls soon get to know the group from the next room on the balcony. Badger (Shaun Thomas), Paddy (Samuel Bottomley) and Paige (Laura Ambler) become drinking buddies and Tara begins to take a serious interest in Badger, a typical teenager with a huge red tattoo in the shape of female lips on his neck. The evenings follow each other and are almost the same. The drinking sessions become more and more intense and the “games” become more and more sexual. Until tragedy.

This theme is broadly explored by Molly Manning Walker, who uses the dialogues of girls and boys to highlight the toxicity of sexual attitudes. Girls need to be naughty, adventurous and approachable to boys – one of the organized games imitating fellatio is an example of this. The boys are there to gain as many conquests as possible, whether they agree or not.

And what exactly is consent? Can we say “yes,” then change our mind and say “no”…only to say “yes” again under pressure? Are adolescent girls' sexual discoveries made consensually or, on the contrary, made under pressure, whether from their peers, the opposite sex or themselves?

Molly Manning Walker doesn't give an answer to that. She observes and quickly makes Tara the main subject of this brilliant How to Make Love, which is sure to stimulate discussions between parents and teens about the concepts of respect, listening and consent.

“How to Make Love” hits theaters on February 9th.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5