My Year Without Sex
Following a near-fatal aneurism, Natalis is obliged to take it easy. And she would if it wasn't for football practice, mortgage repayments and everything else that gets in the way. score

moviereview rates films from
1 (unwatchable) to 5 (unmissable)
find a moviereview
Sacha Horler, Matt Day, Portia Bradley, Jonathan Segat, Fred Whitlock, Petru Gheorghiu

Sarah Watt

Sarah Watt


Rating / Running Time
M / 96 minutes

Australian Release
May 2009

Official Site

(c) moviereview 2006-2009
ABN 72 775 390 361
Sarah Watt’s utterly delightful follow up to 2005’s breakout Look Both Ways finds the director in a brighter mood but still in touch with a rich vein of dark humour. My Year Without Sex may sound like a horror film, and in some ways it is, but is also the situational circumstance for this simple story of a family in crisis.

Natalie (Sacha Horler) is running a very normal household in Melbourne when an aneurism cuts her down but not out. What follows is a year of recovery blighted by mortgage stress, the spectre of unemployment, eight-year-old birthday parties, football practice, family holidays, Christmas and a dead fish. Which is to say this is about the every day stuff experienced by five million households across the country, just like theirs.

Watt has a firm hand on the minute detail that fleshes out a routine narrative and turns it in to something altogether special. There’s not a moment that doesn’t feel convincingly real as Natalie and husband Ross cope with a year of bad luck. Crashing the car into a Gold Coast transvestite for instance. It could derail a slighter movie, here it’s utterly plausible. Stuffed with exceptional one-liners – “Capitalism is exhausting,” says a well-heeled family friend – it follows a path that’s tender, never mawkish and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.

Watt is aided by an exceptional cast led by Horler’s remarkable performance. She gives Natalie a subtle dignity that helps her deal with the anxiety of her illness and the strain it places on her family. When she turns coyly to God, albeit through an 80’s one-hit-wonder turned priest, it seems the natural thing to do. And this is the key to Watt’s success. 
My Year Without Sex, from the running gag about alluring advertising to Ross’s fight with Ikea furniture, beats effortlessly with a subtle, natural heart.