Film

Sex-Surrogate Therapy Drama She’s Lost Control Is Shot With a Vigorous Chilliness

by

“We moved to genital touching, as you suggested. He was present throughout.” That’s how sex-surrogate therapist Ronah (Brooke Bloom) reports to her boss about one of her sessions with a client suffering erectile dysfunction and a general inability to connect.

While smart, well acted, and shot with a vigorous chilliness, She’s Lost Control shares one of that client’s maladies: You try to get close to it, and it shies away, even as its subject and protagonist fascinate. That’s more due to a principled asceticism than any hangups.

Writer-director Anja Marquardt chooses to observe Ronah from behind, from down the hall, in silhouette, alienating viewers from a lead who is increasingly alienated from herself. Ronah strides with decreasing purposefulness through a New York tinted the cold blue-gray of Cold Case episodes and framed at times to suggest Eastern Bloc apartment complexes.

Marquardt works many threads — Ronah’s ambitions, her plan to freeze her eggs, her growing interest in intimacy with one of her clients, her relationship with a mentor who once worked the same gig, the threat of one ex-client’s attempts to contact her in real life — but, while individually interesting, they’re never woven into a truly compelling whole.

Suspense enlivens the final reels, but those scenes prove less rich than what the movie at first appears to aspire to, seeming to reach the same simple conclusions about surrogacy — creepy! dangerous! — that Spike Lee’s Girl 6 did about phone sex. All that said, I’m eager to see Marquardt and Bloom’s next projects.