You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

‘Below Her Mouth’ Is What Lesbian Porn Would Look Like If It Were Actually Made By Lesbians — Review

A steamy romance built around a simple story straight from season one of "The L Word" — minus the laughs.

Below Her Mouth

“Below Her Mouth”

Elevation Pictures

There is no scissoring in “Below Her Mouth.” That is about the only position missing from this 90-minute sex movie, which feels like an attempt to singlehandedly correct every misrepresentation of lesbian sex ever put onscreen. Many straight male directors have selflessly tackled the trope, including Park Chan-wook with “The Handmaiden” and Abdellatif Kechiche with “Blue is the Warmest Color.” While those films have artistic merit on their side, each feature laughably acrobatic scissoring positions, which no one should attempt at home, and could only have been imagined by someone who has never actually had lesbian sex.

READ MORE: ‘Blessed Virgin’: Paul Verhoeven’s Lesbian Nun Movie Casts ‘Elle’ Star Virginie Efira

In “Below Her Mouth,” director April Mullen (“Dead Before Dawn”) and her all-female production crew film every lesbian sex position under the sun, almost as if they had tasked themselves with delivering a primer to all the curious people out there. Who needs a story when there’s doggy-style strap-on sex on a bathtub ledge? And in an alleyway. And in the back of a truck. And even occasionally on a bed. But, in case you were wondering, the thin plot draped casually around these encounters is a lot like the Jenny/Marina storyline from season 1 of “The L Word,” except with blonde Shane as a roofing Romeo.

That would be Dallas, played by androgynous Swedish supermodel Erika Linder, who runs her own roofing business and says things like, “I’d tap that” to her male employees. At the club after a break-up, Dallas sets her sights on a pouty-mouthed executive named Jasmine (Natalie Krill), who happens to be engaged to a man named Rile (Sebastian Pigott). Soap opera names aside, Dallas and Jasmine begin their affair with scant drama; though Jasmine has never cheated before, she sees no harm in having a little fun before settling down. Despite Jasmine’s best efforts, she develops feelings for Dallas, who wins her over with mind-blowing orgasms and her sparkling wit. (Dallas: “Why do women love roofers so much? We know how to strip ’em and nail ’em.”)

Natalie Krill, director April Mullen, Erika Linder

Natalie Krill, director April Mullen, Erika Linder

Daniel Bergeron

In between sex scenes, which feel like they take up the entire movie (it’s probably closer to 65 percent), their conversations consist of sharing their romantic histories and discussing whether or not they should keep having sex. The affair awakens some long-repressed yearnings in Jasmine, who recalls a crush on a friend in high school which ended badly and abruptly. When she asks Dallas how she knew she was gay, she says: “I don’t tell my coming out story…It’s not one that ever ends.”

There are some interesting things going on with Dallas’ gender identity. She insists she’s not a tomboy: “I’m more legit than that.” And when she and a friend enter a “girl party” where she meets Jasmine, she says, “We’re not hot girls.” When her friend gives her a questioning look, she shrugs: “On the outside.” She packs all night (meaning she wears her strap on underneath her pants) so she can be ready to go at the drop of a bra, and exhibits crudely masculine stereotypes. Her thoughts on relationships: “I’m not looking to play house right now.” When Jasmine calls things off, she throws her roofing materials out of the truck angrily. “You okay?” asks one of the guys, before handing her a cold beer.

READ MORE: ‘Below Her Mouth’ Trailer: An Engaged Woman Has a Steamy Lesbian Affair — Watch

In terms of lesbian representation, “Below Her Mouth” checks most of the boxes. There are very few filmed depictions of that most common of lesbian sex acts: A woman donning a phallus and using it just like (and often better than) a man. Most of them have been on television; Shane (Katherine Moennig) does it once in “The L Word” (with Rosanna Arquette, no less!) and Lea Delaria’s Boo gets it on in “Orange is the New Black.” And it’s not quite the same thing, but Abbi scored major feminist points for pegging a dude on “Broad City.” For “Below Her Mouth” to show multiple times something that men have historically found extremely threatening (and for good reason), is worthy of praise. Jasmine also dons a pretty full bush.

But one question hangs over everything: What, exactly, is below her mouth? Her chin? Her body? Her entire mind and spirit? It’s a fittingly ambiguous title for a directionless film, late night fare that will be enjoyed by just as many horny men as horny teenage lesbians. Think of it as equal opportunity erotica. In the world of streaming video, “Below Her Mouth” will have no shortage of eager viewers. It’s like that old joke: Why do women love lesbian filmmakers? They know how to beat ’em and join ’em.

Grade: C-

“Below Her Mouth” premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It is currently playing in select theaters. 

 

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,