“No one cares if you’re a virgin, it’s very chill.”


British cinematographer Molly Manning Walker (who shot this year’s Scrapper) makes her directorial debut with How To Have Sex, which follows three teenage girls on a holiday of self-discovery in Malia. Although it embarks from the teenage urgency to get laid, this is a far cry from 80s sex comedies — Walker’s script uses the subject to explore wider experiences of adolescence like inadequacy, jealousy and shame. Tara’s virginity is a parallel for her lack of experience and academic prowess compared to her friends, a barrier to honesty despite their closeness. Mia McKenna-Bruce’s performance is superb, taking Tara from grating in the opening moments to deeply sympathetic over the course of the film. The camera focuses on faces, capturing looks that reveal the purpose behind words spoken by the characters. The nights out jump between scenes like fragmented drunken memories, capturing familiar experiences like the isolation one can feel from friends and the panic of the noise and crowd when separated. Meanwhile, shots of the desolate, litter-strewn streets in the morning seem to be a quiet indictment of “Brits abroad”. Walker has created something accessible (and relevant) to any gender but the power of How To Have Sex lies in its female perspective.