JDIFF Review – She’s Lost Control

Ronah (Brooke Bloom) is a sex surrogate, who lives an increasingly isolated life. When she begins treating the particularly difficult Johnny (Marc Menchaca), Ronah perseveres to break through his intimacy issues. However, as she does so, the line between Ronah’s personal life and professional life begin to blur.

She’s Lost Control shares a theme with 2012’s The Sessions, but is more an examination of a character than the profession she inhabits. Brooke Bloom is the living breathing heart of She’s Lost Control, and her performance is honest, warm and utterly engrossing. Bloom makes Ronah patient and kind, but firm and assured, and once this begins to unravel, we see the true person underneath. Marc Menchaca makes Johnny intimidating and guarded at first, but allows his edges to soften as his treatment with Ronah progresses. The rest of the cast is made up of Dennis Boutsikaris, Laila Robins and Tobias Segal.

Anja Marquardt screenplay focuses on Ronah and her interactions with the world around her. As she strides confidently through the city, we rarely see Ronah interact with anyone other than patients and colleagues, and when she does invite a neighbour for dinner, the conversation is laboured and uncomfortable. We also learn that such is the extent of Ronah’s isolation, that she is freezing her eggs to perhaps have a child in the future, since there is no partner on the horizon. The screenplay focuses on the honesty and assertiveness of Ronah’s interactions with the people in her life, and makes her a strong and commanding but incredibly isolated woman. There are times, however, when the script gets so entangled with proving Ronah’s isolation that is drags the entire film down; discussions of leaking pipes and mortgages are not relevant here, but are given ample focus on screen.

As director, Anja Marquardt makes She’s Lost Control an incredibly intimate and engaging film, but never a sexually gratuitous experience. The touch of a hand is more engaging here than masturbation or sex, and Marquardt makes sure that intimacy, rather than sex, is the name of the game here. The pacing of the film works, as we learn more about Ronah as she moves through her life, but there are tangents that drag the film to a screeching halt, and tonally change the flow of the film, so it takes some time for it to recover every time. That said, the film is beautifully shot, with the cinematography underscoring the loneliness of Ronah’s life.

In all, She’s Lost Control is carried by Brooke Bloom’s natural and honest performance. The story is an interesting one, but in trying to show the audience the full emptiness of Ronah’s personal life, the film’s pacing and emotional impact are dragged down. This is a strong debut from Anja Marquardt, let down by tangents and a rather abrupt ending.

Rating: 3.5/5

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