How to Have Sex

DRAMA; 1hr 38min

STARRING: Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Enva Lewis

How not to: McKenna-Bruce

It’s vacation stations all the way at the Crete resort of Malia, where 16-year-old Brits Tara (McKenna-Bruce, whose stillness speaks the proverbial volumes), Skye (Peake) and Em (Lewis) are puppies off the leash and determined to get laid — most notably Tara, who to her social frustration, has never dunnit. “Gang gang gang!”


And they’re raging! The girls arrive as an adrenaline rush pumped by mutual exhilaration and whatever booze they can hoover up and hurl. They’ll be crying out for every shred of that energy. Packed to its gills with party animals, Malia is a raft of disasters in the making: with its delirious mash-up of hormones and one-upmanship, anything goes if you can get away with it. Tara, a thinker who takes to heart what she is unable or unwilling to express, is painfully defenceless even for her wide-eyed age, and doesn’t have a prayer of getting off the island scot-free. Like all crucibles, first-time film-maker Molly Manning Walker’s hot bed of weaponised sex will be a scorching metamorphosis.


Not a lot happens, plot point-wise; the unspoken is the real story here. Tara has impersonal sex with the wrong boy (Samuel Bottomley as Paddy), then emotionally connects with the right one (Shaun Thomas as Badger) in a silence more telling than any hollow come-ons. It’s not a strong enough salve to completely mend what has been undermined — Tara must take that bruising home with her to process as best she can. But it’s a precious glimmer of kindness in the isolation of an enveloping dark.