Review: THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES Is A Steamy NSFW Doc

FIRST IMPRESSION

Depending on what you're looking for it to do, This One's for the Ladies will either be extremely disappointing or a ton of fun.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

This One’s for the Ladies is a new documentary film directed by Gene Graham. The movie takes a look at contemporary black America through the tales of a group of exotic dancers and the women who watch them perform. It debuted at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and is making its way to theaters now in an NC-17 version.

This film’s story is one that, once upon a time, would not have been told on movie, so Graham should be applauded for that. With the popularity of Magic Mike a few years ago, the world of male exotic dancing shot into the spotlight, and this film offers a snapshot of people who live that lifestyle in a way that explores some of the impact it has on them and the people around them.

The movie does a very good job of establishing the sense of community that is so central to the story and message of the film. A recurring theme throughout the movie is the idea of family and how these performers form a makeshift family unit because of the relationships they have with each other. The fact that they so often have each other’s backs is truly inspiring.

However, the film could have done a better job of developing the subjects on an individual level. Over the course of the movie, we get to meet some of the performers through interviews, although the film tries to tell so many of their stories that it would have been impossible for any of them to be fully-developed with such a short runtime. The movie would have been better off had a few performers been chosen as the focus of the film.

Additionally, the movie could have done a better job of exploring some of the social factors involved in the story. The film does discuss the economy of performing and how the performers make a living off of their craft, and it does explain why performances like these can be important to a community, but that is the extent to which it goes. The movie simply does not go into the depth it should.

To be honest, the reason why a majority of people will be watching this film is to see the performers in action, and those people will likely be satisfied with what this movie has to offer. The performances are shot in a very rudimentary and straightforward way, but a majority of audiences won’t be looking for the cinematography in these performances, will they?

On a technical level, the film was a bit frustrating. Although the style is fitting to the subject matter of the movie, it becomes annoying after a while. You can only hear so much dance music and see so many neon lights until you will eventually become tired of them. The issue ultimately boils down to the fact that the film is so monotonous in terms of its technique.

Overall, This One’s for the Ladies is a documentary that will have mixed results. If you are looking to watch some exotic male dancing, you are in luck. However, if you, like this reviewer, hoped for the experience to be more enlightening, you will be disappointed.

This One’s for the Ladies opens in theaters on June 7.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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