Wetlands is a film that is truly experienced rather than viewed. Never before has a film been an experience for my body more than my mind. There is at least one scene in the film that I literally could not bear to look at. And yet, despite its immense vulgarity, it manages to be funny, exciting, even tender and it will take you to incredible and unexpected places but you have to let it. It is through the main character, Helen’s (played masterfully by Carla Juri), comfort with her own body that we are put at ease and are able to become comfortable with sexuality in a way that no film before it (at least that I’ve seen) ever has.
The production of Wetlands is of the highest caliber with an incredibly innovative and energetic edit that gives the movie the pace and tone that it needs. The film maintains a lighthearted attitude in the face of some heavy and often grotesque subject matter as we often seem to inhabit Helen’s brain. It is from this point of reference that I found myself remarking upon how romantic it was when Helen was telling her nurse about when she had sex with a prostitute on her eighteenth birthday. Or how it was cute the way that he pretended not to notice when she shit the hospital bed.
Wetlands has the potential, I think, to reinvigorate the romantic comedy genre, a genre that most anyone can see is in dire need of some vigor (whatever that means). I truly didn’t go into this film expecting or wanting to like it. Friends had told me I needed to go but had mixed feelings on it. It appeared to me that it was a film that would exploit its viewers in some way through shock value but I still wanted to see for myself. I couldn’t be happier that I did as it wound up being among my favorites at the festival. It pushes the limits in countless ways and comes out smelling like a…oh…well, I didn’t realize I’d…ahem. Who cares how it smells, I had a blast and I bet you will too if you can just get past that smell.