Room In Rome

Year: 2010
Production Co: Morena Films
Director: Julio Medem
Writer: Julio Medem
Cast: Natasha Yarovenko, Elena Anaya

You're not sure whether to expect a pervy soft porn boy's fantasy from this movie or a sensitive drama about the lead characters' hearts and souls rather than their boobs and arses.

If you want to latter you certainly get it. The winsome Alba (Anaya) and Natasha (Yarovenko) spend a good portion of the film completely naked, and we're treated to three very sexy love scenes as well as plenty that are just as sexy with no sex at all, such as the bathtub. If you want nothing more than to look at two beautiful young women cavort in each other's arms, there are plenty of sequences where you'll be freezing the movie to take a screenshot for your desktop picture.

But that was never going to be enough to sustain a 100-minute movie. In fact, it would be challenge enough for a movie about two women in a hotel room to stay interesting. Women In Trouble had about eight characters to play with and wasn't half as affecting as this.

We don't know anything about the boyish Alba and the svelte Natasha when they stagger back to Alba's hotel room in Rome late one night. They seem to have just met and despite the avowedly straight Natasha's reservations Alba convinces her to stay for a drink. The two women talk and tell stories about themselves but it seems most of the time they're only play-acting. Natasha listens to her inner critic and leaves when Alba falls asleep, but has to come back when she realises she's left her mobile under the bed.

When she comes to retrieve it she gives in to the attraction they feel, and the two end up in bed. Over the course of the night they gradually open up their souls to each other and we get to know them just as they do each other. Nothing of specific or singular note in itself happens during their discussions and lovemaking other than growing closer, but when they have breakfast the next morning and entertain fantasies of leaving their former lives and partners behind to be together, you realise you've been watching an artful love story, because like the corniest Hollywood rom-com you desperately hope they'll end up together.

It's not perfect - the bellhop who spontaneously breaks into song might as well be wearing a T shirt that reads 'I'm here to set the tone of the film' – but it's much more enthralling than you expect from a movie about two women in a hotel room overnight.

Aside from the overt love scenes writer/director Medem achieves a strongly sensual tone. When Natasha explains to Alba – who speaks only passable English – how to pronounce the 'sha' at the end of her name, it will send a shiver up your spine, and it's such moments of beauty punctuating the drama that makes it far more enriching to see the pair's interaction rather than just hear the dialogue like you would in a play or a book.

Like the best gay love stories it's about the love rather than the sexual orientation, and makes you remember that love is about our souls, not our gender. And it's got hot naked chicks to boot.

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