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1997 - R - 78 Mins.
Director: Lynne Stopkewich
Producer: Dean English and Lynne Stopkewich
Written By: Angus Fraser and Lynne Stopkewich
Starring: Molly Parker, Peter Outerbridge, Jay Brazeau, Natasha Morley and James Timmons
Review by: Bill King
Sandra Larson (Molly Parker) is a sick person. She's one of the most repulsive characters to grace the screen. Why, then, did I understand her motives for what she does? I believe that a movie can be made about anything, but some of the more taboo topics should be handled with more tact and restraint. One of the most difficult tasks for a filmmaker to pull off is to win our sympathy for a character who commits ghastly acts, but not to win our approval. There's a fine line, and director Lynne Stopkewich stays within the side of decency. What really saves "Kissed" is that it doesn't support the protagonist's urges. It simply gets inside the head of a person with a severe mental problem.

Since childhood, Sandra has been fascinated with death. At night, she would bury little animals in the woods, but unlike other kids who bury animals, she treats it like a ritual. She dances in the moonlight, and sometimes she caresses her body with the dead bird or mouse. She even convinces one of her friends to go along with her fetish. One day, Sandra goes too far, and she squeezes the body too hard, and blood smears her skin. She never sees her friend after that.

In high school, Sandra appears to be a normal teenager, but those same desires still remain. When she delivers flowers to a funeral home, she fancies the possibility of working there. When she asks about a job, the mortician, Mr. Wallis (Jay Brazeau), brings her on board. At first, she performs daily routines around the funeral home, but she gets the desire to learn embalming. It would give her the opportunity to get closer to the bodies. Mr. Wallis teaches her everything he knows about the "art" of embalming, in a scene that might unsettle some viewers, due to the details that he goes into. As she settles into her job, it becomes clear that Sandra likes to engage in more than burial dances. The possibility that she might sleep with a body is now for certain.

In college, she meets a nice guy named Matt (Peter Outerbridge). She informs him of her necrophilia urges. Instead of being repulsed, he is fascinated by her interest. He's never met anyone like her, and he's determined to find out why she does it. This allows her the opportunity to openly explain her feelings for the bodies. In both her conversations with him and in her narration, we discover that she is compelled to be on the brink of death. She also feels sadness for those in her care. She doesn't theorize, but she knows that bodies can still feel. Sleeping with the dead men in the funeral home is her way of giving them pleasure as a final gift. When Matt thinks that she couldn't possibly love him, he begins a downward spiral to win over her affections.

In possibly the bravest roles they'll ever have, Molly Parker and Peter Outerbridge hold nothing back. Parker was a good choice. She doesn't look like someone with a problem. She looks sort of innocent, which is a contrast to her secret desires. Climbing on bodies and licking dead mice would have turned away most actresses, but Parker jumps into the role. Peter Outerbridge also has a challenging role. In a key scene, he must bare everything to prove his love for Sandra, to show how far he'll go to win her back.

Lynne Stopkewich, the director and co-writer, adapted the film from the story "We So Seldom Look on Love" by Barbara Gowdy. Wisely, she doesn't exploit the subject matter. I've heard of some sick films dealing with necrophilia (the "Nekromantik" series), but "Kissed" approaches the topic with a sense of tenderness. It's almost touching, listening to Sandra talk about her needs. In no way, however, does Stopkewich and her movie condone Sandra's actions. The movie isn't advocating necrophilia as a new, alternate lifestyle. This is a movie about a sick person, and why she does what she does.
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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