The beautiful, smart, and talented Gabriella Wilde stars in The Sinner, a movie based on the novel of the same name by Tony Kushner SSR Movies. The film is about a New York City-based young woman who sees a priest for help with a sexual problem and is then shocked when he reveals that she’s actually possessed by an evil spirit. The movie also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as her straight ally and Ryan Gosling as her skeptical friend. Working with such phenomenal actors made this production so much more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. Here are 10 reasons why you should check out The Sinner if you’re looking for some amped-up fun!
The Sinner is not your normal thriller
Not that the movie is anything special, but its setting is. The story takes place in New York City, a city I know well through my work in the theater, and which also happens to house one of the most famous bookstores in all of America, Books a Nude, which is still going strong almost 30 years after its opening. The movie instead focuses on a young woman (played by Wilde) who encounters a priest for help with her sexuality, only for him to discover that the woman inside is actually a human being possessed by a devil. In that case, the devil is her problem and she’s simply acting like an American Indian, black, and queer being.
The movie is truthful about sex
Sex is a big theme throughout the movie, starting with the introduction of the steamy first love scene and moving on to the passionate mail-order sex she gets from her paramour Ryan and the bizarre encounter with a perverted priest in the back seat of his car. The movie also has a great deal of truth to it regarding human relationships and sex, particularly how it affects and influences people. There’s a scene where an ex-con Vietnam vet (voiced by Gosling) tells his story to a therapist while they’re driving in the car and he collapsed and crawled into the back seat. The therapist then asks him what he wants to do with his life and he asks her, “What’s the first thing you want to do, lady?”
The plot was developed by Brooklyn’s own Tony Kushner
I won’t get into the plot of The Sinner, beyond saying that it follows the path of all great novels, starting with the opening lines: “There are those who look to the skies for guidance, who wait for God to tell them what to do. There are those who wait for the light to appear, and then, just as the sun is setting, they realize they were so eager to see the light they were missing. There are those who sit and watch the sunsets, who, as they fall, realize they’ve missed the light too. And there are those who, when they realize they’ve been too eager to look, run back inside and close their doors.”
Gabriella Wilde was amazing as the lead actress
One of the most beautiful and defining characteristics of Gabriella Wilde as an actress is her ability to maintain a studio quality on the sets. When shooting was done at Universal Studios in Hollywood, we were allowed to use the set Antigua as our own dressing room, complete with pampering spa treatments, fun activities, and of course, the beautiful Gabriella! She was such a joy to work with, it was almost painful to watch. We shot the movie in two weeks, which is pretty intense to film but also gives the actors a chance to get in some poses and shoot some crip shots.
Every scene had a point
The one thing that sets The Sinner apart from most other romantic comedies is its sense of humor. The film is not shy of light-hearted riffs, with campy skits and games, school plays, and lots of fun banter. It’s also not afraid to embrace genuinely odd happenstances, like a priest hosting a private ceremony for a group of young women in his private home. The movie also features one of the most iconic skits in history, one that I can still picture clearly in my mind:
The Sinner’s opening scene is also classic Larry David, as the blind, homeless man Larry runs away from home with his pregnant partner, played by Julia Louis-Dery. We follow Larry as he desperately tries to get home to his family, and during the chase, the car he’s in is stolen. We then see Larry getting in a truck with his partner, who is then chased and gunned down by a crazed SUV driver who happens to be Larry’s friend Ray (voiced by Gosling).
The music was perfect during the trainwreck scenes
The Sinner features some of the most iconic music in film, from Michael Shurch’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” to John Barry’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and more. At its core, The Sinner is a love story, so its heartland is the city of New York, where love and death are defined by the tracks of the subway. It is also the soundtrack to my favorite movie of all time, Marnie, a movie that follows the story of an extraordinary young woman who witnesses and subsequently suffers from some of the most terrible and horrific crimes in history.
The diversity of the cast proved unrealistic in real life
Of course, being the beautiful, independent, and Native American Gabriella Wilde that she is, it should come as no surprise that she would excel in adapting classic works for the big screen. Her performance as a gay, African American man’s pharmacy clerk in The Sinner is no exception. You’ll never forget the look on the deceive’s face when he reveals to her that he’s actually a devil. We also get to see the kind of beautiful, powerful, and diverse performance that I’ve always hoped to see onscreen. Gosling is one of the best actors in the business, as he plays a character who is actually a good guy and is desperately trying to save his friend.
There were so many little things that made this production so much fun to work on. So many too many to mention here. But, make sure you check out the rest!