Wetlands – A raunchy, delightful dark comedy
Directed by: David Wnendt
Helen (Juri) is a strange type. She is fixated on her body and anything that comes out of it (or grows on it). The reason for her strange obsession has to do with her mother pounding the importance of self hygiene into her brain from a very young age. Helen is bright and funny, but that immediate impression gives way to a much more depressed (and at times deranged) inner spirit. She is damaged, but still… someone with a good heart and an admirable lack of shame when it comes to her body and it’s parts. Helen grew up with an oblivious father and a near psychotic mother. That is why it is very strange that when she ends up in the hospital, because of a gruesome accident including a very sensitive area, she uses her situation to attempt to reconcile her parents.
I went into watching “Wetlands” fully aware of the gross out factor, and the controversy surrounding the film. In that aspect, I was not surprised at the many cringe inducing scenes involving any bodily fluid you can name. What did surprise me though was the heart of the film. A heart that shows the resilience of it’s young female protagonist. The fact that she is so incredibly unashamed of her body is really quite refreshing in a way. Seeing her to inspire her best friend Corrina (Kruse) to also discover physical self empowerment was also a nice touch. Slowly, while enduring some truly hard to watch moments, you start to adore Helen for her unapologetic words and actions. There is also an unorthodox romance involving Helen and her male nurse Robin (Letkowski) that is perfectly placed just outside of the spotlight.
Carla Juri’s performance is really what makes this adaptation of the novel work. To play this part, you have to be fearless and unflinching. Juri chews up the role, spits it out, and dares you to look away. It was really quite impressive, and I look forward to seeing much more from her.
While I enjoyed “Wetlands”, it is certainly one of the more “Not for everyone” movies I have ever reviewed. I know a handful of people that probably wouldn’t make it through the first ten minutes. With that said, if you are looking for a challenging, strangely inspiring movie to watch it is currently streaming on Netflix and available on DVD and Bluray.