SUMMARY: An animated documentary telling four stories of lost virginity.
WHY IT’S HERE: Jonas Odell’s brilliant animated documentary ‘Never Like the First Time!’ uses a documentary soundtrack of real people recounting how they lost their virginity and interprets them through various styles of animation. The four stories range from comic to horrific and encapsulate the complexity and diversity of sex, other than the fact that they all refer to heterosexual encounters. The first tale, animated with appropriately cartoony characters, ends triumphantly but for the wrong reasons, as a sexual encounter between friends at a party becomes a victorious tool of one-upmanship to a competitive teen. The second story examines sex in a very methodical fashion, as two teenagers gradually work their way through the stages of foreplay across as series of Saturdays, before finally consummating and then ending the relationship. The third story tells of a drunken rape at the hands of an older stranger while the final tale is told by an elderly man looking back at a prudish era where the many lies told about sex clash with his tender, loving first experience. A lesser director would probably have placed the third story at the end of the film but Odell rightly places it third, allowing the final segment to portray sex in a more joyous, representative light. Fascinating throughout, ‘Never Like the First Time!’ gets a lot of mileage out of the pleasure of just listening to people talk but Odell’s visual interpretations are perfectly chosen to accompany the words, from the faceless outlines of story number two to the harsh black sketches of the third and the softly attractive colours of the final piece.