I cannot really talk very convincingly about female sexuality, because I am not female. I can, however, I think, discuss freely how two female film directors present notions of desire and subversion in two films that I have seen over these last two days, ‘Two Mothers’, a curiously impactful and well-acted film about transgressive, almost incestuous, love affairs with much younger men (by director Anne Fontaine), and the much discussed, and supposedly ‘scandalous’, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’, a looming cultural blockbuster which I simply could not resist watching as a Monday matinee yesterday afternoon, just to see what all the fuss was about.



I had to see it. I just can’t resist these ‘cultural phenomena’. And if I did, would I find the film offensive? Laughable? Total rubbish? Would I agree with the accusations by women’s groups that the film essentially constituted a condoning, or glamourizing, of domestic abuse in allowing its main protagonist, a female college student, to become entangled in a sado-masochistic relationship with a controlling and sexually ‘dominant’, whip-wielding billionaire? Did the film merit being boycotted? Or should I, instead of sitting in my plush cinema seat quite merrily watching Anastasia’s silken buttocks being spanked by an Adonis with a tassled tussle, have compassionately donated money to a battered women’s shelter?



These questions, and more of them, are what make a titillating sexual cause celèbre, and it seems that every era has one. Be it Last Tango In Paris, Nine And A Half Weeks, or Basic Instinct (all of which I quite like), these are the films that have interest groups marching outside the cinemas shouting degradation and exploitation, or even in the case of Fifty Shades Of Grey, actual women-on-men violence (see today’s screaming Daily Mirror headline: ” Rowdy women glass man at Valentine Day screening of sexy film” ), with drunken women vomiting in the aisles and the cinema staff cleaning up blood from the seats, (none of which will, I am sure, do any harm to ticket sales). I, also, couldn’t help being drawn into the media mayhem, and the film was, as it turned out, far more enjoyable that I was expecting it to be given all the media hoopla for and against: to me it was a solidly made mainstream entertainment that treated its themes perhaps over carefully, but also with definite sensitivity, and to my great surprise did indeed come across as a strange kind of tender, twisted love story whose conclusion, in the already in-pre-production sequels, I am now quite intrigued about.





What I can’t understand entirely is what people are objecting to. The nuts and bolts of the story, as I see them, are essentially these: a beautiful, emotionally damaged man, himself a (willing?) victim, as a fifteen year old, of a submissive-dominant relationship with a much older woman (a friend of his mother’s), a woman he is mysteriously still in contact with, has now amassed a great fortune and is a hugely successful businessman yet clearly unhappy. He has very specific ‘needs’, both sexually and emotionally, and cannot allow anyone to get too close to him (nor even to touch him without his permission); seemingly frozen in his world of immaculate grey suits, views over Seattle, and business, until a beautiful, sweet, educated, self-confident and emotionally open woman walks into his life by chance and seems to offer the promise of salvation, immediately eroding his self-erected and inviolable ‘codes’ from the very first encounter.



The casting is crucial here ( everything I am writing about here is based on the film – I have not read the book ), and I think that the inspired choice of actors by director Sam Taylor Johnson has allowed her to slyly subvert the story a little bit, as she herself has said, with her own more feminist agenda and take the story to a more nuanced and complex level than it might have been if the film had been treated more crassly and exploitatively. I am not saying that this is a great film by any means: the dialogue is poorly conceived; the whole comes across as one dimensional, the music is obvious and ticked by the box, but it still all kind of works in a contemporary kind of way. There is a consistency of tone and sensation in the typically brooding Seattle setting, and I left with a definite and empathetic sensation in my chest of the woman’s bruised, but brutally awakened, sensuality (even love).




In terms of gender politics, obviously, the studio had to have a female director on board from day one : had they not, any charges of misogyny or mistreatment of women due to the nature of the story would have had immediately more resonance, no matter how sensitive the director had tried to be. The male gaze, feasting through the penetrating lens on a woman being tied up and submitting to any form of bondage for the purpose of the male’s sexual satisfaction, would have been way too risky for a big Hollywood movie studio, and thus Universal wisely went with the unusual choice of a female visual artist photographer and only second time director, but still an established figure in the art world who might imbue the essentially crude architecture of the film’s plot with something more palpably romantic and subtle. Many people will laugh at my use of that last word, but as I said, for me, there is a certain sensitivity in this film, the screen and mise en scène bathed in female chemicals that essentially castrate Christian Grey and make him a rather delicate, even pathetic character who, ironically, as I see it, becomes completely emotionally dominated by his far more self-realized and in-charge lover, Anastasia Steele. To me, quite honestly, she is the boss. Oestrogen fills up the impossibly ordered offices and duplex like a perfume, and in fact there is a very noticeable lack of traditionally conceived testosterone on screen, given the thematics, from the immaculately clean and tidy ‘play room’ with its exquisitely organized feathered whips and clean chains (you can practically smell the lemon furniture polish), to Grey’s walk in closet: the suits and shirts and ties and cufflinks laid out obsessive-compulsviely like Sarah Jessica Parker’s wardrobe in Sex And The City. We are not talking, here, about some chained up leather gimp grunting and hurtling towards Anastasia, but rather the curtailed and image conscious metrosexuality of a Milan Men’s fashion show (surely one of the least sexy things on earth, at least to me). The apartment, where much of the ‘action’ takes place, is more like a first class hotel’s extended penthouse suite than our traditional image of a sleek onyx bachelor pad – a flower arrangement, here; an anonymous looking piece of art work placed just so, there, or about the piano, the director seemingly having feminized or at least neutralized this living space in order to render it as unthreatening and attractive as possible to Anastasia, and thus her intended, presumably largely female, audience. Rather than a dark and claustrophobic place where ‘forbidden desires’ would be played out or imposed on the ‘victim’ in an intense, dungeon-like space – which would surely have made the push-pull of attraction and terror far more visceral and troubling, we are made constantly aware, surely intentionally, of glass; of transparency, of light. Rather than a hidden-underground hole – the stench of soiled leather and sweaty, and stale sex, we have a space that looks more like a spanking new (forgive the pun), state-of-the art personal gym, just fitted out with extra, kinkier accoutrements, straight from a high-class, cordon bleu catalogue.




Ironically, I had prepared myself sensorially for what I thought might be a potentially ugly and polluting experience onscreen by scenting myself nicely with recently purchased Weil’s Antilope vintage parfum, thinking, mistakenly, that it would be like a protecting veil of sanctity and good taste that I could harbour myself in if I hated the film for whatever reason. In reality, however, as it turned out, in terms of smell I was something of a disaster. I was planning to stay in that day, feeling a little under the weather, but had decided at the very last minute to go and see the film as originally intended and had thus showered very quickly, thrown on an old t shirt and two sweaters (unwashed, to my horrified realization as I sat self consciously on the bus on the way there), and worse – or better, depending on your viewpoint – had neglected to put on any deodorant. By the time I got to my seat, overheated and hurried, the Antelope was rutting, my own very real, and collected, odours were rising up terrifyingly around me, while on screen, two smooth, depilated, auspiciously clean individuals clasped and unclasped prettily in their playground of aspirational luxury, not a single bead of sweat in sight on their toned torsos as I lay bathed in it like some filthy quasimodo; Jamie Dornan looking as athletic and unscented as an action man figurine; Dakota Johnson never less than clean-smelling and pure, the bare-bottomed hanky panky ‘audaciously’ frissoned rather than abnormal; the velvet -rope of their tied up sessions softly fit and mutually clearly pleasurable, as it obviously should be.




But back to the supposed polemics and my own, placid, reactions to them. Physically, the actor playing Grey – Jamie Dornan, a former model and piece of man candy if you like that sort of thing – is simply not imposing enough, despite his taut and honed body, to come across as a real threat – even physically – to his new girlfriend, who is of similar height and build and could probably floor him had she done a little taekwando; they are translucent Adam & Eves who extend their bodies and curl their toes affectedly à la music video, yet evince little tangible, genital lust. This Christian Grey, depilated, hawk-eyed, is like a rigid, cold Greek statue waiting to be animated by his more flushed and blood-circulated feminine counterpart and, perhaps because he himself was once a dominee, is never once threatening in his actions. Controlling, yes, selling Anastasia’s car without her permission and tracking her whereabouts and so on (and I realize that this is sinister but er, so what) but he is also incredibly solicitous about her well being at all times, and will never do anything sexually without her absolute, explicit consent. It was all this that surprised me: just how polite and considered everything was in this film, considering the accusations of domestic violence (where surely exactly the opposite usually happens: where a couple sadly meet and holy vows are made; promises of happiness exchanged, only to end up in the cold light of the domestic day with the man turning out to be a violent bastard with no-self control who continually physically abuses his partner and keeps her in intimidation). That there was a contract drawn up that Christian hoped she would sign before committing herself to even an inch of ‘his world’ is disturbing (and something I imagine that most of us would run a mile from), but even when the main character, completely of her free will (because she is falling in love with him), does start some initiation into ‘bondage’ – and, crucially, seems to like it – it is really just so tame, as light as a feather, that all of this surprised me quite deeply in its stripped, officious rationality.





I was led to believe that Fifty Shades Of Grey would be a shocking story of a woman debased and humiliated by a psycho (but so what if it had been, anyway? Must every woman, in every story represent, the entirety of womankind? Are we so politically correct that every female protagonist, in every film, must obey certain conventions of motivation and psychology that fit with the current standards of thought?). In my eyes, though, in any case, it was nothing of the sort. To me, the female character in this film is essentially in control throughout. Dakota Johnson, an actress I have never heard of before, is really good, I think, bringing an intriguing blend of innocence, stability, curiosity, intelligence and intrepidation to the character of Anastasia that allows her to transcend the bullshit around her, and when the S+M in the couple’s incipient relationship does definitively transgress her boundaries she immediately, and rightfully, puts an end to  it, the lift doors closing as they part, at the point where the story, at least this part of it, seems to end.




As I said, for me, this girl, for the most part, knows exactly what she is doing. She is also clearly, on the whole, really quite enjoying it. And anyway, she is acting out the fantasies of the woman (not the man), who created her, E.L James, who has admitted to writing Fifty Shades Of Grey in the midst of a mid-life crisis as her personal sexual fantasy. It is mainly women, apparently, who have bought the novel, and it was certainly women who made up the entire audience at the screening I went to ( I was the only male : the rest of the onlookers were young Japanese women munching on popcorn).




Again, this is why I can’t really understand the ‘controversy’ the film has incited, other than the potential, as the Catholic church as suggested, for ‘normalizing’ the sexual practices that are enacted by the couple on screen (but which are nevertheless more natural, surely, than the enforced celibacy, and consequent molestation, of little children that has plagued the church for an eternity), even though they are consensual and ostensibly harmless. What these, the ‘outraged’ seem to be saying is that a woman shouldn’t be allowed to have sexual fantasies other than what is deemed normal (by men, presumably); that she shouldn’t be permitted to explore ‘dangerous’ themes (not even in fiction), that she should just emerge from the kitchen in her pinafore dress and wait modestly in her bedroom for a night of pliant and whispering midnight missionary position, or if she is a married Japanese woman, enact the traditional ‘maguro’, or tuna fish position (trust me, I have several Japanese female friends who have told me about this) and lie there like a dead, rigid, creature squeaking occasionally for her husband’s pleasure when he is not too exhausted from his sadomasochistic work practices to be, taken with her. All of these assumptions about female sexuality, that women are these tame, innocent and bloodless creatures, ultimately strike me as far more objectionably sexist than anything that appears in this movie.




Not that there is anything wrong, obviously, in the more traditional methods of lovemaking. Who am I to discuss what people get up to in the privacy of their own bedrooms?  I am no sexologist. I do not expect to come back to my parents’ house in the future to discover that the garage has suddenly been turned into a ‘playroom’. In fact, to be honest, in some ways, I probably come from the opposite side of the spectrum to all this. As far as I am concerned, the whole world is way too overly, and deeply boringly, sexualized ( I really do believe that desire originates more often in the unknowable, the intangible, the suggested, than the blatant and in your face animality;  that an unspoken, even furtive clandestinity is far more erotic, quite often, than the drawing up a contract of sexual practices to be enacted in an S+M lite dungeon); that despite my desire for the right to sexual freedom,  the sex-obsessed ugliness of much of contemporary ‘culture’, from the tedious writhing and ass-tit-slapping of our current pop stars, to the endless debates about the morality of homosexuality, to the froth and bother surrounding this ultimately inconsequential film (and I imagine novel) is ultimately probably damaging to the mystical and soul-releasing beauty that can be sex.




To conclude this first part of my exploration of these two films (and some things I would like to say about Japanese culture that could, and will probably  fill a whole book), Fifty Shades Of Grey, despite its definite watchability, is ultimately nothing but a mildly erotic little trifle that could possibly have been ‘more’ (ie. more lurid, more hardcore, more ‘button pressing’ when looked at from some quarters) but which, in my view, also succeeds in carefully dignifying what could have ended up as a vulgarized cipher of a character in the wrong hands and imbuing her with enough verve, life and character to reject, at least this stage of the narrative, the rather pitiful male character who is pursuing her. While story originator EL James succeeds in getting her rocks off in creating her saucy characters (and hats off to her), in the process giving a big middle finger to those who want to put limits on a woman’s sexual fantasies no matter how un-PC, or non-feminist they might appear to be (and is laughing all the way to the bank as she inarguably seems to be tapping, in fact, into exactly what a very large number of women do seem to actually want, at least to read about in fiction), director Sam Taylor Johnson also deserves some kudos, I would say, for the sly and glossy subversion she has carried off with her somewhat neutered, but ultimately, dare I say it, more empowering, even romantic, visual adaptation.









Filed under Fetish, Fifty Shades Of Grey


  1. Renee Stout

    I totally agree with your assessment of this film and your bewilderment at the reaction to it from some women’s groups. What I’ve come to understand as a self-aware woman of 57, that many women never come to understand who they truly are and what they really want for themselves. Instead, they continue to rely on outdated conventions to define what it means to be a woman and expecting every woman to fit into those narrow definitions in order to make themselves feel comfortable. I hate to say it, but sometimes it’s women who can be more oppressive to women than any misogynistic male could ever be.

    • Interesting. And I agree with you.

      I just don’t think that people need to be so straitjacketed, though that is perhaps an unfortunate way of phrasing it given the context.

      Seriously, though, I WAS expecting a product that was a bit more….transgressive or something. I did quite enjoy it, though. Did you?

    • I also think sexuality, regardless of gender, is a multifaceted thing that cannot easily be pigeonholed. There is a fascinating and beautiful Thai film called Tropical Malady that we watched recently which will be way too ‘arty’ and slow moving for most people, but Duncan and I found it rapturously beautiful and deep. It was all done so suggestively but surrealistically: two Thai men meeting and flirting quite innocently for the first half of the film until a kiss occurs, at which point the film splits in half and reinvents itself, the more seemingly passive of the two disappearing into the jungle and becoming a tiger, while the formerly more aggressively ‘male’ person becomes the hunted. It becomes fable and dream, is doused in desire, and is incredibly erotic and beautiful even though nothing overtly sexual, apart from one person licking another person’s hand, ever occurs. Nothing is explained, there is no music, and we were just left in the dark just stunned until we came up with some analyses. That it was possibly exploring the idea that people have dualities (like, on a more crass level, the idea of Christian Grey having been a submissive and then becoming this ‘sadist’), that we can all be aggressive and passive, and have conflicting impulses within ourselves.

      In the Thai film though these ideas were just enacted far more beautifully and profoundly, taking the idea of love and sex and binding them with myth and fable and something unpindownable.

  2. David

    I just don’t understand the controversy. Who the hell–woman or man– needs or seeks approval for a sexual fantasy or for the act that (hopefully) goes past the fantasy stage? If I were a sexually adventurous woman, I think I might like all the shoulds and shouldn’ts and the outrage: it’s only going to make the adventure/fantasy/act sweeter, bolder, more daring, more intense…..and, um, who–man or woman– doesn’t want that from sex?
    You mentioned “Nine and a Half Weeks.” I remember I was a teenager when that first came out. Such a stylish movie! I will never forget the scene when Mickey Rourke gives Kim Basinger that antique shawl. And when they listen to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” I love that she chose to walk into that intense sexual relationship and then walk away from it. She needed to do both.

    • I agree.

      Thinking about Fifty Shades again though, I can see, now, how people might just feel that with all the horrendous violence against women that exists in the world, why add further fuel to the fire and treat it as something to be viewed with pleasure? That the very act of depicting it is, in a way, an insult.

      At the same time, as I said before, I hate the idea of one person having to represent the universal, and human beings really are so complex in their confused needs and wants, often conflicting, that I see no reason not to show one person’s story, even if it is a somewhat ludicrous one. What is more interesting than the whole shebang is people’s reactions to it. Why am I even wasting time writing about it?

  3. This is one of the very few truly interesting texts I’ve read about the 50 Shades phenomenon lately. Most stuff seems wildly polarized between “it’s disguised abuse!” and “people have a right to their sexuality!” and the problem is that the original book is really not that well writen and lends itself to both interpretations. However, the fact that it’s been a massive hit clearly lets us know that it’s speaking to people’s needs and interests.

    From your description, I suspect that Sam Taylor-Johnson cleverly adapted the most problematic aspect of the book, being the fact that sometimes it does seem that Ana has no agency at all and is being “forced” by Christian into doing things she’s not actually interested in. Affirming Ana’s will restores to their relationship something that is a true aspect of dominance / submission relationships, that the submissive actually has the power because they decide what the dominant can or cannot do.

    I firmly believe that people have a right to explore their desires and to do so in an informed. safe and trusting manner. For what it’s worth, 50 Shades has the merit of opening up the discussion about sexual interests that until very recently were classified as “mental disorders” due to the many centuries of indoctrination about what sex “should be like”. Alas, it does so by giving the entire thing a thorough “scrubbing” and making it “tasteful”, polite, all airy steel and glass like Christian’s apartment. It brings to mind the taste for scents that smell of soap and/or fabric softener. I very much understand your Antilope conundrum – I myself am one of those people who adores Muscs Koublai Khan and I always apply it with great care lest someone else is “offended” by it…

    • I had really slathered on the Antilope and it was a waste of precious vintage perfume as I smelled just horrible. You are right, though: the rooms on the screen felt utterly laundered and sanitized ( as opposed, say, to the sex scenes in Angel Heart where you get a sense of sweat and carnal juices). These two looked scrubbed enough to eat your dinner off them.

      Funny what you say about the BDSM culture and being more respectful of it: that’s what a friend of mine was saying. I personally can’t relate to any of that whatsoever as I have no attraction to the idea of either being dominant or submissive: I hate all rules, uniforms, codes, and ‘gear’, and am very claustrophobic and dehydrophobic to boot so could never, ever be tied up or controller by another person and would also project my own horrors of such things onto the person receiving it.

      • In one way, though, despite the definite over cleanliness of the ‘play room’, that almost in a sense added to the kinkiness of it all. Grey’s delicate frame; his clenched, steeled jaw, her uncontaminated textures, in that sleek environment it made the politeness, yet the butt slapping, simultaneously in a way more enticing ( despite what I write about sweat and stinking sex dungeons I am in reality WAY WAY too nose-led in my desires and it wouldn’t matter how worked up I might be, foul smells would always put me off). The thwack of flesh in such an environment…….mm maybe I am getting into this more than I even myself realized….

  4. David

    “Nine and a Half Weeks” was interesting because while Mickey Rourke’s world was all tasteful and sleek Armani grey, it was mixed with the grit of 1980’s NYC. I will never forget the scene where they visit the live sex show in Times Square (yes, those places really existed pre-Mayor Giuliani). Why did watching it cause Kim Basinger to end the relationship? I suppose at that moment, she realized what she was doing with Mickey Rourke was just a fantasy and could never be a real relationship. They might as well be performing in a sleazy live theater.
    Many, many New Yorkers miss the Times Square of the 70s and the 80s. Oh, they moaned at the sleaze. But they liked knowing it was there.

    • I know exactly what you mean. A totally sleazeless world is dull. I think Japan combines that and propriety well, though I do always wonder who is being held against their will behind the pretty allure of those pink neon lights…

  5. arline

    I always love your posts.

    I have not seen the movie, but I did read the three books (almost all of them the full way through). I had several gripes about the story, and the way it was constructed. It seemed to me, to be a twist off of the Twilight series. Before I knew anything about the writer, or that she was a fan girl of Twilight, I kept thinking that “this is so similar in many ways to Twilight.

    I wished that El James, had gone deeper into several areas. She could have taken so many things further, the sex (kink rather, as they had sex all the time), the psychology of both Christian and Anastasia, and the transformative process that each of them could have gone through. They both had issues, his were just more stark. I kinda felt empty after reading it. I guess I hoped it would be more erotic, and more developed. The story did however have enough to keep me engaged for a while, until the last book, which I didn’t finish, as I found myself rolling my eyes way too much.

    I apologize for sounding so negative, because I think James story opened doors, and that is a wonderful thing.

    I like that the world of kink is being introduced into mainstream culture, because sexual expression, as well as everything important really, has a spectrum of possibility. Kink to tantra, to everyday (whatever that means) sex has the potential for tremendous exploration, playfulness, healing, and deep connection. and growth. It can all be beautiful in the right context. (hopefully love)

    I am not a part of the BDSM ethos, and I am personally not interested in being a submissive or a dominate, just because I believe deeply in equality, but,and I don’t know that I could get past the “roll play” I do, however think that elements taken from it, could be interesting, exciting and fun, as long as those participating are clear and mutually respectful of one another . It is about trust, which is essential.

    Exploring boundaries is important to personal growth and expansion, it allows for an opportunity to see what really resonates inside. The boundaries don’t even have to be experienced physically, to be worthwhile, they can be explored within the imagination, or via erotic story telling. This is a positive thing in my opinion. Any controversy that is happening with this movie, is due to a mass belief in guilt shame and oppression, that somewhere along the line, has gotten attached to sex. It is unfortunate, for so many reasons.

    Like you have surmised, there is nothing truly controversial happening, here.

    One of the things I appreciated in the book, and I don’t know if this aspect came across in the movie, was that Anastasia LOVED the way Christian smelled. She repeatedly made mention to his scent of clean linens, expensive body wash and Christian. That was about the only scent description that she gave, and she repeated it many times throughout each book. She did say that in the bath he drew for her, that he put some expensive oil which foamed, and smelled like jasmine. Throughout the story, Christian told Anastasia, how much he loved her smell. YES scent is a big part of the equation, that is what I gather anyway.

    Smell is so important (to me for sure) with regards to sensuality. The perfect combination of a warm body, and either essential oils or perfume/ cologne can be intoxicating and even transformative.

    I had a boyfriend once hose scent did that to me. I would want to inhale him every time he was near me. I think I was saddest about loosing that intimate scent connection after we split up.

    Another boyfriend I had at one time, while his scent I enjoyed most of the time, was pretty opposed to deodorant (I am as well, though I always use essential oils instead). Very occasionally he would wear a myrrh attar, that I bought for him, but only a teeny tiny drop. He believed that pheromones should dominate the body instead of a fragrance. Fair enough, however, he ate A LOT of curry and cumin, which, in my opinion, dominated the pheromones, but I could not convince him of that. alas…

    I am sure you smelt fine, at the movie, and were harsher on your scent trail than those around you. I don’t know what Antilope Wiel smells like, but I would be willing to bet, that it was not in competition with overpowering BO, or the unwashed shirt you accidently put on (which probably did not even smell funky) Ha, I am assuming this, without even knowing you, so I will shut up and say, that I can relate to your concern at the time, because when I feel that my personal scent is “off”, I become really really self conscious.

    Anyway. I am sure I will see the movie, as I’m curious. I am also extremely visual, and would love to see what was described above, and how the movie compares to the book details. I think though, I will wait until it comes out on DVD or Netflix, for reasons that I have already mentioned.

    Please do more movie reviews coupled with scent experience. I really enjoy your take on the two.

    • Thank you. I really enjoyed reading this as well.

      The smell thing only came through in how cleanly and smooth they both looked, but you could tell they smelled nice (as I, most definitely, didn’t…).

      I get a strange pleasure from that though, anyway. Sometimes it is interesting to marinate to yourself a bit; the animal within.

  6. What an enjoyable read. I haven’t read the book or seen the film, or read any in depth opinion, though I did see a headline accusing the film/book of evilly trying to normalise alienation of sex for women, which seems a scary idea, but that seems unlikely to be the case, more like, despite perhaps big marketing of the book there was a huge demand. I’ve also read that the push behind Twilight is to try to encourage some sort of genuine transhuman development, but then surely that stuff’s been around in Marvel comics and all sorts for years (the transhuman thing) and of course in manga. It’s definitely useful to remember films that have been controversial in the past and it does seem to be a lot of fuss about nothing. I think it is good that feminism is discussed more widely now though as there has been such social conditioning and imbalance and for both sexes gender and identity can be so created by society. On the subject of depicting and talking about sex I do feel it’s better to have ‘education’ and to be able to talk about it as opposed to repression and abuse but an enforced liberation can be just as uncomfortable, perhaps even talking about it taints the real intimacy between people? It seems a shame that sex and sexuality can’t be better for everyone, more personal and without objectifying or forcing ideas. Not that this film does any of that, quite fancy watching it now!

  7. katherinec

    Just to clarify I mean that in a less than ideal society perhaps sexual ‘liberation’ can be as uncomfortable as repression in that who knows where our relationship to sex develops from, people may feel obliged to objectify themselves or consent to things because they think that’s what they’re meant to like etc..

  8. katherinec

    And also totally agree that, whilst I think it’s good to discuss gender roles etc, I also don’t think that a character has to represent a whole section of society and there has to be complexity, though I guess a film like that isn’t going to provide great in-depth characters! God, there’s so many supposedly ‘deep’ films nowadays with characters that are just so 2 dimensional.

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