Gold Coast Film Festival Opening Night – How To Please A Woman Film Review

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  • Friday, 22 April 2022 14:37
'How To Please A Woman' 'How To Please A Woman'

'How To Please A Woman' is a tender but naughty ‘coming-of-age’ comedy-drama about women who know what they want but are afraid to ask. And the ‘ask’ covers every facet of their lives from work to domestic responsibilities, marriage and sex.


For her debut feature, West Australian writer and director Renee Webster has crafted a delicately balanced film aimed at women over 35 – how to have an emotionally and physically satisfying life as you get older. There are more than a few emotional (and moral) touch-points in this film – sexual desire, romance, queer awakenings, ageing and the pure joy of being respected, loved, listened to and understood. In each instance, Webster’s script provides a non-judgemental and embracing response.

In this funny and sometimes uncomfortable film, Gina (Sally Phillips) is turning 50 and not feeling good about herself, her job or her sexless marriage to Adrian (Cameron Daddo) who has lost all interest in her physically. In a nutshell, Gina has become “invisible to everyone”.

And if this isn’t enough, things unravel even further on her birthday when she is laid off from her job in a liquidation company. Faced with this life-changing dilemma and aware her options have narrowed (due to her age), Gina seeks the support of her circle of women friends who meet regularly for early morning swims.

It is during these liberating post-swim sessions that the women discuss their lives, relationships and sexual desires – highlighting the power and camaraderie of the sisterhood.



To help lift her spirits and celebrate her birthday, Gina’s girlfriends organise a surprise birthday stripper who turns up at her house offering ‘to do anything’ Gina wants. Somewhat taken aback, Gina asks the stripped down Tom (Alexander England) to do what no one else will – clean her house.

When Gina discovers her clientele want far more than just a house clean (and the men are happy to oblige) she has a choice: either embrace the idea or fold the company and join the unemployment queue.

Keeping her new venture a secret from her domineering husband, Gina sets about building the company with her manager Steve (Erik Thomson), and his small crew of young movers/cleaners Tom, Anthony (Ryan Johnson) and Ben (Josh Thomson).

As the business develops, so does Gina’s sexual appetite and awakening. In the process, Gina and Steve begin a journey of their own – one that shines light on emotional and sexual honesty, speaking the truth and the sheer delight of unbridled physical intimacy between people.

There’s a lot to like about this wonderful movie – apart from its honesty, comedic touches and the freshness of its female voices. Renee Webster’s debut offering marks a turning point in Australian cinema – an industry once dominated by men. For the blokes out there – don’t feel alarmed. Get on board, and discover ‘How To Please A Woman’.

★★★★☆

Gold Coast Film Festival is on until 1 May.

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