The Netflix Queue: Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)
Scenes of a Sexual Nature is available for streaming on Netflix.
Not long ago, I entered a stage in which I became oddly willing to watch any piece of filmed material Tom Hardy had ever been a part of. It started when I saw him in Inception, which was visually stunning, twisting, twisted, flawed and fantastic. Then he was in The Dark Knight Rises, and I really think that’s the one that did it for me, because maybe I just like watching him punch Christian Bale’s brooding and self-absorbed Batman in the face.
So, anyway, Tom Hardy is ultimately the reason I sat down to watch Scenes of a Sexual Nature, but I’m not sorry I did – like I am with some of his films (don’t get me started on This Is War). It’s an entertaining, charmingly funny and diverse glimpse into seven relationships on a single afternoon on Hampton Heath in London. It’s like a less contrived version of Love Actually set in the summer: the stories don’t intertwine at all, they’re just set in the same park.
Hardy plays Noel, a wannabe playboy who tries to woo girls into public debauchery with cheesy pickup lines and a put-on accent in one of the film’s more comedic vignettes. Ewan McGregor appears as one half of a gay couple in a disagreement over adoption. And Andrew Lincoln appears in a mostly forgettable vignette about a middle-aged couple projecting the early days of their relationship on an oblivious young woman they watch as she reads. Or something.
Maybe there are so many stories to cover all possible facets of love, from a relationship that’s run its course to one that never got a proper chance. Or maybe it’s because none of them have the strength or intrigue to carry the film any further. It’s funny in parts, heartwarming in its earnestness in others, but perhaps the most fascinating part about Scenes of a Sexual Nature is how director Ed Blum got so many well-known British actors (in addition to Lincoln, McGregor and Hardy, the film also features Catherine Tate, Eileen Atkins, Sophie Okonedo, Hugh Bonneville, Mark Strong, and Gina McKee, among others) in one film with such a meager budget.