Wetlands (2014) (Not Rated)

The people sitting in the theater behind me were trying to come up with a way to describe "Wetlands" before it even began. I heard the phrase "German perversion movie" thrown out and I think that this is a common conception of what "Wetlands" entails. And yes, it is German...and yes, there are some who could easily call it perverted. Incredibly NSFW, "Wetlands" is so self-aware that it begins to feel like a person is genuinely talking to you instead of a movie.
Helen Memel (Carla Juri) is a young girl who has an interesting family and an interesting sex life. The first thing she tells us after the movie's opening is that she has had hemorrhoids for as long as she can remember. The second piece of Helen's life that we are told is that her opinion on hygiene has shifted hugely in the last few years of her life. Her mother always told her that if she didn't keep good care of her lady bits then she would get infections and die...that's only slight hyperbole. Her mother wasn't the loving type and her father was gregarious but not present enough to make up for the cold shoulder that her mother gave her. Her parents divorce and Helen starts to think independently.
So Helen decides to begin the "great p**sy experiment" in which she doesn't care how bad it gets, cleaning will only occur with a lick and a promise. Naturally, this viewpoint played out visually for the audience can cause major moments of grotesque horror and many people sitting next to me in the theater were covering their eyes multiple times as "Wetlands" crossed a line with more confidence during each passing scene.
This movie is incredibly sexual, don't think anything else of it when you go in to see it. But for those of you who don't have any morals (shame shame) and who do elect to see "Wetlands", you will be pleased to know that you will be transported to movie bliss-dom. Seriously, this is one of the wackiest, funniest, most original pieces to come to theaters in a very long time. It won't be seen that often, so if you get a chance, jump on it. This movie shouldn't be missed.
Helen explains in a Wes-Anderson-meets-Quentin-Tarantion fashion about her life. The film is colorful and full of vibrant and unique moments that the running time flies by and you end up wishing you could start it all over again.
Yet the climax of the movie is something quite nasty, something quite bloody, and something that should have been expected.
"Wetlands" is told entirely in the mind of Helen. We spiral back to memories whenever she feels the need to tell us something about her past. In this regard it helps the movie feel like a conversation.
Helen tells us about her sexual curiosities, including random parties at the beach and grooming habits.
We are informed that Helen doesn't like to shave, so she does a quick dirty job of it; but one of her more recent experiments include shaving around her anus and right as she shows us how she does this, the razor slips. If there was a more cringe inducing moment, I would like to know what it is because the audience at the theater I was at, collectively pushed back in their seats.
After trying her best to make it through the day, Helen heads off to the hospital and an odd doctor concludes that they will have to operate.
Then we start to see the real Helen. For a movie that consists of Helen sitting in a hospital for two days, it's amazing that "Wetlands" feels as varied as it does, this is largely due to the flashback and the commentary.
We are introduced to Helen's best friend, Corinna (Marlen Kruse) who shares much more than just memories with Helen. Some of the scenes that these two have together are cringe worthy too; but hey, you knew what you were getting into.
Then there's Robin (Christoph Letkowski) who is the attractive male nurse who Helen decides to try to shock into submission; but she may have met her match with this one...their interactions, as expected, are funny and sexual.
For some, "Wetlands" could come across as just a movie that tries to push the boundaries; but that hardly does the film any justice, because at its core, it is more sentimental and romantic than Spielberg. Without the zany narrative or the flashy sex references, the movie would just be a piece of puff nonsense. Since the cringes and the horrified gasps accompany the movie, it makes us a little more accepting to the outcome.
Helen is a dangerous mind, a playful mind, and a sexual mind. I appreciate the fact that "Wetlands'" lead character was a female and that she has no problem with being sexually free. Here we have to commend Carla Juri for her courage and her sheer perfection in a role. As Helen, Juri not only stuns with her physicality, but also lets us glimpse a little something darker beneath the cheery exterior of this sexually frank young adult.
"Wetlands" is a movie in which you see a lot, you should know that before heading into it. Then again, it's sheer likability is so intense that it warms your heart while making you occasionally gag. That in of itself is a huge accomplishment.
Simply put: it's almost perfect.

Score: ★★★★

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