Sex in Movies

by George Watches Things

I am not a purist. I’d like to start by saying that. I look for purpose in other aspects of film, too, but making this post will drive up the view count, no doubt.

You can separate film into two categories, if you so wish: pornographic content and non-pornographic content. As far as the law is concerned, is it up to the individual to draw the line. As far as movie studios are concerned, as long as you don’t see any organs, you’re good. But as far as I am concerned, sex in movies must have a purpose, and that purpose cannot be a cheap joke/thrill for your audience.

Take three recent examples: Never Let Me Go, The Kids Are All Right, and Cedar Rapids. These are all films that I either liked or loved.

Never Let Me Go offers up one and a half sex scenes. One is wild, but dispassionate. You can hardly call the other a sex scene. It’s beautiful, slow, and Tommy and Karen clearly care for each other. They are juxtaposed usefully and efficiently. It’s subtle and they only take up about 15 seconds of the entire movie.

Cedar Rapids opens with some wall-shaking courtesy of Ed Helms and Sigourney Weaver. Yeah. It’s shocking, and that’s how the film decides to inform you of their relationship. I’m fine with that.

But The Kids Are All Right, a superior movie to Cedar Rapids, contains pornography. Sure, it paints a vivid picture of a family, and serves up a great message about family. However, those scenes with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo (not the ones with Moore and Annette Benning… those are used well) are unnecessarily long and mined for laughs. “Pull my hair.” Hahaha. Funny. Right?

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