Jun 292024
 
Ann and Allen

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed is a 2023 comedy-drama, directed and written by Joanna Arnow and starring Arnow, Scott Cohen and Babak Tafti. IMDB

Ann, a thirty-something woman in New York City, seeks relief from the difficulties with her job and family through submission to various men.

Ann

Ann (Arnow, who also directed and wrote) endures struggling with her family and job life in a perpetual slouch of alienation. She’s reminiscent of Hannah Horvath from Lena Dunham’s Girls, though brunette, slimmer, and somewhat better dressed.

The opening scene is Ann, fully nude and exposed, in bed next to a sleeping man. She’s often nude in scenes with her dominants, while they are clothed. I commend Arnow’s bravery in physically exposing herself, especially in today’s rising misogyny, but I’m disappointed that there’s no male nudity.

The man we see her submitting to the most is Allen (Scott Cohen), an older man. Their scenes revolve around him controlling her. She also plays with Elliot, a man who is more into humiliation with ludicrous costumes; she seems more bored by this than violated. Apart from some light spanking, all of the play is submissive, not physically masochistic. We also get to see her meeting and negotiating with the men.

Chris and Ann

Later on, Ann meets Chris (Babak Tafti) through dating. Younger and more handsome, he’s the first to make Ann genuinely laugh and open up. She tells him about the dominant men she sees and he accepts this and says she can continue to see them.

Feeling views Ann’s submission with a distant, almost documentary-style, lens. It’s just something she does that meets her needs, given the lack of satisfaction she gets from her critical family and her stultifying job in IT. Some of the men she meets connect with her better than others, but none are threatening. She appears to have a conventional relationship with Chris, but the last scene is, once again, her naked with Allen.

Compared to The Piano Teacher or Secretary, Feeling doesn’t try to psychoanalyze Ann’s submission or assimilate it into any feminine norm. This can be frustrating, given that the viewers will probably try to make sense of her behavior, but Feeling remains stubbornly indifferent to expectations. Take Ann as she is, or don’t.

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