I have a fondness for films that are able to explore sexuality in a interesting way. Now, i must emphasis when i say “explore sexuality” i don’t mean just having a bunch of sex scenes for no real reason. What i mean are good films that just happen to have sexuality as part of its subject matter,whether as the main theme or as part of a larger focus.
Eyes Wide Shut:I think everyone here knows of my love for this film. Its masterful look at hidden desires,and in particular how it melds that with thriller elements makes this one of, if not my favorite movie in general.
Mister Foe:This is one of the stranger movies i’ve seen, in that it somehow manages to jump back and forth between twisted and heartfelt.It also has one of the more interesting takes on the whole lonely stalker archetype, in that the movie doesn’t try to make light or sweep that aspect of the character under the rug(Unlike say Edward in Twilight) but you still sort of root for him. That dynamic is also helped by Bells strong performance,who manages to bring to life both of those aspect. It also helps that when the female love interest finds out he stalked her, she actually calls him out on it,which leads to one of the few(if any) scenes where the male is nude but the female isn’t(from what i cna tell, usually its the reverse in movies).
Diary of a Nymphomaniac:I did a full length review a while back, but in brief if you can get past a unintentionally silly first act it becomes a far more interesting exploration of a woman too sexual by society standards. And to do that without the slut shaming that is applied to most female characters of that time is admirable
Shame:Unlike most films dealing with sexuality, this makes no attempt to be “erotic”. From the way the sex scenes are shot, it is obvious it is not supposed to be pleasant viewing, but instead supposed to make you feel pity for the main character. The last sex scene in the film on paper sounds like a fantasy come true for most guys, but with the way its filmed here just feels painful to watch. Not only one of the best films about sexuality, but addiction in general.
Basic Instinct:One of the classic erotic thrillers, this one crafts a fascinating tangled web of sexual intrigue. Layering twist upon twist, the question of who to trust becomes more and more complicated.
Mysterious Skin:I don’t want to say exactly how this relates to sexuality as i think that would be a spoiler(In the film you don’t find this out until the end), but suffice to say it is a nuanced and respectful take on a subject that could have easily ended up feeling exploitative.
Belle De Jour:While the story of a bored housewife is nothing new,the way its done here is fantastic. Its examination of fantasy’s and desires brings to mind Eyes Wide Shut,although this one is much more surreal. I have to admit it got a bit too surreal for my tastes at the end, but everything before was just so good i had to include it.
The Piano Teacher:I already mentioned this aspect of the film in my filmmaking inspirations, but what i love about this one is that no matter how explicit the movie gets, it manages to retain a repressed tone.
Black Swan:Here Aronofsky combines his usual interest in the obsessed with a element of sexual repression, to impressive results. While this may be one of his more pretty looking films(Especially when compared to his film the Wrestler) it still has a underlying darkness to it.
Notes on a Scandel:A tale of people desperately trying to control others, this one manages to go beyond what could have been a simple premise and turns it into a complex tale of interesting,flawed characters.
Repulsion:I went back and forth on whether to include this, as the main character goes beyond repressed straight into frigid territory. But even with that, i think the absence of overt sexuality becomes a theme in this well crafted psychological thriller.
Stoker:I know this one is rather recent, but i have no doubt this one will stay in my memory for a while. A stylistic, yet creepy take take on the coming of age genre, this one features one of the more twisted sexual awakenings i’ve seen on film.
Kaboom:The fusion of conspiracy and sexual awakening doesn’t totally come together in this, but i still have a certain fondness for it.
P.S I’ve already told some people about this, but for those who don’t know recently my actress crush Deborah Ann Woll retweeted me on twitter 🙂 Suffice to say that was pretty much the highlight of my day(Link to a screenshot for evidence)
For those interested in films of this genre/type, what do you think of this list?And if you have any suggestions not on this list i would love to hear it