Docurama // 2009 // 63 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 7th, 2011
A revealing look at sex and American youth.
Well, this is depressing. Filmmaker and fashion photographer James Houston takes us on an hour-long journey into the seedy world of teen sex and the various approaches American society has taken to address educating kids about doing the deed.
Houston opens his film with a look at the oversexualization of pop culture, a fact that is evident to all of us, but even more impacting when utilizing a late-night Skinemax montage of ads geared towards young people. The fact that Houston himself is responsible for shooting provocative photos like these takes away some of his judgmental credibility.
After rolling out upsetting stats about teen sex and pregnancy, Houston moves into the nuts and bolts of his documentary -- determining the proper way to educate. He hits on comprehensive sexual education and abstinence programs, interviews pastors of churches, families, and a sampling of teens themselves.
While Houston lands on the side of comprehensive sex ed and strongly leans away from abstinence-only programs, he has put together a fair look at the issue. It's a difficult question to answer: Do you roll out the condoms and hullabaloo for kids thus encouraging teen sex, or do you push for abstinence, which would leave these hormonal adolescents unprepared when the mood strikes?
It's a thorny debate and, to Houston's credit, he does his due diligence to generate a breadth of opinions and stances. My point of view is that these conversations need to take place in the home first and the school second, and Houston doesn't seem opposed to this; some of his interview subjects agree.
At sixty minutes, Let's Talk About Sex may not be feature-length, but the film is earnest, its filmmaker genuine, and subject matter important. Houston packs more than enough information and angles into his brief runtime, making this a solid documentary and certainly worth a look.
The DVD is lean: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, and no extras.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 63 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated