Review: Sexual Chronicles of a French Family

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Shocking the public with explicit sex is the oldest trick in the book, right next to shocking with extreme violence. It’s boring and predictable.

How about we normalize sex and make it a comfortable subject for everyone instead? That is the premise of the film Sexual Chronicles of a French Family, a French film that tells the story of a mother’s quest to make sex a more comfortable, accessible subject for everyone in her family.

As Evan Rachel Wood put it, people are more comfortable watching extreme violence than sexual freedom. Sex is a taboo subject, especially in parent-teenager relationships. We could say that such discussions are too personal or awkward to have with parents, but the truth is that open conversations can avoid many sexual traumas or hang-ups.

Claire (Valérie Moes) realizes that she only ever told her kids the basic things: condoms and birth control. Otherwise, teenagers are completely blind sighted when they start their sexual life. No one expects her to teach her kids how to give oral but she wants to help them be more comfortable with their own sexuality.

The story is told from her youngest son’s point of view, as he goes on a mission to lose his virginity. He is desperate when he discovers that his father lost his virginity at 16, when he is still a virgin at 18. His father tranquillizes him and counters the typical belief that being a virgin is shameful.

The sexual relationships are dynamic: there is the sexually frustrated and pressured teenager, the passionate encounters of a young couple in love and the adventures of the bisexual older brother. The best thing about it is that there is no slut-shaming, regret or fake, quick orgasm scenes. There’s no myth of the obligation of orgasms for a healthy, good sexual relationship.

When the bisexual son experiments with threesomes with two of his university friends, a girl and a boy, there was no shame. It was normal, it was just sex. And in the end the intent of the movie is clear when Claire says there’s no need for the label bisexual, everyone is simply sexual.

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One thought on “Review: Sexual Chronicles of a French Family”

  1. I very much appreciate your review. I agree with Evan Rachel Wood’s comment and with what else the paragraph had to say. I am glad I have bridged that with my own children, to be able to have open conversations about sexuality.

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