Don’t Read This on a Plane is a quirky little film. I’m not sure it’s for everyone. It built mysteriously and slowly to a final satisfying reveal and punch. It’s streaming on Prime Video and other sites.
Don’t Read This on a Plane is the title of the 3rd novel by Jovana Fey (Sophie Desmarais). She’s already at the first stop on a book tour around Europe when she learns that her publisher is bankrupt and all her hotels have been cancelled. But the plane tickets are already paid for.
She’s flat broke with no where to stay, but she goes ahead with the trip. The film was shot on location in several famous bookstores around Europe – one of them on a longboat.
As Jovana reads her book aloud in various places we slowly realize that each reading is about a woman (presumably her, but she won’t commit to answering that question) who has sex with 100 other women. Each encounter is described in vivid detail.
Jovana hitchhikes to her destinations from the airports. She lives off the cookies at book readings or free food and drinks from the attendees. She stays in various homes that offer a mat or a couch to strangers free. She calls her husband Theo (Allen C. Gardner) with desperate pleas for money.
Theo cooks on an oil rig in the North Sea. The satellite link is down and their phone calls are nothing but static.
When she’s lonely, she calls and chats with Ksenia (Dorotheea Petre), the bookseller from her final stop, a woman she’s never met.
She drags her suitcase behind her everywhere she goes. It contains an endless supply of fresh outfits. Twenty-eight days on tour and no end of outfits. I began to think of that suitcase as the loaves and fishes of clean clothes. She drags the suitcase up stairs and never seems to be anywhere with an elevator until she finally connects *ahem* with Ksenia.
Jovana loves words. She notes words and phrases on her phone as she meets people in her travels. Her book is in English. She lives in Paris. She speaks several language, but speaks English with her husband. She puts all this language to good use, but we don’t see how at first.
Her book gets unexpected publicity because people keep getting arrested on planes for reading her book. There’s no such thing as bad publicity and her book sales grow as do the number of people attending her readings.
This oddity of a story was written and directed by Australian Stuart McBratney, who scraped together enough cash to film in bookstores all over Europe. I was impressed with that and the scenery. I was also impressed with the slow reveal leading to the ending.
Sophie Desmarais is perfect as Jovana. She has 45 acting credits on IMDb. I consider it a personal failure that I haven’t heard of her until now.
The trailer doesn’t reveal much. Here ’tis.
Does this sound like something of interest to you? If you watch it, please share your reaction.