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Hot Docs 2017 Review: Ask The Sexpert

An interesting subject makes Ask the Sexpert one to watch.

Very often in documentary films, greatness is measured on two levels: great documentaries and great documentary subjects. Vaishali Sinha’s Ask the Sexpert falls with the latter. Her film follows Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a 91-year-old sex expert living and working in India. Dr. Watsa writes a weekly column in which he answers his readers’ questions about sex. The trouble is, sex is very much still a taboo subject in India. Young readers admire the doctor, whose column’s answers are often their only resource for learning about sex as an activity of pleasure, rather than an action to simply reproduce. This is where the film is most interesting, focusing on the treatment towards sex and romantic affection in Indian culture. It is somewhat less compelling when following Dr. Watsa, but even at 91-years-old, he retains enough wit to serve as an entertaining subject. When following Watsa, Sinha’s scope seems to be a little too broad for the film. We see the doctor through his daily life, which involves putting together his book and seeing patients, yet these scenes will often leave the viewer begging for the film to return to the more serious subject matter. Nevertheless, Watsa is an important figure; his charisma and perseverance make him a worthy subject allowing for Ask the Sexpert to entertain, whilst asking important questions.

3.5
Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.