NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN – The Blu Review
Review by Sam Moffitt
Men are very protective of their sex organs. From a young age men are all too aware of how vulnerable their junk is and how easily all or part of their manhood can be removed from the rest of our body. But it’s not something we talk about a lot.
Not Suitable for Children deals with a young Australian man, a party animal really, named Jonah (Ryan Kwanten “True blood”) who learns, almost by accident, that he has testicular cancer. The infected one has to be removed, which will not affect his sexual performance but will render him sterile. Then he also finds out that his sperm will not keep if cryogenically frozen.
I was circumcised as an adult, in 1983. I also had a vasectomy in 2001. I can assure you that any surgery to the male sex organs can be traumatic and I assumed that would be the focus of Not Suitable for Children. Nope, this movie has a lot more on it’s mind than male castration anxiety.
Jonah and his two roommates, Stevie (Sarah Snook) and Gus (Ryan Corr) seem to have a found a great way to delay adulthood, party all night and make money at it. Jonah has inherited his family home after the death of his mother. He and his roommates throw parties with light shows and live music and charge money for people to attend. They live the ultimate frat house life style and don’t even have to go to college to do it.
Jonah realizes how shallow his life style is and how much he would really like to be a Father when he finds out he will not be able to get any woman pregnant after his surgery. He starts noticing children and how much he’d like to have one, or two, sometimes to the discomfort of strangers who notice him watching children in a play ground or day care center.
I didn’t think I could find anything to identify with in Jonah’s character. I made the decision in 1968 not to have children. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated in the same year I made the decision not to bring children into this world and I have never once regretted that decision. I also read science fiction voraciously back then and almost every novel of the future predicted what we have right now, massive over population, climate change, exhaustion of natural resources, all that and so much more. Did I want my children to have to deal with all that in the future? Nope!
But if I were faced with the same dilemma that Jonah faces, sterility and not by choice, with no options, might I feel differently? Maybe so, it’s to the movie’s credit that someone with my attitude about reproduction would find Jonah very sympathetic.
Basically the poor guy has three weeks to find a woman willing to bear his child, with or without marriage, or love or even friendship coming into play. This is where the movie has some fun, the different reactions of women from Jonah’s past are priceless when he tries to find a willing partner. This is not however a laugh out loud, gross out comedy, far from it. This is a movie, like many Australian films, that loves its characters, treats them, and the audience, with respect and asks us to think about what is being played out on screen.
Where it gets complicated and messy is in the character of Stevie, very, and I mean very well played by Sarah Snook (what a name!) Stevie and Jonah have been friends for years, never were involved with each other, and neither of them thinks of the other in “that way.” And Stevie has an attitude that seems odd for a woman, she doesn’t like kids and doesn’t want one, (she says.) All that starts to change when she, and we the audience, realize she has serious strong feelings about Jonah.
Stevie changes her mind and, I don’t want to give out any spoilers but as you can guess it does get complicated. Jonah and Stevie’s intimate scenes together are some of the most realistic I have ever witnessed in a movie. All the awkwardness and clumsy moves, on both their parts, are almost too real, too painful to watch. These are the kind of scenes that really make you feel you’re seeing something you shouldn’t. Yet there is a great depth of feeling here. Like I said, this movie loves and respects it’s characters, and wants us to do the same.
Their love making remains humorous in that they have to hide it from Gus the other roommate, who has his own ideas about how Jonah can get the child he wants before he goes under the knife.
I never expected to be so emotionally moved by a movie about a 20 something party animal who is losing a testicle. But Not Suitable for Children is a warm hearted and very intelligent look at an issue that has never been addressed in a movie,(to my knowledge) a man who feels his biological clock ticking and wants to be a Father before that clock’s time runs out.
Well Go USA’s Blu-Ray disc has excellent interviews with the director, writer and principal actors. Sarah Snook is even more delightful in person than when acting a part. Also a making of documentary which reveals that the intimate scenes were tough to do, and a preview trailer, are included.