Lena Dunham’s new film, Sharp Stick, is an attempt to end the “inborn judgment and shame around female desire,” the writer and director says. A new trailer for the film shows the sexual awakening of Sarah Jo (Kristine Froseth), as she embarks on an affair with her married boss Josh (a shirtless Jon Bernthal).
Per the trailer, when Josh ends the affair and goes back to his pregnant wife (Dunham), Sarah Jo throws herself into a world of hookups and sexual exploration aided in part by the internet. With Zola breakout Taylour Paige playing Sarah Jo’s sister and Jennifer Jason Leigh starring as her five-time divorcée mother, the film is filled with strong characters that early reviews praise for their comedic performances.
“It’s a joke as old as celluloid that the minute we spot a sexually active girl in a horror movie, we know she’s going to die in a blood death,” Dunham said in a statement on the film. “She’s let someone touch her below the neck, and so she’s marked for murder. But there’s a more subtle crime we commit toward women on camera, where female characters who dare to take a journey sexually may not get full-on murdered, but they do endure another kind of torture — one more exquisite and subtle.”
Dunham continued, “It’s a torture of judgment, of questioning, of self-doubt and loneliness and regret over choices that should ultimately just be part of the fabric of self-actualization in that same way it can be for their male counterparts. Interrogating these cinematic iniquities, I began to imagine a character whose sexual journey would be totally unique, unmarred by shame or self-hate or the projections of others. She would use sex not to destroy her body but to heal it from a history of medicalized trauma and cultural projection.”
Watch the first trailer for Sharp Stick, which hits theaters July 29th in New York City and Los Angeles and nationwide on August 5th, below: