In Better than Sex, Josh (David Wenham) and Cyn (Susie Porter) meet at a party and then head back to Cyn’s warehouse flat for a one-night stand. He’s due to return to London in three days; the situation couldn’t be more perfect for a night of passion,
with no-strings attached. Could it?Better than Sex is essentially a two-actor story, set in Cyn’s apartment as the one-night stand turns into a three-night stand, and then - perhaps - something more. Teplitsky focuses on Cyn’s point-of-view a little more than Josh’s at first, which is frustrating because David Wenham is so compelling as the quietly charming and confident Josh. I’ve seen David Wenham on stage, television and film, and he moves effortlessly between each medium. Josh is another highly accomplished characterisation.
Susie Porter holds her own as Cyn, giving her a strong vulnerable streak amidst her occasional volatility and compulsiveness. Although it’s a two-hander, much of it focused on their sexual relationship, Teplitsky breaks up the action with a few artificial devices - an omniscient taxi driver, unseen interviewer, and the gossipy telephone conversations of their friends. Some of these - Kris McQuade’s laconic taxi driver especially - initially seem a little stark, but they add to the humour (Josh and Cyn’s thoughts during sex - conveyed by voiceover - are frequently hilarious).
Writer/director Jonathan Teplitsky’s written a smart script that captures the heady rush of falling in lust, and then love. Better than Sex starts as a contemporary take on the differences between the sexes, but gradually shifts to a touching love story. As the characters learn more about themselves and eachother, we do too.Better than Sex is a deceptively simple production, with crisp cinematography from Garry Phillips, a quirky score by David Hirschfelder and the wonderful production design of Tara Kamath.