Actor-Director Jenn Harris, of “American Fiction” fame, wrote, directed, and starred in a short film named “She’s Clean.” For a film of fifteen-minute duration, it talks about a lot and lingers for even more. A sign that is good for any piece of artistic work. On the surface, “She’s Clean” is a film that explores the dating world a single middle-aged woman faces. But Harris’ film never leaves the confines of her central protagonist’s bathroom, thus making a study of what construes intimacy in any relationship.

“She’s Clean” is a montage of bathroom scenes. What happens in the most intimate part of the aptly unnamed protagonist’s (Jenn Harris) life? The woman seems to be in her forties. And she has a habit of asking her dates to join her for a shower. The film’s logline more or less carries the same synopsis. This is a woman who is adamant about marrying sexual desires with emotional intimacy. And the bathroom is indeed the best place for that.

Understandably, the results are not the same for all the different encounters. This is where “She’s Clean” becomes contemplative through its variety of men and their behavior. The premise promises sex, but it becomes something else. Although a significantly high portion of the film has the actors parade naked in front of the camera, sex often goes to the backseat. Sure, initially, we do see the woman and her partner of the day involved in sex with great fervor, but Harris slowly moves to a different kind of intimacy with each passing encounter of her character.

Once the mild shock of nudity is over, you get intrigued by what the protagonist goes through. Underneath the sexual exuberance, there is a layer of alienation and a grasp for companionship. Like any good short film, it opens up the possibilities of interpretation. We do not know much about the woman. Who is this woman? What are her desires? Is she craving these fleeting moments of intimacy, or is she flowing wherever life takes her? Harris is deft in making us dwindle through her journey while throwing shade at the male ineptitude at understanding intimacy.

She’s Clean (2024) 'Short Film' Review
A still from “She’s Clean” (2024)

I’m not sure if it is intended or not, but “She’s Clean” seems to be paying homage to Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman.” Like “Jeanne Dielman,” “She’s Clean” also explores feminist loneliness through the minutiae of everyday life’s drudgery. In this case, Harris dabbles into the drudgery for a shorter period and in a specific location of the woman’s household. The subject of the short is too provocative to ignore likely negative reactions from a certain section of society. And Harris does well not to ignore that. She does not forget to show one misogynistic partner of hers who brands her a ‘whore’ due to the sexual liberation she reflects. Some of the men do not know their way around a woman’s bathroom, which is also a nice touch.

In terms of acting, it is mostly a Jenn Harris show, supported ably by the plethora of male actors. Harris is exceptionally comfortable in this admittedly ‘bold’ role. She’s fun when it requires her to be fun and despondent when it requires her to be that. The switch between the moods is radically fast as the film is a collection of different experiences. It is the embodiment of her own character that makes those transitions smooth. Praises have to be showered on all the male supporting actors. All of them are equally ‘bold’ as Harris is and complements her in the variety of ways the story needs them to do.

Another person who deserves praise is cinematographer Charlie Gruet. Through Gruet’s camera, the woman’s bathroom becomes a beautiful world of intimacy, alienation, comfort, and a cry for help. The cinematography is dipped in realism. It is one of the key components that force the audience to imbibe this world and not just be uncomfortable with it. “She’s Clean” is not just a glimpse of the dating world. It is an exploration of emotional vulnerability, sexual intimacy, and everything we think about while we are having that short window of time away from the world inside our toilets.

Read More: The Monstrous Feminine: 30 Best Feminist Horror Movies of All Time

She’s Clean (2024) Movie Links: IMDb
The Cast of She’s Clean (2024) Movie: Jenn Harris, Louis Cancelmi, Randy Harrison
She’s Clean (2024) Movie Genre: Short, Comedy | Runtime: 15m

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