Love Lives Here is a romantic explosive
Be prepared to skip a heartbeat and lose your breath watching local film Love Lives Here, starring bombshell Thando Thabethe and heartthrob Lungile Radu.
If there is one reason to catch the Norman Maake-directed rom-com, its for the hot sex.
The countless erotic scenes in the film with a supporting cast of Zola Nombona, Nomalanga Shozi, Nyokabi Angela Gethaiga, Andile Gumbi, Motlatsi Mafatshe and Nkanyiso Bhengu go from intense to funny and romantic.
Not once do they get trashy, but they are skillfully executed and push the envelope with just the right amount.
Just enough steam to set you over the edge and make Love Lives Here the sexiest local picture ever made.
There is social media's favourite "woman-on-top" depicted in one scene; while dark and twisted fantasies such as a kinky threesome, take centre stage in another.
But, above all, Nombona's boobs just sizzle a million degrees more than summer days in Durban - which is where the film is set.
For 28-year-old Thabethe, after flaunting her trademark "Thabooty", she was nervous for her mom to see it.
"The film is funny and sexy. I'm nervous for my mom to see it," she says.
"The sex scenes are steamy. Not just me, everyone gets their turn at a bit of raunchiness.
"It wasn't difficult to do those scenes because we spent a month together in Durban getting familiar and comfortable with each other."
Days later, at the movie premiere in Joburg, Thabethe breaks the internet after capturing her mom's hilarious reaction in a video clip.
"What were you not ready for?" Thabethe asks her.
Her mom, looking flushed, responds: "The naked one... there is only one naked one. There is no other naked one. But it was passionate and nice."
Love Lives Here follows the tale of a modern woman with traditional values, Zinhle Mabena (Thabethe), who has been burnt one too many times by love. Zinhle is ready to settle down and get married when she meets Nkosinathi Shange (Radu).
But Nkosinathi is not ready and comes with a lot of baggage - the baby mama drama in the form of Lilitha (Nombona).
Zinhle has unfinished business too with her philandering ex, Kwena (Gumbi).
"It also tackles the many dynamics of relationships, especially with women just accepting their own sexuality," Thabethe explains.
"It's about women being ok with a hit-and-run. Men do it, and it's ok, but when women do it, they're labeled all sorts of ugly names."
The film ticks all the right boxes and managed to win over a skeptic like myself.
The screenplay is not try-hard nor trying to be groundbreaking either.
By not getting in its own way, it focuses on being funny and romantic. It's very hilarious, especially scenes that involve Mafatshe.
Love Lives Here is a uniquely modern SA rom-com that will turn into a time-tested classic. It's watchable with friends or by yourself.
But the cherry on top is having a doe-eyed Thabethe convincingly as girl-next-door.
Thabethe has opened the year on her high, with two nods at the 2019 Radio Awards. Her 5FM afternoon show The Thabooty Drive is nominated for Best Afternoon Drive (Commercial) and for Best Afternoon Drive Presenter (Commerial).
"It's a good sign and it means that we are doing the right thing," she says.
"Radio is as real as it gets, it's not like TV where there is a facade."
Her TLC Africa talk show Thando Bares All just won an award at the SA Film and Television Award last month.
Thabethe says she has reached the glass ceiling locally and she is ready for her global takeover.
Love Lives Here opens today at selected local cinemas.