A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures review

Would you make a documentary where you found out from all your former partners why they dumped you? Chris Waitt did, and Carl caught up with it at the Edinburgh International FIlm Festival.

The best documentary of the year?

Some films have strange titles, cryptic even, that mean you need to read up on the film to know what you’ll be seeing. On the other hand, there are titles like this one. There’s really no need to read up on what this film is actually about, the title basically tells all. Unfortunately for filmmaker Chris Waitt, the title really does tell all, and since the film centres on him. it may be a bittersweet experience for him to present this film for the first time ever.

The film starts just after Chris has been dumped, and he knows that feeling all too well, as we learn at the age of 30, he has been dumped by a tremendous amount of girls. Some he had only been seeing for weeks of months, others however, he had been engaged to for four years. This, clearly, is part of his problem, and one that this film tries to achieve a solution for. Why is Chris doomed to be left alone?

The film kicks off with an utterly brilliant rendition of exactly how his life is going at the moment, and as he phones all of his ex-girlfriends to try and get interviews, he gets none of them to actually take part. Instead, he decides to go round to their houses and surprise them instead. Surprising indeed, as he gets doors slammed in his face, and himself thrown out of offices.

Still, it doesn’t put Chris off… much, and he decides his mum is the best place to begin. She is, as it’s her that sets up the first few meetings, and really sends him off on his journey into his own past, his love life, and his bedroom malfunctions. The less said about that the better, I think.

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This film is a dream. Chris is not only completely honest with the camera and his girlfriends, but they are also honest right back to him. It definitely is a wonder that he would still let the film be released, being that it digs so deeply into his mental state that the audience feels part of his depraved attitude. Shockingly, it also details moments which many people would want to hide away from the world, including a list of all his faults, and some rather unbecoming facts about his past. Still, many of the people at the screening I was at must have connected some parts of the film to their own love lives, I know I did.

It definitely is one of the most hilarious films I have ever seen. If this were a scripted comedy it would still be funny, but the fact that it is a documentary tips it just over that line. It dives straight down into a pit of hilarity as soon as you remember that the subject of this epic anti-fairytale flatline is sitting in the same room. Considering that fact, it’s an amazement that he decided to let it go so far as to be going into cinemas and shown not only to his friends and family, but also his ex-girlfriends.

It’s so self deprecating and at points almost soul destroying for the poor bloke. But then of course, at those moments, we are given a few seconds to stop laughing, and really look at him, and feel absolutely terrible for two reasons. One, that things just can’t seem to go right for him, and two, that we’ve been laughing at him for almost one and a half hours. After those emotionally tear-y moments though, we’re brought straight back into the comedy of life, and one that Chris Waitt has obviously come to terms with.

Whether it’s thanks to the hilarious back and forth of Chris and his many ex-girlfriends, or his emotional and quiet reflective moments, by the end of the film you really feel like you’ve gotten to know him, and even though you know all these terrible things about his personality traits, you feel like you understand him. Believe me, this is no mere understatement, as the film is an utterly bewildering triumph. Stealing the main crux of High Fidelity has worked out well for Chris, as his ex-girlfriends might still not like him, but he does have one of the most exciting and hilarious documentaries ever made under his belt.

5 out of 5

Rating:

5 out of 5