Stuart Blumberg, writer of Keeping the Faith, The Kids are All Right and The Girl Next Door, took to the director’s chair for the first time here, with Thanks for Sharing, a story of sex addiction starring the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, Alecia ‘Pink’ Moore and Patrick Fugit. It’s a decent cast and Blumberg is a very good writer, so I was interested to see how he faired as a director, and how this mish-mashed, though very good, cast would do under his guidance.
Ruffalo plays Adam, a guy who we meet as he is celebrating his fifth year in sex addiction sobriety. His sponsor, and friend, Mike (Robbins) is also an addict who is juggling his job, his marriage, his sickness and his disjoined and awkward relationship with his son. Neil (Gad) is a newcomer to the sex addiction group in which Mike and Adam are a big part of. Neil is there against his will and doesn’t take the group seriously, which causes him problems within the group as well as in his life away from it. It is in the group that Neil meets Dede (Pink) and the two strike up a friendship. Adam meets Phoebe (Paltrow) at a party and the two have a connection, we see their relationship progress and Adam discover difficulties die to his condition and struggles to tell Phoebe about it. Mike’s son, Danny (Fugit), with whom he has had a turbulent relationship over the year’s returns home and the two attempt to deal with their issues with the help of Mike’s forgiving wife. Overall, the film deals with the lives and relationships of three members of a sex addiction support group.
The cast do a great job of taking the material and creating a film that makes you laugh one moment and feel concern or sympathy the next. It is a story that is relatable for anyone who has ever suffered addiction or known someone who has had their lives altered by addiction. Ruffalo enters a powerful performance here, showing a subtle tortured side to Adam in a way some might not, allowing us to see a darkness to him that might have been lost in the comedy otherwise. Gad, usually a pure comedy performer, is sympathetic and pathetic in equal measure as Neil, a character that frustratingly doesn’t realise he needs help even though his family and friends are screaming it in his face. Robbins, who doesn’t do enough these days, has a nice chemistry with Fugit’s Danny and the father and son storyline is one of the film’s best parts in my view, bringing a different and welcome element to the story.
I was surprised by the film. I didn’t expect the performances to get as dark as they do on occasion and I wasn’t expecting the concept to be dealt with as respectfully as it was. There were times when the tone changed from comedy to drama so quickly that it felt strange but otherwise I was very impressed. Packages as a romantic comedy, yet so much more, Thanks for Sharing deals with a topic that is seldom represented in mainstream film and it does it with care and a good sense of humour, which along with a very well penned script, created a film that is enjoyable and, at times, moving.
The Blu-ray release from Scanbox Entertainment looks fantastic. The company, based in Denmark, have released films on Blu-ray that only saw DVD releases in some places such as the UK, and they deserve your attention. This release is a top notch one and the film is one I recommend checking out. It might surprise you like it did me, and it should entertain you thoroughly.
Check out Scanbox, and their releases, here;