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MovieAddict's Movie Reviews (522)

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Shame (2011) 
Sex Addiction - Up Close and Personal!
3.5/4 stars

If you want to know whether Shame is pornographic, overly shocking, or sensationalist I'd say not at all. It's honest; interesting, heartbreaking, unapologetic and a beautifully portrayed internal struggle of someone dealing with an addiction, their relationships with friends, family and work colleagues, with hints of a troubled past.

I never thought much about sex addiction. In fact, until I saw this movie it was an addiction I scoffed at. But like all addictions it can clearly happen with sex, too. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class and Inglorious Basterds) is great and he's definitely becoming one of my favorite actors delivering a stand-out performance as the volatile Brandon, a handsome and successful thirty-something sex addict but beneath that facade is intense loneliness and torment. He lives a devastating life-style where he tries to find the best sex to fill the void in his life be it from internet and all its perversions, prostitutes, and one-night stands with random and multiple partners, but none of that is enough. His sex life is then interrupted by his sister, portrayed by Carey Mulligan (An Education), when she shows up unexpectedly and wants to stay indefinitely. It is hard to get a read on Sissy who, by her own admission, is not a bad person, just someone who comes from a bad place and one can only speculate to what her and Brandon's story is. (I was hoping for more insight and background between the two.)

Although the movie is filled with explicit sex scenes, "Shame" makes it very clear that this is not a sexy movie. This is a serious tale of a man who struggles through his sex addiction, hoping he can fill the emptiness inside him, by having sexual intercourse with a variety of women, without any romantic connections. It did raise the question as to what might have 'caused' this condition of Brandon's and has a bit of an ambiguous ending but a story like this probably doesn't really need a conclusion although I would have loved one for closure’s sake.

Filled with full frontal male and female nudity, and strong, explicit sex scenes, "Shame" is for adults only. (I got me a hankering to watch Fish Tank and Hunger now.)


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