I saw it on the list on Netflix on the Apple TV and looked it up on imdb. It had 2 out of 5 stars on Netflix and 5.9 out of 10 on imdb. Then I saw the word "sadomasochist" in the description and realized most of the bad reviews must be from vanillas.
Just wondering if anyone I know has seen it.
I haven't watched yet but because of the following review, it's in my instant queue.
****WARNING!!!!! The ending is totally given away in this review. ****
9/10 | sam-519 | 8 Dec 2010
Judging by the reviews here, there seems to be a lot of animosity, a lot of grief and lot of misunderstanding about this film.
Leap Year, is by it's very nature, exactly that. It's a film about a desperately sad and lonely woman who, through her own sex drive, ends up making a massive jump forward in her life. Emotionally and temporally. It is a film for everyone who has felt the extremities of sexual pleasure and pain, the extremities of desperation, the extremities of loneliness and the extremities of depression.
Laura is a lonely woman with a job as a writer. She spends her time alone doing journalism and fantasising about personal relationships. Compulsively lying to her family to show herself as more interesting than she thinks she is. Needing positive emotional intensity. She lives emotionally vicariously off the young couple opposite her flat - she masturbates while watching them doing everyday tasks, feeding off the closeness they have but that she has never experienced. Closeness and understanding turn her on, they fuel her. She goes out most evenings and pulls random men back to her flat, sleeping with them but gaining nothing. They all leave in the morning with barely a word. She has no idea how to snare men any other way than through sex. To her, sex is the portal to emotional fulfillment. Here is her main failing.
She ends up meeting Arturo who has quite advanced sexual tastes. He likes spanking, he likes asphyxiation, he likes knife play and urolagnia. Because she is desperate to be close to him and because he shows a constant interest in her, she goes along with everything. And here is an important point. She does not go along with him because she is forced to but because she finds she enjoys it. There is no point in the film where she is forced to do anything beyond her will. Every time he buzzes her flat she knows what's coming. She runs to the window, throws the keys out, undresses and waits. The intensity, the vibe between them, the emotional extremity turns her on so much and gives her the emotional closeness she always fantasised about that she wants more. When Arturo urinates on her, and asks her afterwards what it was like, she smiles and says "it was warm". It felt good to her because it was personal, because it was private, taboo, shunned by many, but something explicit to them (a point clearly understood by the BBFC who did not cut this scene even though they are normally outspoken again urinating on women in pornography).
This brings me to the next point - this is not porn. Laura is a plain girl. She is not a porn actress or model. She is plump, she is normal, she is a lonely girl going through depressive motions desperately looking for understanding. This film is not meant to titillate, which is the point of pornography. It is not meant for the viewer. It is about Laura. It is her film. It is a snapshot of her existence. Nothing is glossy or embellished. The flat, her, her sex life, her job. Everything is matte, plain and wanting.
The film's pièce de résistance is the final scene. Laura has been marking days off her calendar to her decided day of suicide, 29th February, the same day her father died. Arturo asks her "what kind of person dies on February 29th?" to which she answers "those that have to". She is convinced she cannot - will not - live beyond this day. She marks it in a big red block on her calendar. A stop, an end point, unseeable beyond. She agrees with Arturo on the ultimate close sexual high - she will be killed by him during sex that night when she outlines to him in a highly erotic scene exactly what she wants him to do to her while she masturbates him. When the evening comes and her brother invades her space because he has broken up with his boyfriend, she wakes up the next day alive and in the same white dress as the night before. She looks at the calendar, realising February has ended, and turns over to March. A new month. A month she thought she'd never see. Each day blank and for her to fill with what she chooses. She is in control once again - maybe more than ever.
If you've ever been depressed, felt extreme loneliness or understand the highs and lows of sexual experimentation and intensity, this is a film for you. It ticks so many boxes so beautifully..... but for everyone else it will likely just seem exploitative. It is far more than that indeed: a very beautiful, dark and emotive piece of film-making.