SXSW Short Film Review: The Nipple Whisperer maintains a genuine sense of heart amongst its odd temperament

Immediately telling from its title, Jan Van Dyck’s The Nipple Whisperer is a bizarre offering, but it’s one that maintains a genuine sense of heart amongst its odd temperament.

If you weren’t already privy to the title you’d think Van Dyck’s film was taking on a much more serious subject, with the film’s titular character – Maurice (Denis Lavant) – shrouded in a suggestive importance; “You’re ‘the guy'” he’s referred to as by an estranged colleague.

When it’s revealed that the title is very much a literal description of the ability he possesses – he is enlisted on the set of a soap commercial to instil a certain magic towards the advert’s starring model (Elke Shari Van Den Broeck) – the initial instinct to laugh at the film’s lunacy suddenly dissipates when an evident care and seriousness is adhered to, leaning back towards the seriousness that no longer feels like a comical mentality for humour’s sake.

Culminating in the most delicate of moments between the emotionally battered Maurice – his “gift” clearly taking its physical toll on him – and Doris (non-professional actress Wendy Dresner), a former model herself, The Nipple Whisperer tenderly announces it commentary on the importance of the female form, the respect that’s deserved over their body, and that their femininity can never be completely taken away.

A film that’s so much more than just the quirky concept it surrounds, The Nipple Whisperer is a beautiful statement piece on how one’s own allure, autonomy, and individuality can’t be silenced.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Nipple Whisperer is screening as part of this year’s SXSW Film Festival, which is being presented virtually between March 16th and 20th, 2021.  For more information head to the official SXSW website.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

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