Thanks For Sharing (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/10/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Engaging, low-key and thoughtful comedy-drama with a sharply observed script and a trio of terrific performances from Ruffalo, Robbins and Gad.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Stuart Blumberg (who wrote The Kids Are All Right), Thanks For Sharing is set in New York and stars Mark Ruffalo as environmental consultant Adam, who's just achieved five years of abstinence in his struggle against sex addiction (the rules of his group say that sex and masturbation are not permitted outside of a committed relationship). In recognition of his achievement, Mark's sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) asks him to mentor new group member Neil (Josh Gad), who is there by court appointment and doesn't appear to be taking the sessions very seriously.

However, Adam has his own problems when he falls for Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) and she tells him her ex was an alcoholic and she's sworn never to date another addict – should he tell her and risk losing her? Meanwhile, Mike attempts to deal with his recently returned ex-drug addict son Danny (Patrick Fugit) and Neil hits rock bottom but finds solace in a burgeoning relationship with fellow addict Dede (Alecia Moore, aka Pink).

The Good
Mark Ruffalo is excellent as Adam, a man who's constantly wary of the temptations that could lead him back to his old habits; consequently we keenly feel the wave of panic he experiences when presented with the possibility of a new relationship. Paltrow is equally good as Phoebe (who essentially has an exercise addiction – the script makes that idea clear, even if the character doesn't see it herself) and there's strong work from both Robbins and Gad, while Moore is both effective and believable as Dede and Joely Richardson is superb as Mike's long-suffering wife.

Blumberg's script wisely avoids the expected clichés, largely steering clear of big dramatic moments in favour of smaller situations that feel real. In addition, the film is often very funny, with a lot of sharply observant humour, most of it centred around Gad's character, who gets both the funniest lines - his scenes with his mother (Carol Kane) are hilarious - and some amusing physical moments, such as when he has to start riding a bike because his court order forbids him from taking the subway.

The Great
It's fair to say that the idea of sex addiction isn't likely to be taken too seriously by most audiences, but, like Steve McQueen's Shame, the film goes some way towards illustrating the damage that such an addiction (the film calls it a disease) can do and treats the subject as seriously as a drink or drug problem. Similarly, the use of three main characters allows Blumberg to explore all aspects of the addiction, from recognising you have a problem (Neil) to dealing with anger and resentment amongst family members post-recovery (Mike).

Worth seeing?
Thanks for Sharing is an enjoyable and emotionally engaging comedy-drama with a strong script, superb performances and assured direction from Stuart Blumberg. Recommended.

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Thanks For Sharing (R16)
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Content updated: 20/11/2019 19:54

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