Consent (2010)

Siblings are driven into each others arms when a dysfunctional family and a tragedy invade their lives in new film Consent.

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A wealthy Manhattan family’s inability to cope with the suicide of their eldest daughter sends them into a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and sexual taboos that threatens to destroy them.

I was really excited to see this film. Just the title alone grabbed my attention! I thought, that looks intriguing – and it was. It was a great film on many levels. I figured the film would have incest in it (judging from the title) but I had no idea how well it would live up to my expectations, and that they would be such great characters.

The best way I can describe this film is The Cement Garden meets The Borgias. Without giving too much away, it does not have your typical tragic ending that often happens in “incest” movies. They are not doomed or ill fated like what happens in movies like Dead Fall, or Innocent Lies. In fact the ending actually leaves room for a relationship between the two to grow even more, even though it may not be psychically. But what am I telling you the ending for without delving into a bit more of what the film is about.

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Directed by Ron Brown, Consent tells the tragic tale of a wealthy Manhattan family wading through the emotional wreckage of a recent death. By failing to face their heartache as a united front, each family member is sent down an individual path of self-destruction.

So how do the teen siblings attempt to conquer their grief? Not with a tub of ice-cream. They confide in drugs, alcohol and sexual taboos. Their parents also go about relieving their grief in all the wrong ways. Mostly by disconnecting from their own feelings, and ultimately, their own children. Consent is an important film because it speaks volumes  of what could happen in any family if you live with your eyes closed and when there is no communication.

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Between her junior and senior years of college, before anyone knew her as one of the Pretty Little Liars, Troian Bellisario spent a summer in New York City, filming this intense indie drama. Five years later, Consent has finally been released on iTunes.

Trojan plays the damaged, desperate and unformed character of high school junior Amanda. This is definitely a dark role for her, but she portrays it incredible well.

Amanda looks for love in all the wrong places. Her emotional handicap creates a particularly awkward situation for her older brother Josh, who is played with brilliant vulnerability by Peter Vack. He finds himself on the receiving end of his sister’s misguided search for love.

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That is not to say that he doesn’t deeply love her and on some level, want that too. Josh is an avid film maker and gets into film school by making a film about Amanda. He is also shown filming her frequently.

Josh deals with the loss of his sister Samantha by visualizing she is still with him. He starts hallucinating and having conversations with her like she is really there (must be all that recreational drug use.) Fortunately he usually talks to her when no one is around, otherwise he would be off to the loony bin instead of film school!

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“I hope that my fans support me in all of my work,” Troian said in an interview with Hollywood Life. “While a lot of people may not be dealing with matters of incest, they are perhaps dealing with loss or sadness or simply trying to find themselves in high school, where everything is so grey. I hope my fans like the movie, and I think a lot of people will.”

Well I sure did Trojan, and I am probably the only person on the planet that has only seen one episode of Pretty Little Liars, well maybe not the only person…Just a side note, does anyone else automatically think of Trojan Condoms when you hear her name? LOL. Ok I am getting side tracked from the plot of the movie again.

Troian and Peter ooze such intense chemistry that you’ll often forget they’re supposed to be playing brother and sister. Which is kind of the point. A major part of the film is the exploration of Amanda and Josh’s familial relationship, and what happens when the delicate line between siblings is crossed.

During one of the scene when Amanda and her friend are getting drunk and getting high, Josh walks in and he watches as Amanda kisses her friend. Her friend then kisses Josh, and then her friend asks for the brother and sister to kiss. It was very reminiscent of The Hamiltons.

“They have nobody else to turn to; they need each other,” Troian says of Amanda and Josh’s relationship. “And through them, you see how Amanda’s version of love is so skewed. Some people might call it perverted, but it’s really not her need for love that’s perverted. It’s just the way she seeks it.”

“None of these people are more equipped to help their own family than each other,” Troian explains. “What’s so tragic is that if they would simply speak about it — the loss, the grief, the heartache — so much of this would be avoided.”

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“The title of the movie isn’t necessarily about Josh giving consent to Amanda, but it’s really abut the parents giving consent to their children to behave in these ways,” Troian explains. “Without parental guidance, what are you saying is OK for your children to do in the world? What’s most interesting about Amanda’s character is seeing how far she’ll go, and what toll it will take on her emotionally and mentally.”

So how far does Amanda go? That, my friends, is something you’ll have to learn by watching the movie. Check out the trailer, then head over to iTunes and indulge!

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Categories: Brother/Sister, Film | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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