“Crshd” Gives The College Sex Comedy A Welcome Female Subversion


The college experience is ripe for all sorts of cinematic treatment. Mostly, college/university life is focused, obviously, on the student body. Quite literally, it’s even focused on the bodies of the students. Most movies of this ilk are sex comedies, often of the raunchy variety. Moreover, the have largely a male gaze. Well, Crshd (opening on Friday) is here to change all of that. This movie takes the college sex comedy and subverts it with a female point of view. The result is a very creative, very funny, and even very moving experience. Despite the specificity of the characters, the desires and issues on hand are absolutely universal.

The film is, as mentioned, a comedy, this one set at a small liberal arts college. In broad strokes, the plot concerns three friends, and specifically the desire of the awkward one Izzy Alden (Isabelle Barbier), to lose her virginity, with the help of best friends, Anuka Deshpande (Deeksha Ketkar) and Fiona Newman (Sadie Scott). Taking place on the last day and night of freshman year for the girls, the trio determines that their only hope for Izzy is getting into an exclusive, invite-only “Crush Party.” There, Izzy can hook up, hopefully with Nolan (Abdul Seidu), who she lusts after, but so too can Fiona, who has her eyes on the cool girl at school. Of course, to get there, wacky adventures must be had, including ones with alcohol, drugs, miscommunications, and mix ups, though it’s all done with a surprising amount of realism. Even when things get crazy, they’re still super grounded and believable. Emily Cohn writes and directs, with cinematography by Saaniya Zaveri, while Matthew Liam Nicholson handles the score. Supporting players include Raph Fineberg, L.H. González, Peter Lawson Jones, Dylan Rogers, Jerry Lee Tucker, and more.

The combination of strong acting from the three leads and filmmaker Emily Cohn’s creative storytelling make this movie absolutely irresistible. Isabelle Barbier plays awkward incredibly well, reacting hilariously to the more forward and sexual suggestions made by Sadie Scott. Scott, who is, in my humble opinion, best in show, mixes a quirkiness and a sexiness that may well make her a star, going forward. Their scenes together are full of life and ring absolutely true. Both hold your attention when alone, of course, but together, it’s amazing. Deeksha Ketkar is great too, at her best when interacting with Izzy, though her subplot alone is the least memorable of the three. Credit to Cohn, however, for writing such lovable women, and to the actresses for playing them so well.

Crshd suggests a limitless future for Cohn, who is sharp witted as a writer, as well as visually distinctive as a director. In fact, were it not for the familiar story beats that she hits in the plot, especially in the third act, this would easily be one of the best films of the year so far. To be sure, she tackles them from a unique angle, whether it’s in the dialogue, or especially with the on screen creativity, but the plot is still largely something we’ve seen before. It’s a tiny critique, though, since Cohn really does knock this one out of the park. In fact, the way she showcases on screen texting between the characters, as well as the video title sequences, are a real highlight. It really is more than just a calling card, but it does suggest that’s he can do just about anything.

This week, you’re about to see a wonderful new spin on the college sex comedy in Crshd. Emily Cohn, along with her cast, have crafted something special here. Everything about this picture is full of life, both in front of the camera and behind it. It’s impossible not to fall for this one, whether you respond to what Cohn is doing as director, what Barbier, Ketkar, or Scott are doing with their performances, or all of the above. It just works. Make it your business to see this one. You can thank me later.

Be sure to check out Crshd, available to watch on Friday!

(Photos courtesy of Lightyear Entertainment)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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