WRITTEN BY: Stuart Blumberg, Matt Winston
DIRECTED BY: Stuart Blumberg
STARRING: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Alecia Moore, Patrick Fugit
RATING: 3.5 stars
If you think a film about sex addiction is going to be full of laughs, think again. While there are certainly some very funny moments and plenty of romance and quirkiness in Thanks For Sharing, the film also has a lot of heart and displays insight into the troubling world of addiction. As the film explains, sex addiction is not just something men say they have when they get caught cheating – it is real and can be incredibly stressful, debilitating and difficult to manage. First-time director Stuart Blumberg, who also wrote The Kids Are Alright and co-wrote this film with Matt Winston, shows warmth and understanding about tackling such a fierce demon.
Set in bustling New York full of cramped trains and sexy billboards, Thanks For Sharing is essentially a romantic comedy/drama that tells the story of three characters who know each other from their sex addiction rehabilitation program. Mike (Tim Robbins) is seemingly the poster boy for overcoming addiction. He has been sober for 15 years and has a loving wife (Joely Richardson). But we soon learn that his life is not as great as it seems when his troubled son (Patrick Fugit) comes to visit. Meanwhile, Mike's sponsee Adam (Mark Ruffalo) has been sober for five years and is finally ready to start dating again when he meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) but he struggles to confide in her about his addiction. Adam is also mentoring ER doctor Neil (Josh Gad) who is not quite ready to admit he has a problem.
Ruffalo is his usual amazing self in this film. It seems there is nothing he cannot do whether it be superhero films, quirky dramas or romantic comedies. But I always like him best in roles like this where he plays complex characters. Robbins has some powerful scenes and Gad is also very good, while Paltrow was solid throughout as a cancer-surviving gym junkie. Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, surprised me with her talent playing another addict named Dede, who helps Neil along his way to recovery.
With its bursts of humour, Thanks For Sharing is far more appealing for mainstream audiences than the confronting sex addiction film, Shame, starring Michael Fassbender. But it still explores deep issues and takes some dark turns, so it is not the light film you might expect. Ultimately though, it is an interesting look at the world of sex addiction.