Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus explores the lives of several emotionally challenged characters as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections between love and sex in and around a modern-day underground salon. The characters converge on a weekly gathering called Shortbus: a mad nexus of art, music, politics and polysexual carnality. Set in a post-9/11, Bush-exhausted New York City, Shortbus tells its story with sexual frankness, suggesting new ways to reconcile questions of the mind, pleasures of the flesh and imperatives of the heart. (ThinkFilm) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Shortbus is nothing if not over-the-top, replete with consummated sex acts, both gay and straight.
  2. 75
    Mitchell's adventurous, big- hearted, pansexual mosaic of New Yorkers looking for love and orgasms (not necessarily in that order), is a rare example of a nonporn film that doesn't exploit graphic sex as a gimmick.
  3. 75
    If there is such a thing as hard-core with a soft heart, this is it.
  4. The quest for sexual happiness is a radical notion in these repressive times, as well as a legitimate basis for storytelling, but Shortbus doesn't quite delve as deeply as it ought into its characters' emotions.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Shortbus tends to work better in its first, comic half, than in its second, more serious stretch, where the characters' trials and tribulations flirt with soap opera. The actors, formidable with their clothes off, aren't always as expressive fully dressed.
  6. The film lacks the depth and discipline of Mitchell's first film venture, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which makes Shortbus a real disappointment.
  7. Mitchell may be another Russ Meyer -- a dubious honor -- but he's no Tony Kushner.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 5 out of 36
  1. Oct 1, 2011
    A movie that makes you feel and think and is as good as any. It's a shame that not many people will see it, and some that start it won't get through it. It has a rare depth and perspicacity. Very successful, indeed. Expand
  2. Dec 14, 2011
    You'll never see another film quite like Shortbus. It's a rom-com, a heady emotional drama and a study of sex and desire in one, all broken up by quite graphic sex scenes that wouldn't look out of place in pornography. The way in which the sex scenes are performed (i.e. for real), isn't a criticism, on the contrary, after witnessing the first few instances of passion, these scenes lose their shock factor and become woven into the fabric of the film as a whole. Shooting these scenes for real also has an interesting side effect - it allows the actors to introduce a liberal doses of improvised humour to these situations, humour which would be almost impossible to pull off if these moments were simulated. Every scene in the film is a miniature character piece, and it's a testament to the skills of the actors that they've managed to instill their characters with so much depth. The cast appear to be effortlessly natural, and it was entirely left up to them to flesh-out their respective characters and story-lines, therefore the film feels pleasingly organic and completely believable. Despite the flexible nature of the narrative, the plot never loses focus, everything is tied together by quirky, animated sequences which sweep through an abstract version of New York, and the film builds towards an extremely pleasing symbolic, yet emotionally grounded finale. The film isn't just about love, or even lust, it's really about coming to terms with who you are, and exploring your own mind and body. Shortbus isn't all frolicking about with naughty bits on show, either. At points it touches upon some extremely dark issues, and handles these with maturely and sensitively whilst at the same time using them for the maximum dramatic potential that they offer. It's one of the finest examples of collaborative filmmaking in history, and it's also probably the best film about sex that's ever been made. Expand

See all 36 User Reviews