London Film Festival 2023: ‘How To Have Sex’ Review
Director: Molly Manning Walker
Writer: Molly Manning Walker
Starring: Mia McKenna-Bruce, Shaun Thomas, Lara Peake, Enva Lewis, Samuel Bottomley
Where To Watch: Coming soon to MUBI
Our Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Molly Manning Walker’s evocative, neon-clad debut no doubt treads familiar ground for countless adults in the United Kingdom as it brings to life the post-exam mates holiday many adventured on as a somewhat rite of passage as teenagers. Beaches, booze, and blazing hormones, these holidays are made up of the kind of stories you’ll never forget. However, what Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex demonstrates is, alongside that unforgettable party, how these teenagers exist in a curious limbo between their childhood and approaching adulthood.
This last hurrah spirals for the trio and Manning Walker’s smooth script excavates the intricacies of girlhood at this particular age, in the embattled friendships, the naivety, the hopeless romances. The film lavishes on the youthful rebellion of the lead three — fronted by a particularly shimmering performance from Mia McKenna-Bruce as sex-shy Taz — and never feels inclined to take itself too seriously even when Taz’s holiday takes a harrowing turn; it retains a brevity that feels familiar, that feels exactly like your mate recounting their own adventures over a beer some years later.