A mans life falls apart as a result of his affliction with obsessive compulsive disorder & tourettes syndrome in this touching & funny tale. Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 02/26/2008 Starring: Michael Sheen... more » Claudie Blakely Run time: 120 minutes Rating: Nr« less
A Small but Powerful Film about Coping with Challenges
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beginning with a smart script by Jeff Pope and Ian Puleston-Davies (the latter a fine actor who happens to be afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and under the inordinately delicate direction of Adrian Shergold, DIRTY FILTHY LOVE is one of the more sensitive examinations of two challenges that affect the lives of many people thoughout the world: Tourette's Syndrome (complete with tics and uncontrollable inappropriate outbursts of foul language, noises, shouts), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (lives complicated by the need for order imposed by the patient's mind as a series of repeated behaviors that protect the person from the terror of living in a chaotic world). Wrongly titled (a title that probably prevents many people from seeing this little miracle of a film) and incorrectly billed as a comedy (which is most certainly not), DIRTY FILTH LOVE is one of those films that slipped by us all without a theatrical release but now is thankfully available on DVD. It deserves full attention.
Mark Furness (played with superlative skill by Michael Sheen) is an architect on leave due to his progressive illnesses (see above) and who is first seen in the throes of beginning a trial separation from his beloved wife Stevie (Anastasia Griffith) who can no longer live under the same roof with Mark's 'inexplicable' behavior patterns. Left alone with the anxiety over his surfacing deterioration from his physical challenges, Mark finds solace with his close friends who also tire of his behavior and insist he seek medical help. In the waiting room of a deaf-eared doctor Mark 'meets' Charlotte (the astonishingly fine character actor Shirley Henderson) and Charlotte, who happens to suffer from both Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as trichotillomania (uncontrolled pulling out hair strands to the point of baldness), senses a man who needs help. Charlotte tells Mark of a group therapy session for people with similar problems and Mark, out of desperation, joins the group (a fascinating group of actors imbuing their disease states without the least sign of parody).
It is obvious rather early on that Charlotte is attracted to Mark, but Mark's life is one directed toward making himself acceptable to Stevie. With a powerful confrontation at a very social party Mark realizes he suffers from a disease state he has had since birth and the only one who really cares about his dilemma and understands his turmoil is Charlotte: a strange love affair is finally recognized.
Scripts such as this are all too rare and when brought to the screen with the exceptional acting and direction rendered by this crew they become films that should be required viewing. In every way these are brilliant performances by Michael Sheen and by Shirley Henderson, yet because the film never received a theatrical release in this country (probably due to the factors mentioned above) it will be ignored by the Oscars. But awards are only momentary returns for art pieces of this caliber and this one is destined for a long shelf life. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 05"
Tourettes and OCD - Nicely presented
Michael Meredith | St. Louis, MO United States | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"No, this is not a film about kinky sexual exploits. The "dirty filthy" of the title relates to the fears of some obsessive compulsive types who fret about the preponderance of dirt and germs in everyday life. Michael Sheen plays a man that has watched his life disintegrate as the combination of Tourette's Syndrome and OCD begins to affect his behavior. This leads to more stress, which only causes more tics, barks and other alarming expressions that cause further problems (his wife has left him, he's lost his job etc.); and the additional stress only causes further symptoms to manifest themselves.
Shirley Henderson is the leader of an OCD support group, with problems of her own. She has issues with odd numbers and will politely send away the third, fifth or seventh person to join a conversation. Her attempts to help Sheen become aware of his illness and to cope with it form the basis for this poignant and often funny story.
I'm a sucker for almost any Sundance Film Festival selection, and this film doesn't disappoint. It deals compassionately with issues of illness that are all too frequently ignored or mocked. While I've never before seen Michael Sheen or Shirley Henderson, I hope to see their work again very soon. "
Dirty Filthy Love- a film worth watching
Judith T. Krauthamer | 07/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dirty Filthy Love, a BBC television movie directed by Adrian Shergold and co-written by Jeff Pope and Ian Puleston-Davies is a superbly played portrayal of life with faulty brain wiring. It is billed by some as a comedy, but that is a misnomer. In our daily negotiations with spouses, roommates and bosses, there are funny moments and ridiculous interactions and these are seen in the film. But the script doesn't play out for laughs, and the humor arises from the natural foibles of being human. Underneath it all, there is a painful, sad fact: perfectly intelligent, good people have brains that don't work right. It is important to watch this film-- if only to remind us that mental illness is nothing more or less than brain disorders that can treated.
Suffering from a failing marriage, Mark (brilliantly portrayed by Michael Sheen) is awakening to the realization that his day to day rituals are ruling his life. As his anxieties grow, he suffers from increasingly debilitating OCD and tourette. Writer Puleston-Davies, who has OCD and mild Tourette, draws from his own experience: Mark goes to the doctor and says he has his severe depression narrowed down to "three things: meningitis, early senile dementia or a brain tumour." In real life, Puleston-Davies's doctor diagnosed the OCD, and helped him get cognitive behavior therapy. In the film, Mark is simply prescribed and dismissed with anti-depressants. His saving grace comes from co-patient Charlotte (played by the absolutely delicious Shirely Henderson), who educates him, and us, by putting a name to Mark's disorders, and leading him through a weekly support group.
This is an engaging film, one that deals with mental and physical challenges that are both uncomfortable and painful. Sheen's perfect rendition of Tourette-- ticing that is raw, unseemly, and underscores how well he knows his craft--and OCD are uncanny. The only thing I found disturbing, however, was the portrayal of tourette as an ever-evolving disorder. In this film, the tourette seemed to come on only after his life was crumbling. In actuality, tourette manifests in early age--roughly about 7 years old or so--the same as when Mark discovered his OCD while playing ball with his mates. It rarely first manifests in adulthood, and it doesn't evolve from one extreme form to another. The initial ticing (his wife asks "what is wrong with your throat" as if she never heard it before) is the extent of tourette for many people. He then goes through copraphagia (only a minority of people with Tourette have this), barking, mimicking--the entire gamut. Whether this is for dramatic effect or to somehow show the full extent and severity of Tourette----it still isn't true to the syndrome.
Many famous and successful people have OCD--David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, the movie's author. Their lives are like this movie--not purely comedy, not totally drama, and not fully a love story. Rather, this is a cautionary tale that if you win the genetic lottery of misfiring brain neurons, it takes genuine compassion and diligence to survive. "
Shakespearean Scatological Comedy
Glenn A. Buttkus | Sumner, WA USA | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
This wonderfully funny film-certainly the first OCD Comedy with a touch of Tourette's Syndrome-was actually a film for British television. The salty language and the brief nudity go way beyond what we would see on the air in this country-that's for sure. Director Adrin Shergold is primarily a Brit TV director. He has directed 26 television shows since 1990-but no feature films. Unfortunately-this movie never had an American theatrical release-not even through the various festivals. It went directly to DVD. Even Roger Ebert had not seen it, or reviewed it.
Michael Sheen (no relation to Martin Sheen, whose real name is Estevez) was incredibly good as protagonist Mark Furness. His consistent tics and mannerisms required great skill to pull off. In some odd way-he made us care about this complete misfit. At midpoint in the film-when Charlotte ferreted out Mark-found him living alone in filth-unbathed, bearded and long-haired-and quite crazy-having given in completely to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and some form of Tourette's-we get a glimpse of the great acting talent that Sheen has. This character became a truly mad hermit-worthy of a Shakespearian scenario.
Sheen has done a lot of live theatre work-plays like LOOK BACK IN ANGER, AMADEUS, and CALIGULA. He has had 23 film appearances-most of them on television. He had a small part in the recent film, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Word is that he lived for a time with the luscious Kate Beckinsale-and they had a child together.
Shirley Henderson played Charlotte-his very ill, barely functional gal-pal-almost lover. She played Moaning Myrtle in the HARRY POTTER films. [I just completed reading Book Six: The Half-Blood Prince-and what a shocker of an ending it had!] Henderson was quite good in this little film-tough yet vulnerable-sexy yet pathetic-intelligent yet still mentally ill.
I really wish this film had found a way to be released in theatres. I think it would have done well-perhaps as well as the new Indie, YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE ELSE WE KNOW (2005). FILTHY LOVE has a distinct charm, has clever writing, and wonderful acting-and it was flat-out funny.
Sheen of Reality
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 03/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Sheen, so good playing Tony Blair in THE QUEEN, is even better here as an architect who goes over the edge as OCD and Tourettes Syndrome tighten their grip on him. In a last desperate attempt to save his career and his marriage (to Stevie, played by Anastasia Griffith in a sort of combination Kari Matchett-goes-ABBA blonde hauteur), our boy joins a self-help group run by Charlotte (Shirley Henderson), herself a girl with plenty of neurological problems all her own. The movie is a bit of a mess, earnest, mawkish and nervous all at once, but it rewards attention especially if you like a good love triangle and don't mind some extremely inventive profanity.
The film is a litle bit like THE MIRACLE WORKER, in that our hero Furness is really living life at the extremity of sanity when Charlotte finds him. He's given up, he's filthy like a pig, he no longer knows how to cope with the detritus of living. Somehow though she recognizes his big heart and gets him to snap out of it, at least to the extent of cutting his hair, taking a shower, and trying to rejoin the human race. The scene where she asks everyone on the bus to give her their wet-wipes is hilarious and sad at the same time. She might as well have asked these poor people to part with their souls, it would have been easier for them to let go. Why is OCD so involved with cleanliness? It would take a Mary Douglas to give the picture a full cross cultural anaylsis, but on its own, the growing attraction Charlotte feels for Furness, as he shapes up and begins to resemble his former, mildly handsome self, is quite winning, even though the audience wonders, how can this come to a good end when we know he's still carrying a huge torch for Stevie?
Shirley Henderson's big black wig is like something Cher wore in her "Sanctuary" catalogues, but her voice is like liquid honey; in fact it's the same voice Joan Greenwood used to have in the Ealing comedies of the late 1940s, early 50s, like satin on sandpaper. It is idescribably bewitching, even when she's screaming abuse at Mark. Henderson has played many great parts in recent UK films, from BRIDGET JONES to TOPSY TURVY to the Harry Potters, but this vehicle is tailormade--it's the kind of part that Audrey Tautou had in AMELIE, except with more grit. She could have been a household name had this film been promoted properly. But that's OK, we her adoring fans can keep her to ourselves, a wonderful secret of modern cinema."