Directed by Brendan Prost
Starring Carolyn Yonge, Sean Marshall Jr., Jennifer Kobelt, Monice Peter
Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
In what deserves to be an instant cult classic, filmmaker Brendan Prost delivers an indie film that stands toe to toe with the best of witty comedies.
Carolyn Yonge plays Dolore, arguably the most anxious onscreen character you have ever seen, whose panicky tendencies seem out of proportion to her situation. With a doting boyfriend, Ryan (Sean Marshall Jr.), and being about to meet up with her estranged BFF Sinead (Jennifer Kobelt), who has been away travelling for years, Dolore does seem to coping, mostly, with her crippling self doubt. However, upon Sinead's return, she is introduced by Dolore to Ryan, and it seems they may have met before, causing Dolore to spiral. Luckily Dolore has another friend (Monica Peter) whose fierce attitude towards life may be just the cure...if she is even real.
Part rom-com part social drama, Sensitive Parts is an intelligent, tactful, and very funny film. Benefitting from an outstanding script from Prost, and an incredible central performance from Yonge, the movie felt like a lost gem from Woody Allen's back catalogue. There is a genuineness to the characters which is the foundation of the film, their interaction is completely believable and their emotions are poignant without feeling saccharine.
Yonge delivers a turn worthy of cult cinema history books, like a Juno of the digital age. She is smart mouthed but racked with insecurities, her heartfelt attempts at engaging with life are a fraction of what she does to escape it, making her totally damaged and likeable. Similarly, Kobelt is...ahem...fierce as the best friend. During one sequence where she has it out with Ryan about the difference between guy friendships and girl friendships, the audience will be left bludgeoned by the brutal reality of her words and delivery. Marshall Jr. also has a fantastic journey through the film, and plays a character who subverts the male cliche, that he too is damaged and fragile.
There do exist a few flaws in Prost's film, some of which are likely down to an indie film budget. The first is the sound editing. A few sequences are spoiled by an irksome lack of background noise, which I know seems crazy. However, during a scene where Dolore has picked Sinead up from the airport and they are driving back, there is barely any noise in the car other than their voices, and this happens in a few other scenes too. The effect is jarring for the viewer, as it made the scene feel constructed rather than natural. That being said, it was most likely microphone constraints rather than an oversight. Another small criticism would be the lack of cinematic daring. Nothing in Sensitive Parts could be described as visually bold, apart from a dance section involving strobe lighting, but everything is handled with strong capability so it could be down to personal taste, letting the story and characters doing the heavy lifting.
Aside from those small nags, Prost's film is utterly enjoyable and honest. There is a dedication to the characters and storytelling which transcends any minor technical issues, leaving Sensitive Parts as a hugely successful comedy film for the generation of young people trying to survive the emotional gauntlet of having a relationship in the digital age.