The Book of Gabrielle

Director: Lisa Gornick
2016 | UK | 80m
GENRE: Arts & Literature | Bisexual | Comedy | Gender | Jewish | Lesbian | Queer | Relationships | Sexuality
SECTION: World Cinema


A graphic artist looks to an older erotic novelist for mentorship as she works on her book How to Do It — an illustrated sex manual with drawings but no instructions — and the intimate relationship that develops between them changes both her life and her perspective, in writer-director Lisa Gornick’s (Tick Tock Lullaby, Frameline31 [writer-director]; The Owls, Hooters, Frameline34 [actor]) clever, voluble dramedy.

Gabrielle (Gornick) has been familiar with Saul’s (Allan Corduner) books most of her life — he was a favorite of her parents. Despite their age difference and the fact that she is lesbian while he is straight, they click when they meet at a book signing. They have a few things in common: they are both obsessed with sex and are both secular Jews. But it is their differences that they find fascinating. Saul delights in Gabrielle’s description of her past affairs and her ongoing relationship with her younger girlfriend, Olivia (Anna Koval). Gabrielle is just as interested in exploring manhood through Saul. As their relationship unfolds, so does her book, in pen-and-ink drawings that reveal not only Gabrielle’s experiences — from childhood explorations, to young adult affairs with both men and women, to her current situation — but also her life. The question arises: Is Saul helping her find her artistic voice, or does she need to break from his patriarchy to find herself? The Book of Gabrielle answers that query with style, wit, and a measure of erotic heat.


Jewish Film Institute