Glasgow Film Festival 2013: ‘The Sex of the Angels’ is shallow, witless and rather insufferable

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Sex of the Angels PosterThe Sex of the Angels
Written by Ana Maroto
Directed by Xavier Villaverde
Spain/Brazil, 2012

The Sex of the Angels concerns Bruno (Llorenç González) and Carla (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), an attractive young couple whose relationship is changed by the introduction of street dancer/martial artist Rai (Álvaro Cervantes) into their lives. Sparks begin to fly between the two men, and they secretly begin a passionate, open relationship on the side. When Carla finally discovers, she is understandably upset, especially since Bruno apparently finds a unique freedom with the less monogamous nature of his Rai relations. After some soul searching, Carla decides she still loves Bruno and wishes to encourage his happiness, which eventually involves befriending and falling for Rai herself.

One commendation to throw the film’s way is that in its depiction of the complicated situation, it never reproaches bisexuality or depicts it in a sleazy manner as many filmmakers with this material may be prone to do. That is about the only positive, though, as The Sex of the Angels is an insipid slog full of bare stereotypes for both protagonists and supporting players. This is the sort of relationship drama that goes beyond just having naive characters, instead presenting frustratingly idiotic ones that always put themselves in situations with the utmost potential for dramatic scandal; be sure to keep a tally of just how many times characters will perform actions they want kept secret in public places, often knowing a party they want unaware is within the vicinity.


Full of painfully trite clichés in its portrayal of ‘free spirit’ characters, this is a witless, shallow film where the team involved didn’t seem to realise the farcical nature of a narrative of constant sex interspersed with bland, moronic ciphers incessantly whining. Furthermore, regarding the sex, for all the intimate scenes there are and the film’s supposed embracing of numerous forms of sexuality, it’s a little suspicious that all full-frontal nudity is left to Bergès-Frisbey and none to her male co-stars. In contrast to the heavenly figures of its title, The Sex of the Angels is like spending nearly two hours in needy bourgeois hell.

Josh Slater-Williams

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