Much as the title suggests, Beyond Vanilla explores the kinkier aspects of sex on the other side of vanilla. With interviews, demonstrations and a good dose of how-to instructions, this documentary covers the gamut of fetishes and SM practices. From bondage, flogging and fisting to knife play, fire and golden showers, director Claes Lilja (pronounced class lil-yah) takes you on an unforgettable journey to the wilder side of sex. Sharing fantasies, experiences and pleasures, the over 100 people interviewed in the film help blur boundaries and shed new light on sexuality and sexual practices. For the curious, the voyeur, or the enthusiast, this is a fascinating journey into the world of high performance sexual athletes, where the boundaries of gay, straight, bi or transgender seem almost irrelevant. Mr. Lilja's subjects are academics, doctors, lawyers, pornographers, porn stars, sex workers and fulfilled, freelance hedonists who offer an insider's view of how to embrace extreme fantasies. Open your mind and the rest will follow...
"Worth noting: Claes Lilja's illuminating, serious documentary "Beyond Vanilla", screening at Laemmle's Sunset 5 this weekend features an array of individuals who tell how they have discovered sexual fulfillment through sadomasochistic and other unusual practices. Graphic but not exploitative."
—Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times
"If National Geographic got together with the producers of This Old House and made a movie about BDSM (Bondage/ Dominance/ Sadism/ Masochism) it would probably look something like this... fun, informational, and titillating, what more could you want..."
—Brian Brait, The Portland Mercury
“… never before depicted in an above-ground movie… it’s hard not to marvel at the many varieties of human experience”
—Dave Kehr, The New York Times
"Ground-breaking...it enraptured audiences..."
“For the curious or the enthusiast, this is a how-to guide that journeys into the world of extreme fantasy - and pleasure.”
“brilliant and entertaining… a truly diverse and interesting range of perspectives… refreshingly professional, entertaining, and insightful… this film deserves to be seen by both kinky and non-kinky people” —Rachel Kramer Bussel, YesPortal.com
“Extreme Sex Alert:… cheerful and very explicit”
–Time Out New York
“… manages to be informative and insightful without being prurient or salacious. That's no mean feat!... rarely discussed in such a candid, instructive way!
—Rich Cline, Shadowsonthewall.com
“…one comes away with a certain respect for the dedication true kinkiness demands. Its explicitness will be off putting to certain viewers and the variety of behaviors almost guarantees something to offend everyone”
“Beyond Vanilla explores the wide world of kink and concludes, hey, don't knock it till you've tried it.”
—Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
"Fabulously disgusting"—SX Magazine
“a must for anyone interested in BDSM — or just those into watching hot gay guys and others talk about their sex lives.”
—New York Blade
"Guaranteed to make almost anybody squirm with delight, disgust or disbelief"—Outtakes.net
"A stunner... intense, frank... authentic" –Dr. Patti, YourSexCoach.com
“presented intelligently and in a lighthearted manner, and gives insight from well-trained professionals and practitioners in an easy to understand format.”–Michelle’s Kiss & Tell
“a competent record with the courage to accept the positive views of the participants and to show some BDSM action”—MikeBDSM.com
"a candid, good-humored and very hot documentary"
—Arizona Power Exchange
"This film is salacious!"--Claude Neu, Le Jeudi
"…extreme sex fantasies and realities are discussed
(and depicted) in graphic detail"—Gay Times
"Higly informative and intellectual" —SensoryPerceptions.org
"Frank fetish documentary (and instruction manual)"
—The Guardian, London
"Bring your first date to this movie." –Matthew Hays, The Montreal Mirror
“Many in the audience will be grabbing their crotches by the end, I’m sure.”—Annette Willis, Sydney Mardi Gras Review
“a timely and lively exploration of a growing pansexual movement that crosses boundaries”—Scott Cranin, TLA
"...the squeamish should stay away. The rest of you will love it."