habitación en roma (room in rome)
Film, 2010, 1 star
Directed by: Julio Medem
Written by: Julio Rojas
Is Room in Rome the worst lesbian film of all time? No, but only its beautiful locations and relatively high production values differentiate it from a film like Inescapable, which truly lies at the bottom of the pile. What do they have in common? They’re porn masquerading as movies, and not very well.
If you’re not asking yourself “why?” within minutes of pressing play on this stinker, then I’m seriously questioning your motives for watching any film at all. Seriously, there is plenty of good porn out there that will satisfy the more carnal urges better than this, and with those you wouldn’t have to sit through the tired, miserable scenes where the characters open their mouths and speak.
Room in Rome is set (as one would have guessed), in a swanky hotel room in Rome. Two women meet in room, one an avowed lesbian, and one who claims to be straight, but obviously has sapphic curiosities. They retire to the room to begin a torrid one-night affair, which has a false start at first, but within five minutes they get down to business. The room itself is meant to be some kind of metaphor for the fact that while the women can be wildly uninhibited in bed, they are trapped within emotional walls of their own making.
There’s really quite a mind-boggling amount of sex, even at one point in a bathtub (ouch). The women spend two-thirds of the film naked, which just have made for quite a chilly shoot. In between bouts of passion they begin to unravel secrets about their lives, which may or may not be true, but honestly I couldn’t really bring myself to care one way or another. There’s some quite cliched exploration of butch versus femme in lesbian culture, and some discussion of whether long term relationships are even truly possible. There’s some naval gazing about freedom and self-expression.
Actresses Elena Anaya and Natasha Yarovenko battle gamely on through the sex and incredibly pretentious dialogue, until the sun finally comes up and they need to return to their “real” lives, much to our great relief. They discuss perhaps not going back to their realities and staying together to explore this newfound “love” (again, seriously?), but neither ever really looks on that as a choice.
If you read the rounds of reviews on this film, the only reviewers who think this film is sexy are men. I’m not kidding. Heaps of reviews with women asking what’s the point, and men saying it’s sexy and provocative. I can’t see any way, unless you were a horny lesbian trying to get her hands on literally anything where two women get it on, that any woman would actually get much out of this film.
The women act very much like try-hard lesbians being dreamt up by men might act. They’re insatiable, inventive, slippery and seductive. They play mind games, and spend hours artfully twirled up in hotel sheets at weird angles and with strange mood lighting. They stare adoringly at each other’s slim, muscular body parts. They say not very much that can be interpreted as intelligent or profound.
Julio Medem has truly set the bar for lesbian film incredibly low. Critics who compare this film to a sexier Before Sunset have seriously lost the plot. Even the repetitive score jangling along in the background seems designed to irritate.
Enough - don’t watch it, but if you do, at least you know why you’re doing it.