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Movie Review and Recap: The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed

A woman kneeling, naked, in front of a clothed man sitting on a chair
Joanna Arnow and Scott Cohen in The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed (2024) is billed as a “hilarious comedy” that follows a NYC woman’s kinky—and vanilla—dating misadventures as she simultaneously navigates her boring corporate job and overbearing parents.

The director and star, Joanna Arnow, clearly understands that BDSM can be just as mundane and funny as any other facet of a person’s life. But by the end, the overall message seems to be considerably gloomier, namely that a long-term serious relationship and BDSM are fundamentally incompatible.

Recap (Includes Spoilers)

The movie opens with the main character, Ann (played by Arnow), humping Allen’s (Scott Cohen’s) leg in bed. He appears to be sleeping or at least extremely disinterested, which we quickly learn is the point. Ann says she loves how he doesn’t care if she comes and how he falls asleep after he comes—“it’s so disrespectful and misogynist.” Yet we’re left wondering if that’s how she truly feels or if she’s simply pretending to be satisfied with their dynamic. 

This sense of disappointment—that Ann has in other people and they have in her—permeates the entire film. We see Ann at a family dinner where she wishes her mother happy birthday. Oddly, her mom says it isn’t her birthday. “Well, happy Memorial Day then,” Ann says. “You know I don’t celebrate Memorial Day,” her mother responds testily. Awkward silence ensues.

Similarly, at a corporate meeting, Ann asks what the five-year plan is for the company, and the boss says he’s disappointed in the question because he feels it’s already been covered. And in another meeting, a supervisor comments to Ann that, “When this project is finished, you will have made your own job obsolete.”

Arnow’s flat delivery helps crystallize the dry humor in many of the BDSM scenes. In the next bedroom scene with Allen, he asks Ann what she likes. She says she likes it when he puts his hands in her mouth, but he says he already knows that. She says she likes it when he tells her what to do. Still not satisfied, he asks what else she likes. She says she can’t think of anything else right then and asks him to just tell her what to do. He says he is, but she isn’t doing it.

In another scene, Allen repeatedly tells Ann to jump out of bed and run to the wall and then run back to suck his nipple. Afterward, he asks if she felt how submissive she was being. She says yes and that she likes being submissive to him specifically.

Her submission does have limits, however. This becomes clear in a video sex scene with Allen where he jerks off to her butt, which is facing the camera. After he’s done, he tells her to say goodnight. She says she doesn’t want to and she’s not a window he can open and close. He says it’s the mark of a good submissive that she’s able to tell him this.

After this, Ann seemingly moves on from Allen and cycles through a number of other kinky men, including a guy who likes to humiliate his partners. He has Ann dress up in a fuck pig costume and communicate in oinks. He also makes her masturbate on his terrace while wearing bells so that everyone on the street below will know how much of a whore she is. As with Allen, Ann has trouble communicating her fantasies even when the guy asks her about them directly. She says she’s been tired lately, but she guesses she’s been thinking about the fuck pig. This doesn’t seem like her fantasy, however, so much as an easy answer in the moment.

In contrast to her inertia in her sex life, Ann does express dissatisfaction at her job. During a corporate merger, a supervisor tells her that her job title will be changing to whatever HR decides, and Ann won’t have a choice in the matter. Ann replies that she does have a choice—she can accept it or not.

After her kinky casual dating, Ann meets Chris (Babak Tafti), who seems genuinely into her but is not kinky. At one point, he even tells her she can see her old doms if she wants to because he doesn’t want her to get bored. She says perhaps he could be her new master, but he doesn’t seem particularly interested. 

Things seem to turn a corner, though, when Ann kneels in front of Chris and explains that she’s waiting until he’s ready for a blowjob. He perks up and says he’s ready right then. She says it would be exciting if he made her wait. He then says he wants her mouth to be available to her the second he wants it and asks if that’s the kind of thing she’s interested in. She says yes, exactly.

Despite this promising scene, the movie ends with Ann back in bed with Allen, so we’re left to conclude that things didn’t work out with Chris. Allen asks Ann where she went to college—a question he’s asked her repeatedly in the past. And so the time for Ann to do something to change the status quo has passed, and she’s back where she started.


The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed does a good job conveying the many absurdities of life and BDSM. The juxtaposition of the BDSM scenes with scenes about Ann’s job and family shows that BDSM can be just as quotidian as any other part of life. It also successfully shows that BDSM can be a bedroom-only activity, as opposed to something that requires 24/7 participation in a dungeon. This may seem insignificant, but given how few kinky movies do it, it’s a notable achievement.   

It’s not really clear what the intended message of the film is, however. Based on Ann’s relationship trajectory, one interpretation is that having a long-term BDSM relationship with someone you genuinely care about and who cares about you is nearly impossible. This plays into an unfortunate and tired trope about BDSM—the idea that kink isn’t really desirable with someone you love.  

Movies about BDSM aren’t necessarily responsible for being a mouthpiece for kink positivity. But by focusing only on the bleakest parts of the Tinder treadmill, however authentic, Arnow misses an opportunity to show kinky dating’s more complex, joyful, and romantic realities. Rather than reveal something new to the viewer, the sour tone simply echoes the tired pop culture cliche of a kinkster destined for unfulfillment. Without too much trouble in the real world, Ann could have found a man to give her a fuck pig costume and a degrading chore, but also take her on a date and remember where she went to school.

Looking for more kinky movies? Check out our Entertainment section for more reviews!

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Bound Together
One couple’s insights into BDSM