Lena Dunham will return after a 12-year feature filmmaking hiatus with the semi-autobiographical, sex-filled and trauma-talking Sharp Stick, with the writer-director-star sharing the movie’s new red band trailer Thursday ahead of its summer release.
The movie trailer opens with protagonist Sarah Jo (played by Kristine Froseth) searching up porn for the first time, gearing audiences up for a story that navigates youth, sexuality, and womanhood. Dunham’s uncanny wit is apparent in the trailer’s glimpse into Jo’s life: The music mellows as Jo’s mother heartedly teaches her the name of a penis that is wider than it is long; we’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Dunham noted the potential backlash the movie may face from the leads’ difference of age and and sexual-experience: Josh (played by Jon Bernthal is married and Sarah Jo is a twentysomething virgin. She explained a certain ‘movie magic’ that allows audiences to suspend their disbelief and judgment. “You know they are characters in a movie, right? We’re allowed to enjoy this,” she said.
The film, as described by Dunham, is semi-autobiographical. “Each of these characters contains pieces of me, even if their life stories don’t resemble mine,” she said. One arc of the story that does, however, resemble Dunham’s life is Sarah Jo’s medically necessary hysterectomy. Dunham has openly shared her own battle with endometriosis and experience with her hysterectomy operation. Noting the relation between herself and Sarah Jo, she told Rolling Stone, “I think if [Sarah Jo] was a superhero, that would be a part of her origin story.”
The trailer highlights the film’s themes of power, validation, motherhood, and infidelity. Sharp Stick is set to release in New York and Los Angeles on July 29, with a nationwide premiere to follow on August 5. The film will also be available on all streaming platforms starting August 16.