Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thanks For Sharing - 3 stars

This is a movie about sex addiction.  It focuses primarily on three men who are attending regular Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings.

Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is 5 years sober.  His problem was porn and hookers, and he's had more than one relationship ruined by his compulsions.  One way he stays sober is to live without a TV.  When he stays in a hotel, he has them remove the TV so he won't be tempted. 

I don't remember if they actually use the word 'sober' in the movie, but since all anonymous programs are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, the term works.

He hasn't dated in 5 years, and his sponsor, Mike (Tim Robbins) encourages him to start dating again.  As he says, the idea isn't to live like a monk.  So Adam starts seeing Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a health nut who doesn't know about Adam's addiction.  He knows he needs to tell her at some point, but on their first date she tells him that she once dated a recovering alcoholic, and she won't date one again.

Mike has been sober for a long time.  He also hasn't seen his son in years.  His son Danny is played by Patrick Fugit, and he's a recovering alcoholic but he doesn't go to meetings.  Mike doesn't believe his son has sobered up, but Danny promises that he's clean and he's here to make up for all the stealing and everything else.

The other guy is Neil (Josh Gad), an emergency room doctor who likes to rub up on random women on the subway.  He's been court ordered to go to recovery, and Adam is his sponsor. 

I enjoyed this movie.  It seemed like it took the realities of addiction seriously, and the meetings were believable.  Sometimes the movie did get a little too soap opera-ish for me, but most of the time the characters and their behavior seemed authentic. 

I'm not sure how much I liked the way the Adam and Phoebe relationship played out.  When she does find out that he's in recovery, she takes it well and tries to make it work with him.  But it seems like Adam is very insensitive to what it's like for her.  She wants to have a normal sexual relationship, and while Adam doesn't have to abstain or anything - recovery for him just means having and maintaining a healthy relationship - he does have some sexual hangups.  It makes him uncomfortable when she comes on to him too strongly, and he rejects her advances more than once. 

But I can't complain about that too much.  The reality of what it would be like for him to maintain a healthy relationship is a very interesting prospect.  Another nice storyline is the friendship Neil develops with a girl he meets in his meetings.  Her name is Dede and she's played by Alecia Moore, also known as Pink.  Even though they are both in the early stages of recovery, they are able to help each other in several crucial situations. 

The movie was a bit uneven in its tone, but I'm forgiving its shortcomings because I liked the characters and I thought the stories were interesting. 

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