In this provocatively titled coming of age story, a 15 year old girl in a small Norwegian village finds herself ostracised after announcing (truthfully) at a party that a boy she likes “poked her with his dick.” This openness sets a precedent. Arriving quietly from first time filmmaker Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, Turn Me On, Goddamnit! is an unabashed account of blossoming female sexuality that is refreshingly upfront about its protagonist’s desires without ever seeming vulgar.
The film has been dubbed as an antidote to the trend of American comedies led by uncomfortable young males coping with an awkwardly burgeoning sexual awareness (Superbad, American Pie,) but this is misleading. While Jacobsen’s film does run against those films by casting itself as a story of a female character struggling to come to terms with her rampant libido, that is really the only point of comparison. Turn Me On, Goddamnit! is frank rather than crass, gently funny rather than aggressively so, and ultimately bittersweet and truthful - all states that none of the male-led sex-comedies aspire to.
Despite opening the film provocatively with her young lead Alma (Helene Bergsholm) masturbating on the floor to a phone sex line, the subsequent film is not particularly shocking. It reveals itself not as being as the statement film that this opening would suggest, but instead as a honest, gently comedic study of the inelegance of adolescence, especially when sex is introduced. Set against the sense of alienation created by living in a rural community, it is as much Alma’s estrangement that is in need of resolution as her desire.
A minor film in almost every sense, Turn Me On Goddammnit! is as humble and unassuming as its rural setting, and while it’s real grab, its sexual frankness, shouldn’t feel as novel as it does, it is admittedly hard to think of another recent film with such an open, wholesome attitude towards female sexuality.