thinkfilm | Release Date: October 4, 2006
7.5
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 82 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
56
Mixed:
14
Negative:
12
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10
ScottF.Aug 2, 2007
The wild and varied range of reactions elicited by this movie demonstrate that it does indeed strike a chord. Watch it and be moved.
2 of 2 users found this helpful
10
BranHOct 24, 2006
This movie's graphic representation of sex will upset many, and as a result the film will be viewed as - indeed, as we can already see, it is being viewed as - polarizing. It's a shame, though, that it's "porno" content is This movie's graphic representation of sex will upset many, and as a result the film will be viewed as - indeed, as we can already see, it is being viewed as - polarizing. It's a shame, though, that it's "porno" content is getting so much press. Shortbus is a richly layered, well-directed, and, frankly, well-acted film that eschews traditional conventions of characterization and narrative in favor of something strikingly more familiar: real life. In Shortbus, our 3 leads examine their identities and their personal growth through various lenses, sex being one of those. Shortbus examines the conventional and non-conventional approaches we take to self-understanding and emotional growth in sincere, warm, and, I think, very true ways. John Cameron Mitchell gives himself all the tools he needs to examine our experience - including sexuality - and infuses them with genuine confusion, humor, and bliss. This doesn't look or play out like Hollywood acting or direction; it plays out like life. Which is probably why a lot of people won't get it. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
0
JohnMitchellHaterFeb 7, 2008
John Cameron Mitchell is a lonely man looking to get off. Biggest piece of crap. The critics want to seem like they're superior, but supporting shortbus, but anyone who liked this most have went to school on the shortbus.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
JasonOct 21, 2006
Feel-good movie of the year. In so many ways.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
DanK.Oct 5, 2006
One of my top 5 movie experiences!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JohnBMar 9, 2007
Best film of last year next to Children of God, Borat and Red Road. Moving, hilarious, indirectly political, ultimate hopeful.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
MelanieM.Nov 3, 2006
I laughed and cried - a great movie about being human.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
ThomasF.Oct 16, 2006
This joyful and hopeful movie uses sex as a metaphor for the awkwardness and clumsiness of life. Yet sex is also depicted as art, as liberation and as part of the solution to the deep yearning of the soul. It's a beautiful motif because This joyful and hopeful movie uses sex as a metaphor for the awkwardness and clumsiness of life. Yet sex is also depicted as art, as liberation and as part of the solution to the deep yearning of the soul. It's a beautiful motif because the sexual acts are not judged by their "propriety" but rather by their ability to get to a deeper meaning in our lives. Of course there's a gentle mocking of therapy as a "shortcut" but also as another metaphoric language that tends to lose its place without a firm grounding in the here and now. The movie is explicit, but the sex is actually quite beautiful in its transgressiveness. Critics who get stuck on the superficial message will be making the same mistake that critics of Crash made -- a form of critical synecdoche where the parts are substituted for the whole. In Shortbus the sex tells us about how we treat one another and urges us away from selfishness or even an exaggerated sense of nobility. These are rejected for a wholesome return to libido as being only a part of a rich and poetic life (despite superficial appearances to the contrary). This film is also quite funny. Go see it for yourself. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JackM.Oct 16, 2006
Shortbus is a remarkable exploration of the interconnection between love and sex. It may be the first film ever to include actual sexual exchange in the development of character. The film delves into the emotions aroused by sex and the role Shortbus is a remarkable exploration of the interconnection between love and sex. It may be the first film ever to include actual sexual exchange in the development of character. The film delves into the emotions aroused by sex and the role of sex in finding meaning and purpose in one's life and relationships. The music, as in Hedwig, is also wonderful. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
AnonBOct 16, 2006
I must say, the computer animated shots of the New York landscape were most impressive. But I found the rest of the film quite dull. It kind of felt like a projection into the future, where all sex and nudity on screen is portrayed that way I must say, the computer animated shots of the New York landscape were most impressive. But I found the rest of the film quite dull. It kind of felt like a projection into the future, where all sex and nudity on screen is portrayed that way in all movies and there's nothing special about it anymore, and this would be just another indie dramedy. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
JackOct 18, 2006
Extremely disappointing. Sook Yin-Lee should take acting lessons from Keanu Reeves. Her eagerness to please the viewer is pathetic and even more (unbelievably) annoying than her stint on CBC radio. The sloppy (literally) screenplay tries to Extremely disappointing. Sook Yin-Lee should take acting lessons from Keanu Reeves. Her eagerness to please the viewer is pathetic and even more (unbelievably) annoying than her stint on CBC radio. The sloppy (literally) screenplay tries to tackle everything from sex to suicide with faux-sincerity that rings hollow from beginning to end. Lots of gay sex for a movie that bills itself as a woman's quest to achieve orgasm. A few funny scenes and some neat computer animation save it from a 0. Waste of an evening otherwise. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
MarkusH.Oct 20, 2006
A naively joyful film that celebrates sex instead of using it as a commodity or strictly for prurient interest. Go see this movie!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
MichaelP.Oct 5, 2006
Provocative and surprising (in a good way). Not for the mainstream, yet it has a storyline with a mainstream sensibility. The movie has heart. It's not for everyone, but the film works, damn it.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
[Anonymous]Oct 5, 2006
Feel good movie!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
ThomasOct 7, 2006
Rich portrayal of urban lust (but not the sexual kind).
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
TracyB.Oct 9, 2006
Great film- don't be put off by the sex, there is so much more in this story- very moving.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
LeilaniL.Jan 30, 2007
By far, the best movie I've seen in a couple of years! I read some of the message board reviews on IMDB and was shocked at the backlash from some viewers... Yes, there's real sex in the movie. Yes, it may come as a bit of a shock By far, the best movie I've seen in a couple of years! I read some of the message board reviews on IMDB and was shocked at the backlash from some viewers... Yes, there's real sex in the movie. Yes, it may come as a bit of a shock to most. But John Cameron Mitchell doesn't bring us porn, he brings us food for the mind and for the soul. Personally, I could find parallels between nearly all the characters and people in my life-- even in myself! The film wasn't about sex, but about the people we are and the people we aspire to be. I strongly believe that those who watch this film and can't focus on anything other than the sex are missing the focus and beauty of this film. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
GreyW.Feb 18, 2007
Cameron shows with touch and humour that sex cant do the the job alone. It also takes an invisible rubber band to your partners heart to make you happy. Applause for Cameron and the actors. Well done.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
TimOct 11, 2006
The sex did not arouse me, but the quest for the meaning of it did.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
BillyS.Nov 3, 2006
After you've squirmed down in your seat as far as you can during the opening sequence of Shortbus, you realize it's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's sex. Everybody has it, and when they're not having it, they're After you've squirmed down in your seat as far as you can during the opening sequence of Shortbus, you realize it's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's sex. Everybody has it, and when they're not having it, they're thinking about it, when to have it, how to have it, stressing over it, evalulating it. It's sex. Shortbus is a riveting, excruciating sexual journey that has never been seen before in mainstream megaplex cinema. John Cameron Mitchell breaks new ground that he only hinted at with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Shortbus is quite simply - Brilliant! You will leave the theatre drained and exhilarated at the same time. The cast of unknown actors are fearless, and the hostess, played by Justin Bond (who sang the Christmas song in Imaginary Heroes), sings the number "In The End" that closes the movie with a big "O" that seems fitting considering the whole movie is really about just that. Thank you Mr.Mitchell, Hedwig was a brave start, but Shortbus is audaciously, in-your-face REAL!!! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
CraigDec 15, 2006
Quite simply amazing. A worthy successor to Hedwig & The Angy Inch and so much more. It's funny, it's sad, it's poignant. If you focus on the sex you're missing the whole point: focus on the film.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
MichaelL.Oct 8, 2006
I loved this movie. To me, it's a love song to a New York City that no longer exists amid the post-9/11 "Disneyfication" of the Big Apple. It's a toast to the strong connection of disconnected people. I think one needs to have I loved this movie. To me, it's a love song to a New York City that no longer exists amid the post-9/11 "Disneyfication" of the Big Apple. It's a toast to the strong connection of disconnected people. I think one needs to have lived in Manhattan during the 1980s to really appreciate "Shortbus", but anyone with an open mind who isn't sex-phobic should find joy in its uplifting message of hope. And damn, what a sexy cast... Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
DaveJan 12, 2007
One of the worst movies I've seen this year. I really like "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", but this film was just too pretentious and over the top for me.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
GinaN.Apr 19, 2007
Nothing like I've ever seen. Pretty brilliant, actually.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JonathanS.Nov 20, 2006
A very refreshing non-hollywood movie.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
StuartSOct 21, 2006
Some said this was a mature look at sex and not pornography. Yes, but it is a film about what most people would feel is perversion and deals in depth with homosexuality. Also, the plot-- well, I think there was one, but I couldn't find Some said this was a mature look at sex and not pornography. Yes, but it is a film about what most people would feel is perversion and deals in depth with homosexuality. Also, the plot-- well, I think there was one, but I couldn't find or follow it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
JimGDec 30, 2006
Funny, thoughtful, moving, joyful.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
SionFJMar 17, 2007
If you love life, you'll love SHORTBUS. The characters might seem disfunctional, but they are there to show us that in every soul darkness and light lay equally, waiting for redemption...
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
MKApr 26, 2007
Terrible. Weak characters, childlike acting and premise. Just terrible to watch...it was as if a gay (bi) 13 year old hitting puberty had been given a few bucks to make a film....AMATEUR!!!! And not good amateur. Really weak.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
BradR.Jul 14, 2007
This is a movie trying so hard to be at once acceptable and provocative that it ends up being one long string of cliches. Not that it doesn't have its pleasures, guilty or otherwise: the opening is playful, there are funny moments here This is a movie trying so hard to be at once acceptable and provocative that it ends up being one long string of cliches. Not that it doesn't have its pleasures, guilty or otherwise: the opening is playful, there are funny moments here and there, and there are some jarringly un-funny moments too (e.g., the dead man in the pool). But finally, the film is as tame and conventional as it could be. Comedy tends toward convention and re-asserting a status quo, but great comedy unsettles us to the core before pretending to patch things up. Mitchell and his cast never manage to really unsettle us, at least not believably (spoiler warning!). For instance, Jamie's suicide attempt and its resolution seemed painfully contrived and trivial--and the same came be said for much of the sex, which doesn't finally serve any point. I know that last statement may blow the fuses of the film's many fans, so I'll add another just for fun: take out the sex (yes, it's possible) and what you're left with is a completely conventional, normative romantic comedy. If you want a thought-provoking film about sex, watch Last Tango instead. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
HalI.Jul 18, 2007
Brilliant. When the Oscars are released from the grip of the radical right, a movie like this will win best picture. A masterpiece that blows the oscar victors of late out of the water.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
JayFJan 19, 2008
Going into this, I knew it was a very sexual movie. I assumed it would be like a porno. I admit, the sex scenes were basically soft-core porn. However, this, remarkably, did not hamper the quality of the movie. This movie is about human Going into this, I knew it was a very sexual movie. I assumed it would be like a porno. I admit, the sex scenes were basically soft-core porn. However, this, remarkably, did not hamper the quality of the movie. This movie is about human connection, and how these emotionally unbalanced people eventually come to terms with everything. The large cast of characters makes it that much more fun. There's many touching scenes in this film. Like when the old man is talking to Ceth and he begins to cry. The kiss Ceth gives him is so not sexual, and it's actually touching. Or when Jamie and James look at each other through the window, and without even saying a word, achieve their peace. My favorite character has to be Severin though. She is the one who is the most misguided, and I don't think she ever truly find her way. But she becomes okay with it. This movie is a work of comic, dramatic, and, dare I say it, romantic greatness. I loved it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
ImpishNov 22, 2006
The best movie of 2006. I was tears at the end, tears of sheer joy.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
RobTDec 22, 2006
This is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2006: it is painfully funny, sad, chock-full-o-sex (which surprisingly neither adds nor takes away from the quality of the film) and based around events that people who live in the NY area This is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2006: it is painfully funny, sad, chock-full-o-sex (which surprisingly neither adds nor takes away from the quality of the film) and based around events that people who live in the NY area are all too familiar with. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
HalfwelshmanDec 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 theYou'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
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10
kings7Oct 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.
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5
johnslegersJan 3, 2016
"Shortbus" is an interesting perspective on the loose sexual morals of the hip New York underground scene and shows us how these people apparently soothe their insecurities with lots of promiscuous sex, but I found it too distant from my own"Shortbus" is an interesting perspective on the loose sexual morals of the hip New York underground scene and shows us how these people apparently soothe their insecurities with lots of promiscuous sex, but I found it too distant from my own way of life, too shallow and too one-sided to really appeal to me. I liked the way it explored human weakness and the insecurities of the various characters felt all quite genuine, which is quite refreshing in an age where shallow pulp blockbusters make the majority of films available. However, the film didn't really go being that, it lacked balance in every possible way and wasn't nearly the genius art house film it tried to be, which left somewhat of a bitter aftertaste.

Even though one can see people talking about their private lives a lot, the character development still felt rushed. We get to understand people's insecurities regarding relationships and sexuality, but that's pretty much all we learn about them which makes it hard to really empathize with the characters. Also, besides the sex and relationship talk all we really get to see is people being naked and/or having sex, which gets quite monotonous near the end of the film and is too much in contrast with the emotional side of the rest of the film.

While we do get to see things from a lesbian perspective, a straight perspective and a gay male perspective, the gay male perspective is way too over-lighted and the lesbian side is only really touched in one scene. The heterosexual male's perspective is very under-lighted as well and even the heterosexual female's perspective does not get the amount of attention it should have gotten in spite of a straight female main character.

Similarly, the director shows us quite a lot gay males having sex, whereas the straight sex is very limited and very mild in comparison and there is no lesbian sex at all. Female genitals are not really shown, whereas male genitals are all over the place. Now, I have no problem with homosexual directors and them making a film from their own perspectives but he could have either made this a pure gay film ("Queer as Folk" style) or he could have given the heterosexual and lesbian side more screen time. This unbalanced mixture feels very awkward.

While the style of this film was most definitely refreshing and far from bad, it by no means comes close to the genius of Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Human Nature", "The Science of Sleep") or Sean Ellis ("Cashback") who also explored human sexuality and relationships in their films (although from a straight, generally male perspective). "Shortbus" didn't even come close to being as charming as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", as silly as "Human Nature" or as intense as "Cashback". Unlike the other films mentioned, "Shortbus" seemed to be more about sex than about love. Also unlike the other films mentioned, the audiovisual style of "Shortbus" felt not very innovative or unique after having seen quite a few art house films in my life. This made it come off as a bit pretentious.

If you're a homosexual male in conflict with your emotions, you may really like this film and consider it a very heartwarming experience, but for anyone else I'd recommend you go watch and of the other films I mentioned if you want to see an art house film about sex and relationships that's refreshing and different from anything you've seen before.
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6
BroyaxJul 2, 2019
Difficile de juger ce genre de film à la croisée des chemins de la comédie et de la pornographie... Mais apparemment, il est simplement qualifié d'érotique (?) alors que l'une de ses qualités réside... dans la qualité de ses quelques scènesDifficile de juger ce genre de film à la croisée des chemins de la comédie et de la pornographie... Mais apparemment, il est simplement qualifié d'érotique (?) alors que l'une de ses qualités réside... dans la qualité de ses quelques scènes pornograhiques. Appelons donc un chat, un chat et une chatte, une chatte. Et tout le reste viendra naturellement.

Donc, plutôt un bon porno en fait. Mais est-ce vraiment le cas ? car le réalisateur balance toutes ses cartouches au début et nous laisse sur la béquille à la fin, euh je veux dire sur notre faim, car le cul devient bien plus rare, quel dommage !

Le film se perd en effet dans le drame psychologique à la petite semaine avec ses homos dépressifs ainsi que son côté "peace and love" de bisounours progressiste. En même temps, toute la galerie des névropathes est illustrée ici avec le maso, le branleur, la sado, le voyeur, et la fille à voile et à vapeur mais toujours peine-à-jouir. Et tout ce petit monde se retrouve au "Shortbus", le bar à partouzes. Pour forniquer et mater. Et pérorer aussi.

Le côté comique est certes bien présent avec précisément la sexologue à la recherche de l'orgasme perdu... c'est quelque chose ! Un mélange bizarre, donc, de porno et de pathos, plus ou moins drôle... ou pathétique. Un peu court tout cela mais certainement audacieux.
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6
JLuis_001May 23, 2018
It's sex, passion, lust, a bit of love, unfulfilled desires and also female orgasm dysfunction. Nice topics but they feel misguided and hollow.
The film presents interconnected stories that never feel strong or at least just more
It's sex, passion, lust, a bit of love, unfulfilled desires and also female orgasm dysfunction. Nice topics but they feel misguided and hollow.
The film presents interconnected stories that never feel strong or at least just more interesting.

I can say it was certainly unusual but very far from being truly thought-provoking
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