Thanks for Sharing
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 27th October 2013
You may say that a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo and the popstar Pink, where people sit around and talk about sex, is simply a transparent, revenue-generating ploy.
Well sure, those are some drawcards. But don’t be put off – we’ve seen enough addiction dramas where it’s booze and drugs that deliver big-name movie stars to the Oscar podium. Now it’s a helpless dependency on sexual congress which takes the spotlight, and in this entertaining yet sobering reflection the emotional scars are no less jagged.
For viewers who echo one character’s assumption that sex addiction is just an excuse people make when they are caught cheating, Thanks for Sharing ought to enlighten on the reality of sex addiction as a valid condition. With the casting of Ruffalo as Adam, a successful New Yorker who is secretly struggling to right some long-twisted sexual associations, we have a much more palatable character than, say, Michael Fassbender in Shame, to disavow us of such a misperception.
It’s warming to remember how good Tim Robbins can be as he plays the addiction group evangelist, fighting his own demons while devastatingly skeptical about his own son’s claims of recovery (an unrecognisable Patrick Fugit who played the kid in Almost Famous). Robbins spouts some of the best one-liners you’ll ever hear, with such gems as “Worry is just a meditation on shit” and “It’s like trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body”. And as for the popstar formerly known as Alecia Moore – Pink is terrific, tapping into the forthright energy apparent from her musical performances but nonetheless believable as a young woman battling the same urges as her predominantly male counterparts. Josh Gad (Jobs) is delightful as the comic foil with his own larger-than-life issues.
Inevitably in a 12-step programme (the sex addicts speak of being “sober”) the film touches on issues of trust and faith, but the story is so well-written that everybody’s ups and downs feel realistic and credible.
Yet again, Ruffalo plays shades of his usual characters, but frankly, anyone plus Ruffalo make a cute couple, and he and Paltrow have some lovely chemistry as their burgeoning relationship is handled with enormous truth.
Thanks for Sharing is a comedy of the deadpan kind, appropriately alleviating some of the darkness inherent in any tale which speaks to addiction as a coping mechanism, while also delivering enormous entertainment.