Diary of a Nymphomaniac

As you have probably noticed i haven’t done a full movie review since..well, since i started this blog. But last night i saw a movie that i felt demanded a longer review. When i first saw it “Diary of a Nymphomaniac” on netflix streaming, i figured it would be fun, sexy film. And in the beginning it seemed like that was all it was going to be. But somewhere near the end of the 1st act, it started to become a interesting character study that also touched upon a few deeper issues/themes. By the end i fell in love with the movie. I was going to write a short review of this for Dans “best is yet to come” review series, but i after thinking about it i felt this movie deserved something longer

Now, as someone who feels there is a double standard on women in what they can do in the bedroom compared to men(i did a essay in college on this subject, and i also did a speech on it in my public speaking class), any movie that dares to tackle that issue generally gets my interest. A few movies have flirted with this theme, with the most recent and well known example being Easy A, which i’ve seen. I don’t mean this as a slight against Easy A as i found that Easy A enjoyable, but while Easy A only flirted with that subject Diary of a Nymphomaniac tackled that subject head on. I personally found it admirable to see a film with the courage to do that.

Then movie also shows the danger of trying to give up who you are in order to fit society expectations. Valerie(the main character) feels ashamed of her sexual appetite, and tries to suppress it and tries to have children in order to fit society’s expectations of what women are supposed to be. While i don’t want to spoil anything, this attempt doesn’t work out the way she plans it. I think this film is one of the strongest arguments for individuality i’ve seen in a while.

The movie also deals with the theme of males need to own women(There is one female character with a similar urge to own/control others, but the movie is mainly focused on males in this regard). This is where the movie ventures into darker territory, where the attempts by males to control Valerie include such drastic and reprehensible actions as rape. While thankfully those scenes are not anywhere near as long or graphic as the infamous scene from irreversible, but in a way they are even more impact full as the director uses closeups during such scenes to make the audience see Valeries pain in uncomfortable detail. Despite those themes, the movie doesn’t portray all its male characters as the enemy, and as i said before there is 1 female character who isn’t portrayed in a totally favorable light.

One thing i have noticed in most films is that anytime a woman is shown as a sexual character, there sexuality gets tied to some issue or trauma in there past…in essence it is usually presented as a problem. This movie totally goes against that, which i happen to love. The voiceover in the movie also ends up adding to the movie, rather than coming of as a distraction like in most movies. The movie also has a specific scene that is told through basically all visuals, which is one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

The acting is great across the board in this movie. The lead actress Belen is amazing in the role, and manages to convey a lot of info through body language and mannerisms. Leonardo is also notable in the role of Ben, and pulls off the change in his character with ease.

The only complaint i have with the movie is that the end scene felt..to tame imo. Now,just to be clear i am not someone who needs graphic sexuality in a movie in order for me to like it(One of my favorite movies Ip man has no sex in it), but for me i felt like the final scene felt underwhelming. There was a intriguing minor plot point in the movie, and its conclusion in the final scene felt disappointing to me. But even with that in mind, i still love this movie

Now, as one would expect from the title the movie has plenty of graphic sexuality, which i realize that most of my followers aren’t a fan of. All i can say is that if it was just a collection of sex scenes i wouldn’t be devoting time and energy to writing a review like this. This movie really struck a chord with me, which is why i felt like making this review even though i don’t think this fits the tastes of a lot of my followers. I generally try to avoid making two review posts in a row, but i wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind.

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30 Responses to Diary of a Nymphomaniac

  1. le0pard13 says:

    Wonderful review, Julian. And you’ve intrigued me about this title. I’ll put this film into my Netflix queue. Thanks.

  2. DEZMOND says:

    Ah, when I read the title of the post I thought this would be some interesting personal confession of yours, Dirty πŸ˜›

  3. I think you may have missed something. When you talk about the female character that is also possessive, I would note that this “possession” is of a blatantly exploitative nature. This conflates with the observations the film makes regarding male possessiveness and adds that element to the relationship between Val and Ben.

    • Well i think there was a overall theme of possession, its just the movie mainly focused on the male side of it. But yes, she did exhibit a similar pattern to the male possessors.

  4. rtm says:

    I think you know already this isn’t my cup of tea. Btw, sorry to be nitpicky but I think you missed a word there “…but while Easy A only flirted with that subject this Diary of a Nymphomaniac [tackle?] that topic head on”

  5. Ronan says:

    I don’t have a Netflix queue but if I did this wouldn’t be top of it. Unfortunately, a film like this is a bit like a sweet natured boy who just can’t help throwing rocks at people. You want to see good in him but you’re put off by the fact that he is just more than a bit naughty.

    • I don’t think i agree with that comparison, but then again i do realize your not a fan of graphic sexuality. Just for the record, i don’t love or hate a film due to its amount of sex. I’ve seen a few movies with lots of sex in it that i didn’t like, and there are a few very sexual movies i do like.

      For me, sex/nudity is just another tool for a filmmaker. I wouldn’t dislike a movie due to it, but its not going to make me lvoe a movie either

  6. Ronan says:

    I don’t think I would dislike a film to due it either but it would put me off watching it in the first place (if that makes any sense). I understand where you’re coming from but the plain truth is that sex scenes make me uncomfortable and I’d rather not watch em.

    • I think we will have to agree to disagree about sex scenes

      Coincidentally i saw a film recently that would fit in the “movies with lots of sex in it that i didn’t like” category

      • Ronan says:

        What was that?

        • Summer 04(yes, that is the actual title http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0806679/a)

          I found pretty much all of the characters annoying and frustrating to watch, and then at the end there was a attempt to redeem one of the main characters, which just didn’t make sense with the rest of the movie. There is also a movie i watched a while ago called 9 songs which i also didn’t like, mainly because i felt like the movie didn’t give enough depth to the main relationship and just filled it with sex scenes(and they happened to feature real sex too, which i found unnecessary). Sometimes my cinematic curiosity doesn’t always lead me to good results. Thankfully Diary is one case where that curiosity lead me to something i found amazing

  7. Ronan says:

    I’ve actually seen 9 Songs, though I regret it. It was during my student days and I would watch pretty much anything short of porn if I thought it was of artistic merit. Though I think in truth I just wanted to see some sex. Oh how times have changed, I get uncofortable with relativlely mild sex scenes now.

  8. Tyler says:

    Isn’t this the new Lars Von Trier movie he’s working on? No, jokes. It sounds very interesting, will definitely look into it.

    • Tyler says:

      It actually sounds quite a bit like Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher. THAT was a fantastic, flooring film.

      • I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it when you get around to seeing. You were one of the few followers that i figured i had a good chance of convincing to see it.

        And i think you already know i share your admiration of The Piano Teacher

  9. Movie Remnants says:

    I had time off today and since you had reviewed it so highly I watched it. I absolutely agree that most films have a double standard for what men and women can do in the bedroom, but thought it was frustrating to see her have to go through all she put up with just to feel something. It at first went head on with the idea that women have to be sluts if they enjoy sex, but then she just fell right into that stereotype when she started working with Cindy. I did enjoy it though, and the moral…or what I thought was the moral.

  10. Sir Phobos says:

    I’ve been looking for movies concerned with sex that don’t turn the plot into some awful Hollywood debacle. This sounds like it would fit the bill nicely. I recently loaded up my Blockbuster queue with a bunch of “sexy” French films, so we’ll see how THAT turns out.

    • I sincerely hope it you enjoy it, and i will be happy to read your thoughts on it(and the other “sexy” french films you’ll see) good or bad. Also, since you like i seem to like movies that explore sexuality, i would recommend Secret Things and The Piano Teacher

      And welcome to DWC

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  13. Tom Ballin says:

    Great review, outstanding movie!

  14. I believe Tarkovsky would throw up. That’s another stunt by Lars von Trite. He has descended so far into puerility that he now has to use the art of others in order to gain an elevation. He did it to Tarkovsky and Friedrich Handel with AntiChrist, he did it to Wagner with Melancholia, and he did it to Bertolt Brech with Dogville.

    He is a charlatan.

    More about the movie you can also find it here
    http://movieinfodb.com/en/movie/110414/Nymphomaniac-2013

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