Today brings us the red band trailer for the upcoming Sundance-selected film "Sharp Stick," written and directed by Lena Dunham. Dunham is known for an unflinching look at the lives and sexuality of young women, creating the HBO series "Girls," a series in which she not only starred, but also wrote, directed, and produced. She's also the first woman to win the Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing for Comedy Series. Previously, she made waves in the indie world with the award-winning film "Tiny Furniture" in 2010. Now she's bringing together sexuality and independent cinema.
In "Sharp Stick," 26-year-old Sarah Jo (Kristine Froseth) is a babysitter and caregiver who begins an affair with her married boss (Jon Bernthal). She's dealing with family politics, including Jennifer Jason Leigh as her mother, who seems to have a no holds barred approach to being open and honest with her kids, and her sister (Taylour Paige), who is an influencer and seems to have an easier time with romance than she does. Looking at Sarah Jo's affair, her decision not to be hurt by a partner again, and how she goes about that, this feels like a Lena Dunham story from the opening moments of the trailer.
Watch The Sharp Stick Trailer
Admittedly, I had a pretty visceral reaction to this trailer, and it wasn't a good one. I appreciate the idea of the exploration of the sexuality of female-identifying people, and the more stories we see about them, the better. We don't get enough. I also love the fact that this was an all-female production crew. That said, I had a pretty strong negative reaction to the trailer. Perhaps making the audience uncomfortable is what Dunham was going for here, but the idea of watching an older man take advantage of his employee in a sexual manner isn't something I find entertaining. The full film might focus more on Sarah Jo taking back her own power and body positivity, but the trailer doesn't come across that way to me.
"Sharp Stick" also stars Luka Sabbat, Scott Speedman, Lena Dunham, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. It's produced by Dunham, Michael P. Cohen, Kevin Turen, and Katia Washington. It's executive produced by Ben Browning, Glen Basner, Taylor Paige, Jon Bernthal, Kenneth Yu, and Will Greenfield.
Here is the official synopsis for "Sharp Stick:"
Sarah Jo (Kristine Froseth) is a sensitive and naive 26-year-old living on the fringes of Hollywood with her disillusioned mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and influencer sister (Taylour Paige). Working as a caregiver and just longing to be seen, she begins an exploratory affair with her older, married employer (Jon Bernthal), and is thrust into a startling education on sexuality, loss and power.
"Sharp Stick" opens July 29, 2022 in New York and Los Angeles, and opens nationwide on August 5, 2022. It will be available on digital platforms on August 16, 2022.
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