OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The lights will come on again!

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The ByTowne is now closed. But there's good news!

After the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and the ByTowne will re-open.

It may take a while for pandemic restrictions to be eased enough
that a feasible number of patrons can be allowed to watch a movie again,
but the new owners are working towards that day.

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Thanks For Sharing

Life is a journey you never have to take alone.

There are three schools of thought on sex addiction. Some experts think that it’s analogous to drug and alcohol addiction; some think it’s a form of obsessive compulsive disorder; and others think that it doesn’t exist at all.

Poster art for Thanks For SharingWhatever your viewpoint, there’s no denying the complexity – or, let’s be honest, the potential for humour – of this affliction. And in Stuart Blumberg’s sparkling Thanks For Sharing, it makes for delightfully compulsive viewing.

Blumberg and screenwriter Matt Winston use three interconnected narrative strands to showcase different aspects of the sex addict’s struggle to function in a society that bombards them with provocative sexual imagery on every street corner, newsstand, and tv set. Adam (Mark Ruffalo) maintains sexual sobriety by understanding the triggers that send him towards promiscuity, and he finds help and comfort through a support group. There, his sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) leads by example, but has arguably found a substitute for his sexual addiction in his dependence on the recovery program itself, and an overriding need to be needed. Neil (Josh Gad) is a young doctor who ultimately loses his job due to his repeated lying about his behaviour.

After a lot of counselling and support, Adam feels he might be ready for a meaningful relationship. He is lucky enough to meet Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful, independent woman who is resolutely against dating any sort of addict, having recently gone through a bad breakup with an alcoholic. The smitten Adam hides his background from her, and their powerful mutual attraction accelerates them towards real commitment – until a small incident leads to the exposure of Adam’s secret. Meanwhile, Neil forms his first real female friendship with Dede (music superstar Pink, in a charming performance), and his discovery of the richness of a non-sexual relationship with a woman gives him hope for a fuller, more emotionally balanced life.

While the film’s title is lighthearted, Blumberg deftly balances sweet, character-driven humour with darker moments, as each character struggles with a compulsion that is as much mental as it is physical. Ultimately, what the film teaches us is that cravings, and the suffering and remorse that they can cause, are painful facts whether or not medical professionals can agree on a label – and that the search for sobriety and balance is a brave and difficult quest that demands our respect.

– Jane Schoettle, Toronto International Film Festival
 

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