Explicitly sexual documentaries often find themselves pushed out of the mainstream. Yet a short like Really Good Friends opens the door for honest discussions. In Florida, sexuality among older populations remains taboo. Yet these relationships continue to occur. Really Good Friends does not need to be expanded into a feature to be powerful. In a mere ten minutes, director Adam Sekuler explores how sexual satisfaction does not always require the act itself. Sometimes, the bonds and emotional ties we create are every bit as powerful, a powerful message in a state struggling to understand the importance of discourse about sexuality.
Following an older woman named Mary, we watch her prepares to meet her lover. Sekuler chooses this unique approach to the story places the power in her hands. As she reveals specifics about her relationship, we begin to understand why. The overtly sexual nature of Mary’s relationship is never in doubt, yet it does not involve intercourse in any way. As Mary explains, moments with her lover are more intense than the physical encounters she’s experienced in life.
Really Good Friends features some brilliant blocking for a documentary film. More than once, Sekuler allows the camera to sit on an object. Sometimes, these are explicit sex toys, other times, they are seemingly innocuous items you would find at home. It reminds the audience that sex, and sex lives, are a normal part of being human. We may age and change our proclivities over time, yet the need for intimacy matters.
For Sekuler, the documentary shows extreme promise. Making a simple story feel so compelling proves they have an eye for how to make a premise pop. Additionally, the buy-in from Mary could not have been easy to obtain. This is a very explicit and private side of most people’s lives. A combination of great interviewing, excellent visual creation, and efficient storytelling helps Really Good Friends pop as a short.