African monkeys' lifestyle adapted in "Bonobo," a new film with experimental story idea from debuting director Matthew Hammett Knott
A movie review by Oliver Carnay
In his first feature film "BONOBO," debuting director Matthew Hammett Knott takes a new idea centralizing a story about imitating free sex and uninhibited lifestyles of the famous African Bonobo monkeys, where humans can also adapt, and believed to be the answers to common human problems.
Judith (Tessa Peake-Jones), a lonely middle-class widow is baffled that her only daughter Lily (Eleanor Wild), is dropping from Law School to join a hip sex commune named Bonobo, a way of life that follows a type of ape engaging mostly recreational sex as a means to resolving problems, where common practice include -- having sex to ease tension, nude yoga, massaging, masturbation, among other things.
Anita (Josie Lawrence), the mentor of Bonobo house who is half more than the age of a group of over 21 living at the Bonobo house, which is apparently also popularly streamed online where people can subscribe to watch them (but of course, how can they survive running the business without money coming in?).
Judith decides to confront her daughter and show up at the commune, but when she got there, she is persuaded by Anita to stay for a couple of days. Interacting with other housemates -- a gay couple, a straight couple (strangely enough there were only about six tenants including its house mentor Anita living at the commune -- looks like some sort of commonly operated sex webcam running site?), Judith strangely may find out more about her inner self (including a scene making out with Anita, testing if she is a lesbian) and resolving miscommunication with her daughter.
The film has its moment of funny and entertaining lines from its lead Peake-Jones, who is perfectly cast in this film, and the presence of James Norton (with gratuitous romping nudity, the most notable actor in the film -- he appeared in features “Mr. Turner,” “Rush”,” and “Belle”). Also, stealing the scenes and punchlines in the movie is English actress Carolyn Pickles who plays Celia, the dominant mother of Lily's estranged best friend.
Although the movie is a failed experimental idea and unbelievable, Matthew Hammett Knott’s feature debut is still as entertaining and satisfying in total.