TIFF 2021: ‘True Things’ is Sensual Look at How to Become Someone New

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True Things - But Why Tho

An erotic opening can go a long way, and that’s the case for True Things. Showcasing a relationship that many viewers will understand, directed by Harry Wootliff and written by Wootliff and Molly Davies, True Things showcasing the power of a sexual experience to shake up a mundane life and how intimacy can help you find yourself. The film is based on Deborah Kay Davies’ novel, True Things About Me.

In True Things, Kate (Ruth Wilson) is living a dreary life in the dreary seaside town of Ramsgate. She’s an insurance claims adjuster who dreams of spicy moments on the beach at sundown and wakes up in a grey room to go about her morning routine in her grey home. But when she meets a guy with bleach-blond hair and a grin that keeps her staring across from her office, she embraces the chaos and pleasure he brings into her life. Fresh out of prison, the man is quick to seduce Kate, ultimately having sex in a parking lot and unleashing a part of her she had tucked away.

Chasing orgasm after orgasm, Kate loses all commitment to her quaint life, shunning stability and embracing a man she only knows can give her pleasure, all to the distaste of those around her. Kate is feeling alive for what seems to be the first time in a long time. She has a sex partner, she has pleasure, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll cure the loneliness that Wootliff has been able to so potently pack into nearly every scene of Kate’s personal life, especially at home.

While the excitement comes from Kate’s embrace of her sexual excitement, the film’s beauty comes in what she finds along the way as her lover begins to pull away from her. With True Things, Wootliff paints a sensual landscape that embraces feminine pleasure while also showcasing that the archetypal “bad boy” has a function, even if he leaves pieces of destruction in his path.  There is a desperation for touch and connection that is showcased in Kate. A validation that she is looking for, almost filling a void. But as she learns to expect his rejection, she begins to move towards freedom she didn’t even receive from him.

But most importantly, the eroticism and sex in True Things are always used to tell a story, showcase emotions, and construct or deconstruct narrative boundaries that exist around our protagonist. When the relationship goes cold, Kate is left to pick up who she is outside of it. As the film’s lead Ruth Wilson is vulnerable and raw and a reflection of loneliness. She’s a woman we know, a woman we’ve been, and her journey through a less than healthy relationship is recognizable. More importantly, it’s seeing True Things through a woman’s gaze that crafts a story that feels whole and raw. Kate is a dynamic character who learns that she contains more than just her desire and that she can carve a path of happiness and pleasure on her own.

Overall, True Things is an intimate portrait of sex, intimacy, and the doors it can open in us. It’s about the power of connections to others and how they unfold pieces of our hearts.

True Things was screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

True Things
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall, True Things is an intimate portrait of sex, intimacy, and the doors it can open in us. It’s about the power of connections to others and how they unfold pieces of our hearts.