New York Film Festival 2011 Entry #4 - Review Of Steve McQueen's "Shame"

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 7, 2011 1:43 AM
51 Comments
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This is closer to a stream of consciousness, so let it rip... I thought about the film long after I saw it, chewed, swallowed, and then vomited this... *spoiler alert*

The dominant conversation about the film since its debut at the Venice Film Festival 2 months ago has been its supposed explicit depictions of one of the most natural of human acts – sex. The film is expected to receive what is essentially the Scarlet Letter of all MPAA ratings – the dreaded “NC-17.” But after watching Shame earlier today, fully expecting to be thrown into some kind of a tizzy over the shock and awe perversity on display, I walked out wondering what the hell the hullabaloo was all about.

And then it hit me; of course… we see penis; that pleasure/pain external male organ sometimes used in copulation, to transfer semen to the female; and other times use to expel urine from the body.

You know it; also known by its, shall I say, *dirtier* slang alternative - dick.

Because, other than the maybe 2 or 3 shots early in the film – mind you, not lingering shots; more like milliseconds, in passing – in which star Michael Fassbender’s member is shown, there’s absolutely no other sex act depicted in Shame that we haven’t seen in previous films with R-ratings.

The racket over the scenes of “explicit sex” is entirely unwarranted. The considerations of an NC-17 rating are also unnecessary. They instead demonstrate a bias, a double standard.

For decades women’s parts have been on display on screen from a variety of angles, perspectives, and positions. And thus I understand that we’ve gotten very used to that, so it’s not taboo anymore; unlike when a film includes full frontal male nudity.

I think we all know what a dick looks like; I have one. I’ve had one since birth. I’m sure all of us (male and female) have probably seen one live. It’s not *dirty*; It’s not shameful, to borrow from the film’s title. It’s not something that needs to be protected. I watch a film with full frontal male nudity and I think, hey, I recognize that thing. I’ve got one of my own; it’s another dick. It’s a different color, maybe a different size, but I see it, and I know what it is. I’m not shocked by it, and neither should anyone else.

Leave dick alone! As Eddie Murphy’s character in The Distinguished Gentleman said, “Dick is good! Dick is good!

We recently featured a short film on this site titled Slow by Darius Clarke Monroe which included a scene with full male frontal nudity; my goodness, you should have seen some of the emails I received after that.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve watched a wide variety of films, from all over the world, and, frankly, the scenes depicted in Shame are tame. It’ll take a lot more than what's in this film to shock me! Although I realize my experience isn’t necessarily everyone else’s, so do with that, what you will.

I flinched more at the depictions of the intermingling of sex and violence in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist; that was a far more disturbing film than this, which would have likely received an NC-17 if it was submitted to the MPAA, which is wasn’t.

I appreciated Shame. I will say that I think it’s been over-praised a bit (although maybe it’s a case of my expectations being extremely high, given all the praise it received leading up to my screening earlier today); still, while I thought it was most certainly quite an immersive experience, I wouldn’t crown it the year’s best just yet; although it’ll probably make my 2011 top ten.

I’m not a psychoanalyst, nor have I played one on television, nor can I say I’ve ever been an addict; but I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say that addiction isn’t entirely about the thing that the addict is addicted to; but also, and maybe more importantly, the high that the addict achieves from the addiction – a high that hides or suppresses (no matter how temporarily) some deeper crisis the person, for whatever reason, refuses, or just isn’t psychologically competent enough to face; or it fills an absence of something else.

There are food addictions; drug addictions; and, of course, sex addictions (and others), which is what’s at the center of Shame’s narrative. Our protagonist and resident addict is played wonderfully by Michael Fassbender in a restrained and rather brave performance.

The 100-minute film laconically tells the tale of Brandon, in a re-teaming of the director/actor duo, a 30-something man, living in New York City, who has trouble controlling and managing his sexual compulsions. He has this almost minute-to-minute preoccupation with sex - from prostitutes, to one-night stands, to porn, to masturbation, to thinking about prostitutes, one-night stands, porn and masturbation, Brandon at first seems to be in some sort of lust-filled exile.

However, it’s not quite what may seem like the carefree, jovial salacious thrill that all I’ve said thus far might suggest; far from it! There’s a definite melancholic undercurrent that pervades the script, from the beginning. You understand that there’s probably something else happening within Brandon, something that will be revealed eventually… at least you hope so.

His actions are repetitious, and mostly self-destructive. You aren't given much of a hint as to where it'll all lead, but in trusting the abilities of the filmmaker, you hope that there would be some moment of clarity; or maybe a shift in momentum to keep you engaged.

If it’s not already clear to you by now, Fassbender is quite exposed here; but not just physically. I called the film an immersive experience, and it’s partly because of Fassbender’s quiet intensity, and the way he just seems to have completely given himself over to both the role and the director. He put himself in a very vulnerable position I think, suggesting a trust between him and Steve McQueen – one that both star and director have previously discussed. It’s almost as if he’s not acting here; the performance is quite natural.

So, if, as I said, playing armchair shrink, addictions provide a high for the addict, partly as an escape from some unresolved personal matter, what then is buried deep inside Fassbender’s Brandon that he’s running away from, or not honestly confronting here?

Therein lies the mystery.

I couldn’t help but wonder if director Steve McQueen (who was present for a Q&A that followed the screening, by the way) had read my review of his script, posted back in May. I say that for two reasons; first, while I certainly won’t tell you what Brandon’s real affliction is, you should know that neither does the film; although you could reach your own conclusions based on the evidence.

I happen to know what his trouble is because I read the script that the film is based on, and reviewed it here on S&A back in May. And if you read that review of the script, you’d know that one of my issues with it was the proverbial “big reveal” at the end – a scene in which all the individual threads come together quite tidily, and Shame makes sense. The “aha” moment!

In my review, I said that I found the revelation anticlimactic; that it wasn’t at all satisfying for me, and I had a kind of “that’s it?” reaction afterward. Not to trivialize the gravity of what is revealed at the end of the script, but I wanted something more, and less, dare I say, cliché, given the amount of time already spent with Brandon and his neuroses; the monotony and repetitiveness of it all.

I say I wonder if McQueen read my review of his script because, he left that scene out of the final film that I saw earlier today – a scene I was fully expecting, for obvious reasons. And I applaud that move, even though it’ll likely leave some audiences baffled after seeing the film, given how ambiguous the ending is now. You’re left to wonder not only what happens next for Brandon (whether he’s reached some catharsis), but also what it was exactly that put him inside this lust-filled prison in the first place, where he seems to be serving an extended sentence.

But I preferred that ambiguity to the finality I read in the script, which I already said left me wanting, and which I think would have had a similar effect on other audiences. So, good call there Mr McQueen. You just may have saved your movie. You can thank me later if you’re reading this :)

The second reason why I say I wonder if McQueen read my review of his script is because, the character played by the lovely Nicole Beharie was a single mother in the script, and there are even references to her son; I believe, in the script, there’s a sequence or two in which Brandon actually interacts with Marianne’s (Nicole Beharie’s) son. And, again, if you recall my review of the script, I also questioned what McQueen’s motivation was for having her be a single mother, given that she is obviously African American (though the character wasn’t written as/for an American American); I wondered if he was possibly making some statement about single mothers in African American households (I think we’re all familiar with the stats and quotes, so I won’t bother here); and also the fact that the man she falls for is Caucasian, certainly wasn’t lost on me.

Almost everything else about the script was so precise and specific that I could only suspect that these choices weren’t simply accidental. And I’d say that if I had similar suspicions about them, others likely would as well.

McQueen may have also realized that fact, or at least considered it (or, as I’d like to think, he read my review of his script :)) because the entire bit about her being a single mother has been eliminated from the story. She mentions that she’s divorced during their first date. But I don’t recall any conversations about children; and, obviously, nor do we actually see a son, nor are there any scenes in which Brandon interacts with him.

So, once again, good call there Mr McQueen if you’re reading this! As I said in my script review, the entire single mother subplot seemed entirely unnecessary to me. There was already enough motivation for Brandon’s fears and inability to connect with Mariane. Adding this single mother plotline might have only raised further questions – questions that may have ultimately been superfluous, given that he wasn't trying to make any statements with those choices (not intentionally anyway).

I should note that, actually, Nicole Beharie’s character is featured a lot less in the film than she is in the script, which was already sparse in terms of scenes she had an active role in. However, although her presence is limited, it’s of significant influence on Brandon, and thus the progression of the story.

It is after Brandon realizes he is unable to make a genuine human connection with this woman, despite making a concerted effort to do so, that he begins to unravel. He likes her, unlike the other women whose bodies he simply uses to achieve his high, often not even looking at their faces, if you know what I mean. She likes him too, and wants to connect with him as well, both physically and emotionally. Their first date doesn’t happen until after about an hour into this 100 minute film. And after that wonderfully acted and directed date sequence (Nicole is a breath of fresh air here - Brandon's connection to the *real* world), I realized that she was the first woman in the entire film at that juncture he’d actually had a full conversation with - from their time in the restaurant, to the walk to the subway, where they said their goodbyes.

She’s the first (and really the only) woman he doesn’t have a one-night stand with. They actually don’t even have sex. There’s an attempt to make love, and we watch them kiss, and caress, and really devour each other with a kind of patience and passion we don’t see at all with any of Brandon’s previous escapades.

And then it happens. Well, actually, it doesn’t happen. He tries to give himself over to the moment, but he simply can’t, if you catch my drift. It’s a different feeling; one that he hasn’t quite felt before, and thus he’s in a position he’s never really had to grapple with until then (within the film anyway). In this single quiet scene, he’s exposed, and is forced to come to terms with the truth of why he is who he is; at least, it begins the process of his unraveling.

The relentlessness of his sister, played by Carey Mulligan, who essentially forces herself into his life, also assists in that disentangling.

Mulligan is the bratty sister who shares a common unrevealed, though hinted at past with Brandon, and is, shall I say, fucked up in her own way. Though the film is not about her; all the characters are there really to serve the deconstruction of Brandon. We learn more and more about him as he interacts with his tiny, close-knit circle, which also includes his rambunctious married boss, who, by the way, sleeps with Brandon’s sister, much to Brandon’s chagrin.

If I could point to one potential problem with Shame, depending on your interpretation of it, is that, while Brandon is depicted as fiercely heterosexual, there is one scene in which he engages in a sexual act with another man, in a gay club he seemingly impulsively enters, during the latter stage of his unraveling.

I say it could be a problem depending on your interpretation because of how the scene is presented, and what Brandon’s psychological state is at the time that it happens.

Despite all the research McQueen said he did for the film, he seems to have given in to the easiest, most clichéd choice in how he opted to shoot that entire sequence. Here, gay sex is presented as something illicit, dirty even, taking place in what looks almost like a dungeon buried inside the club, as men sequester themselves to individual curtained-off "cells," where they do “unspeakable” things to one another.

Add to that a consideration for the mental space that Brandon is in when he gives himself over in this sequence – he’s coming undone – and you’d have to wonder what McQueen might be trying to say here; if anything intentional.

And as the only scene in which sex between men is depicted in the film, I can see some in the film’s audience taking issue with that depiction.

Or not; as I said, it depends on how you interpret it. The question wasn't addressed during the Q&A that followed, so I don't have any answers to enlighten.

However, McQueen does a really good job of melding image and sound to create an immersive whole. You feel like you really are part of that universe, so much that, when the film was over, I had to kind of shake myself out of it.

I already noted Fassbender’s ability to really disappear into the role as a contributing factor; you forget that he’s acting here.

It made me think of the last film I saw at the NYFF (before Shame) - David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, in which Michael Fassbender plays psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Walking away from the theater after my screening of Shame today, I immediately sought a connection between the 2 films, and the characters Fassbender plays in each.

I think Jung would relish the opportunity to observe, analyze and treat Brandon’s neuroses; and there’s probably something to be said for the fact that in A Dangerous Method, Jung himself (somewhat stiffly embodied by Fassbender) struggles with the idea of becoming his true self, and unleashing the repressed part that lies within.

To that end, I'd say that Fassbender plays restrained and contained very well. Though, as you’ll see in Shame, a ferocity sits just underneath the surface. I might even consider switching the titles and instead call Shame, A Dangerous Method.

Shame is quite somber; there’s a deep sadness, a melancholy that runs throughout the entire film, with a few moments of levity scattered about.

But I was engaged from start to end.

As with the last McQueen film, with regards to cinematography, I fully expected this to paint an interesting, if unconventional, or even experimental picture. But surprisingly, although understandably, McQueen left his contemporary visual Artiste specs at home this time around, opting to instead tell what is really a rather straightforwardly-produced and shot, although ambiguously-concluded narrative.

While there are some similarities to his debut feature, Hunger, Shame stands entirely on its own, as a separate work, and a notable sophomore outing for Mr McQueen.

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51 Comments

  • CareyCarey | October 9, 2011 2:47 AMReply

    “Well, Carey, I hope you weren’t looking for the end all and be all on this film’s analysis (or that particular part) from just little ole me, lol. I mean, that’s why individuals see films: because we all come away with our own perspectives on those films, and no two or three (or one) is the same as another” ~ MulletLove

    Well, that’s the exact point, everybody is somebody. Besides, you’re one of the few readers who has seen this film ( to date) so you ARE the star today :-). That reminds me, those who visit this site do so for various reasons. Some have said they get the most enjoyment from strictly reading the comments. Other come to stay abreast of what’s coming down the pike. It’s sort of like why people watch the news. They may not like what they see nor agree with the content or newscaster or a particular network, nevertheless, they watch and listen for their own personal reasons.

    So, anyway, thanks for the feedback. I doubt I’ll ever watch this movie b/c like JMac said, nothing I’ve read so far would compel me to do so. However, it’s been enjoyable listening to you and the others give their opinions. I’m jealous of those who can hop on a train or bus, or jump in their car to attend film festivals and live entertainment of any ( black faces) sort. You know, I love NY but I wouldn’t want to live there. So I’ll just have to cry me a river and listen to you guys.

    Thanks

  • MulletLove | October 9, 2011 1:43 AMReply

    “So that’s what I was getting at, ya feel me?”

    I’m glad you asked b/c not really :-)


    Well, Carey, I hope you weren't looking for the end all and be all on this film's analysis (or that particular part) from just little ole me, lol. I mean, that's why individuals see films: because we all come away with our own perspectives on those films, and no two or three (or one) is the same as another. And the same would probably be true for the take on Beharie's role in the film. I saw it as some sort of (though albeit very small) pass from degredation from Brandon to Marianne, but then, as McQueen is careful to leave things open for interpretation, someone else may come up with a far more negative reaction or perspective on why he can't quite make it with her like the others. Some may have a completely different take on it altogether, broaching no "positive" or 'negative" territory at all. Interpretation is a wonderful thing.

    I think that with Marianne, Brandon is at least attempting (however briefly) to put things on a level that he perceives as "normal" courtship ritual, as well as to vocally solidfy to the audience his stance on relationships that we are already pretty well aware of through his behavior. Marianne, of course, is not privvy to his addiction as we are, so she is still game enough to see him as someone she could enjoy getting to know better. Again, it could have gone further, but then, the reasons behind it not doing so are in the hands and minds of the filmmakers. I still think we got a damn fine piece of art here all the same.

    As far as learning anything new about sex addiction, I can't say that I did. What I mean by that is, addiction is addiction--too much of anything good and your body, spirit, and life go out of control more often than not, no matter the stimulus causing it. This is what happens to Brandon. I suppose McQueen and Co, wanted to broach the addiction angle from a wholly new way, and sex was the choice of the day. But he could have just as easily had Fassy gain 100 pounds (well, in his skinny case, put on a fat suit) this time (as opposed to the turn in Hunger) to do one on food addiction or something. Now, that would be interesting to see!

  • MulletLove | October 8, 2011 12:28 PMReply

    I got in a few hours ago from my adventures at Lincoln Center with Fassbender and McQueen, and I have to say this film was so good that it broke my heart. Michael's performance was a stunner, and so much more than I was even anticipating. True dat, too, on how much potential was lost with Nicole Beharie's role--but she is the one indeed, all out of all them heffas Brandon rolls around with on rumpled sheets (or wherever he can get it), who seems to matter the most--though, even in the end, that's still not all that much. Too bad the connection is abruptly cut. In this instance, the black woman-as-savior archetype could have been a welcome and progressive inclusion, if done in the right way, as without somebody to help him out a little, Brandon spirals further and further out of control.

    I look forward to seeing it again, if it makes it to my local arthouse. An amazing piece of work, dick shots or no dick shots (but hey, Fassy ain't lookin' too bad in that department, either. Git it, boy! LOL!).

  • tambay | October 8, 2011 12:10 PMReply

    @Carey - Now you're starting to do the jig as well. You can't cherry pick my friend. Your response just before this last one oozes with sycophancy. But I get it; you're here to support your home-girl.

    Just don't throw out stuff like "And really, I agreed to what I listed, not everything she says (there you go again)," suggesting that I'm making false assertions as to your allegiance to BondGirl. You can't cherry pick parts of a lengthy, already unwieldy debate, and then use them to bolster your homegirl's cred. Why didn't you also list the things she said that you had problems with? So, in effect, your own cred is also suspect here.

    Don't mistake an exasperation from one's patience being tested, with what you call "extreme jealousy of BondGirl." A laugher! It's become quite evident to me that we're all operating on completely different levels, and I'm cool with that.

    Although there IS disputing the "facts" you listed in your previous comment, but I just don't have the patience. This tree continues to grow branches, and we need to bring it back to its roots, which is what I'm going to do right now.

    So, for you and @BondGirl... follow the bouncing ball...

    I posted my review; you had issues with it; I addressed them, and last I checked, we agreed to disagree and moved on; BondGirl stepped in with superfluous theories on penis versus vagina in movies, which, as I noted, had nothing to do with my argument about double-standards, which she never even addressed; BondGirl disagreed with both my critique of Nicole Beharie's performance & the pivotal role her character plays; I responded to both with evidence to support. First, with regards to her performance, we disagreed, which was fine enough. Then she challenged the fact that other critics had equal praise for Beharie's performance; she asserted that she hadn't read any reviews (aside from Variety) that mentioned Nicole, nor praised her. She was presented with reviews from other critics who praised Nicole's performance, but BondGirl dismissed the cred of the writers, suggesting that she's either a connoisseur of film criticism (something she's yet to support), or she believes that only reviews from "popular" magazines like Variety count; as someone who's actually studied this stuff, I simply can't agree; and I think she'll find it hard to make that argument in many circles. Although, according to her, she doesn't need reviews to strengthen her argument, even though she continues to use reviews to strengthen her argument. She's shifted her position on Beharie's performance, which, again, goes to cred - from first suggesting that it wasn't good, which is why no one was paying attention to her, then she hopped on the Academy Award express, even though no one had said her performance was Oscar-worthy, then she called her scenes "pitiful," "forgettable," then, finally, saying that Beharie's performance was "okay, not great."

    Second, with regards to the significance of the role Beharie's character plays in the narrative, BondGirl 1st said that she was of no real significance, but rather Mulligan was the real pivot; she later changed her position to say that Beharie's character was indeed of significance, and instead of just running with that, she started to dance, and it became a game of he said/she said, ambiguity, cherry-picking and then it started to get all muddled - for example "All" suddenly became "Some," "Everybody" became "most;" "none" became "the ones I read." So, if I'm "putting words" in anyone's mouth, I'd suggest being very clear as to what you mean from the start, so that these further clarifications aren't necessary.

    Though I should point out that the one review BondGirl champions - Variety - supports my argument on the importance of the character Beharie plays in the overall film; maybe you both missed this part: "So, too, does Nicole Beharie, wonderfully real and affecting as Brandon's co-worker Marianne, whose attempts to kindle a flame become the film's heartbreaking centerpiece." The last part of his sentence says it all. And, as already noted, there are other astute reviews with similar interpretations.

    And that, my friend, pretty much lays out the meat of this debate. So there's been no "finger-fucking" on my part as you put it; no "extreme jealousy;" no "bullying."

    Exasperation? Annoyance? Sure. But I already touched on that.

    Reasons why I prefer to stay out of these back-and-forths; they're prone to becoming untidy, as the point eventually gets lost in the shuffle.

    But I've got a plane to catch. So I'ma kill it right here. And if you or BondGirl opt to reply, I certainly hope you'll stick to the core debate; not introduce new ones. And be clear. And if I don't respond right away, it's because, where I'm going, I've got some heavier things to deal with right now.

    But I'll be back in a few days.

  • MulletLove | October 8, 2011 10:11 AMReply

    @ Mulletlove, YOU’RE BACK! With a big-ass smile on your face *lol*

    Oh Lawd, please, no more penis stories.Hey, tell us what you mean by Nicole is the one who matters the most?
    ==========================================
    A wee bit of spoilage for ya:

    Well, Carey, it's just that the man is a mess all over the place with his sexual obsessions/predilictions, and they are generally most impersonal in nature (as that kind of thing can be, unfortunately). Marianne is the only one of the women we see him with that he takes time to do something of a proper courtship with--and with whom he is able to reveal bits of his past and ideas on love and marriage (not very encouraging, which I suppose should have been a red flag for Miss M. from the get-go)--before the old demon comes back to make him try and turn her into one of his impersonal female objects in a hotel room during the middle of a work day. However, he ultimately can't do it, I suppose the implication being that she's too good for that (not that he wasn't into her that way, cuz he spent time in the office checking her out here and there before the date thing even came up in the film), but also that a leopard just can't change his spots overnight (or after trashing his massive porn collection). A way too short (and indeed, a richer connection could have been made there, even if it still would have had to have been broken in the end), but critical part of the film, as from this point, Brandon's behavior gets ever further and further out of control. Just going for broke, I guess. So that's what I was getting at, ya feel me?

  • Nia | October 8, 2011 9:44 AMReply

    You guys are killing me softly woth these essay long comments. I'm glad I did not get dragged into it this time. lol. People are TALKING about it so that's a good sign at least.
    @Tambay Thank you for responding to my question. I still can't say I see how it is discriminatory or homophobic, because I just can't imagine that's what the director would aim for. Again this is purely speculation. I imagined that as Brandon becomes more consumed with his demons he would lash out in ways like exhibitonism or maybe violence. Despite the fact that he sleeps with a man in this particular scene, it just appears that as he grows more disturbed, he practices even riskier behavior than usual. If the same had happened with a black woman in say the bathroom stall or basement of a club, I can't say I would call it rascist but a mark of his unraveling.
    Well, I cant wait to see the film to form my own opinion of it. Once again thank you for your response.

  • Elaine | October 8, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    I just read the whole fight about the film below. Wow...
    Anyways, I enjoyed the review and I'm now really looking forward to this film. I actually thought Beharie had a bigger part than what I just read, so I'm a little disappointed about that. However, I tried to watch American Violet in order to learn more about Beharie, and her acting was quite theatrical and just overall not good. So I hope she does better in this Movie....

  • CareyCarey | October 8, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    "So much for that embargo eh Carey?"


    Ah, well... I... uh... uummm.... see... it was like.... the home team was bringing 2 barrels of untruths, and blatantly putting words in BondGirls mouth, so I felt compelled to breakup the action. And really, I agreed to what I listed, not everything she says (there you go again). Nothing I said was untrue. That's sad on the part of some, but there's no disputing the facts of the 4 items I listed.

    I know that pisses some folks off b/c the truth hurts. Some love the smell of atta-boys, pats on the back, and soft lies.

    Seriously, you guys have consistently fingerfu*ked the sh*t out of this issue. It was not BondGirl as you professed. You've done a pretty nice jig and jag of your own. Seriously, it seems to me that you're showing signs of extreme jealousy of BondGirl. Listen, I'm not saying that simply to return insults (not from twiddle dee or twiddle dum), your words speak for themselves. They appear to be that of the jealous bully variety.

    Wow, we started off on a nice easy day but something happened? Somebody threw the first rock, and pitched the first “mud slide“, and then it was on. huuuummmm?

    But anyway, this time I am really docking my ship. I’m done with anything related to Shame. I’ve heard everything I need to know about that movie... I’ve had my fill and I’ve thrown enough rotten tomatoes.

  • Vanessa | October 8, 2011 5:59 AMReply

    @BondGirl
    "You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. Now what? So your opnion of a film you haven’t seen is higher than mine bc what? You work for S& A? You sound ridiculous. Yeah, I attended the Press & Industry screening of Shame (the one you couldn’t get in to), spoke to the director, but I’m not really in the industry. Fine. Have it your way. I don’t need you to qualify me."

    You're right, I don't know you and you don't know me. However, you seem to know exactly what film festivals I can get into or not. I don't even live in New York or could have attended regardless. Alas, I guess you had to get your laughable and immature attempts to "one-up" me at all costs.

    Not that I need to explain anything to you. It's not about my opinion being better, but you're going on and on and on about shit that is incorrect, redundant and again, contradictory.

  • Cynthia | October 8, 2011 5:51 AMReply

    "If this post cannot progress to the original debate, which was about why this film is or isn't uplifting for blacks..."

    This is what this back-and-forth thread is suppose to be about? Really? If this film is "uplifting" for blacks? ROTFL

    "The contentious attitude towards commenters is biased and unprofessional. I’ve witnessed the hate with others, and it’s Communistic." ROTFL...again

    How about everyone AGREE to DISAGREE! The end.

  • Vanessa | October 8, 2011 5:50 AMReply

    @BondGirl

    “You people make my head hurt. I have absolutely no desire to argue with anyone about why you love Nicole so much and dedicate Facebook fan pages to her.”
    Oh please. I didn’t start this; you did, but now you don’t want to hear it. Okay.

    “You, Tambay and the staff have a nasty habit of not taking criticism. Don't do a blog if you don't like what folks have to say...”
    No, it’s really not that. But when you come time and time again verbally attacking the staff and with your insolent demeanor, ummm.. yes we’re not going to like it. That’s common sense. DUH. Practice the art of diplomacy. You can state your point and criticize; don’t just try to one-up everyone and tell them to GTFOH. Is not what you say but how you say it, right? We’re not 11 years old. Argue like a grown up, that’s all.

    “Be fucking grateful anyone wants to say something on this shit, instead of getting mad that I don't kiss your ring like the others. Who pissed in your cereal this morning? Why is it so crucial for S&A to be liked?”
    Nobody “pissed” on my cereal, you’re the one that sounds awfully angry. We are glad for our commenters, be it one or 100. If you don’t ever want to comment, we won’t sit and cry about it. Contrary to what you may believe, S&A and the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around you. We don’t need your individual appreciation and approval. ☺

    “Nicole's character is an adulterer ready to sleep with a sex pervert, and you think it'll be great even though you haven't seen it...so who's the psychic here? Maybe you should take the disreputable rotten advice Tambay gave to Carey and STFU until you've seen the film.”

    *Sigh* She’s divorced, and she doesn’t know that he’s a sex addict. Did you pay attention and watch the film or fall asleep during the screening? Now, you’re just really on a one-woman campaign against Nicole and this character for some obscure reason. Do some soul searching or something. I also don’t need to be psychic to know Nicole is divorcee trying to make a connection with a co-worker whom she has no idea is a sex addict; it’s part of the plot outline and it’s in plenty reviews of the film. Smh

    “Maybe you should take the disreputable rotten advice Tambay gave to Carey and STFU until you've seen the film.”
    Which one is it? Disreputable and rotten? But I should still take it because it’s the truth? You confuse me; I actually chuckled at this. You can stay mad while the truth stares in your face. Anyways, you’ve been saying the same things about this film way before having seen it; which tells me you have an some kind of agenda of your own, and just maybe should have taken his “rotten” advice yourself a long time ago.

    “If this post cannot progress to the original debate, which was about why this film is or isn't uplifting for blacks, then leave me out. Seriously. This is really the only thing I've been wanting to say for weeks, and it's appropo now.”
    What a ludicrous debate. How many times have we said this film is not about race? It’s totally irrelevant. So, since we don’t want to debate about that because there’s nothing to debate about, we’ll gladly leave you out and hopefully end this stupid ass debate. That would be a relief.

  • canmark | October 8, 2011 5:25 AMReply

    Interesting review. I'm a bit curious about the original script that you mention, but in the end I think I would rather not know all that it revealed--and am glad that the finished film doesn't reveal anything at the end. Thank you, Mr. McQueen for allowing your audience to interpret your film, to use our own minds to put the pieces together.

    I saw both A Dangerous Mind and Shame at the Toronto Film Festival and, even though both starred Michael Fassbender, I really didn't think of them together. However, I did think of the protagonist in Drive in light of the protagonist in Shame--both outsiders, loners, seemingly unable to have a normal emotional relationship. I'm wondering what you think of that comparison.

    I had no issue with the gay backroom scene near the end of the film. I don't think it necessarily implies gay sex is all dirty or illicit (any more than Bandon's sex with the woman from the bar in an alleyway reflected on hetero sex), nor that it implies that Brandon may be a repressed homosexual (that idea *never* entered my mind, although I wondered if you were suggesting this).

    I thought Brandon was lonely. Although he was functional at work, he seemed to have no friends. And while his sister wore her dysfunction on the outside, he kept his hidden on the inside. To me, his shame was that he felt he was not normal, could not form a normal emotional relationship, despite his effort with Nicole Beharie (who was wonderful; the scene in the restaurant and walking to the subway were excellent). The sex addiction was embarrassing, but only covered up the actual shame.

  • CareyCarey | October 8, 2011 5:23 AMReply

    “([@Carey] Jealousy and bullying because of it is an absolute erroneous and ABSURD presumption)” ~ Vanessa

    Surely that’s your prerogative to define it as such, however, it’s reek of bullying and jealousy in the eyes of many when one party returns with vengeance upon hearing “disagreements” voiced from another party, which may be in direct opposition to the status quo. The bully shows their hand when he or she returns with a group of similarly dressed and impressed individuals, all singing the same dry tune “You are not like us, and only you and that other person are disagreeing with us, so you must be wrong. So why are you here?”.

    Jealousy raises it’s ugly head when references are constantly made to what another person has, that the other person apparently does not possess. It’s like the school yard mentality. The tough girl or boy, warns the other children not to play with, nor ingratiate the new girl, who just happens to be freshly dressed, exciting and intelligent, because they may take the bullies shine and uncover some insecurities about them.

    Opps... DAMNIT! I said I was done with Shame. Well, I am done with Shame but I need a 12 Step Program.

  • BondGirl | October 8, 2011 5:20 AMReply

    "Are we supposed to give you immediate reverence and respect because yo u claim to know Fassbender and joke about working with McQueen??"

    Vanessa, I'm telling you my opinion should be valued on here as anyone else, regardless of agreeing with it. It has nothing to do with connections or industry know-how. If that were the case, what would make your comments valid?

    You don't know me, and I don't know you. Now what? So your opnion of a film you haven't seen is higher than mine bc what? You work for S& A? You sound ridiculous. Yeah, I attended the Press & Industry screening of Shame (the one you couldn't get in to), spoke to the director, but I'm not really in the industry. Fine. Have it your way. I don't need you to qualify me.

  • BondGirl | October 8, 2011 4:58 AMReply

    @Vanessa:

    You people make my head hurt. I have absolutely no desire to argue with anyone about why you love Nicole so much and dedicate Facebook fan pages to her.

    If this post cannot progress to the original debate, which was about why this film is or isn't uplifting for blacks, then leave me out. Seriously. This is really the only thing I've been wanting to say for weeks, and it's appropo now.

    You, Tambay and the staff have a nasty habit of not taking criticism. Don't do a blog if you don't like what folks have to say...have meetings in your home to discuss film theory or whatever. But if you're going to put something on the internet, be open to the fact there will be opposition to it. The contentious attitude towards commenters is biased and unprofessional. I've witnessed the hate with others, and it's Communistic. You don't have to ask someone who doesn't like your writing, "why are you here?" And, truthfully, yeah a lot of the shit is insipid. I'm not interested in half of the articles, but there are some that attract me. Out of 2500+ subscribers, the same 10 damn ppl comment, half of them staffers(unless it's a hot button issue like The Help). Be fucking grateful anyone wants to say something on this shit, instead of getting mad that I don't kiss your ring like the others. Who pissed in your cereal this morning? Why is it so crucial for S&A to be liked?

    Nicole's character is an adulterer ready to sleep with a sex pervert, and you think it'll be great even though you haven't seen it...so who's the psychic here? Maybe you should take the disreputable rotten advice Tambay gave to Carey and STFU until you've seen the film.

  • CareyCarey | October 8, 2011 4:24 AMReply

    NOw nOW Vanessa, that's what I'm talking about. You sling those spiteful innuendo with a deep thrust, yet you for some strange reason, defines another commenters as "angry" and pretentious and impertinent. Excuse me, who's exactly OMNISCIENT!

    Vanessa your words are not fair, and rather you realize it or not, just because you've taken a less abrassive tone to your approach, does not mean others will not view them as a mean sprited attack.

  • CareyCarey | October 8, 2011 3:56 AMReply

    @ Tambay, first this----> "Carey, your last comment oozes with sycophancy"

    I understand why you may feel that way b/c you seem to be in a very unfamiliar position. You're being challenged by a very articulate, intelligent and wise women who has met you toe-to-toe. She's nothing like your normal crew of obsequious flatterers, so I understand your misinterpretation of my words and my intent. I'm just giving props as I see them. She’s a handful.

    Anyway, I did not come here (this time) to talk about my motivations.

    Tambay, you seem to be a fair man who just happens to be -- among other things -- a wordsmith. So, after reading your last reply, I believe the following will find us in total agreement.

    Here it goes... The distance between ambiguity and “very clear” is ripe with several meandering detours. First, the brain commands the mouth to say what it’s thinking. Ut oh, we’ve immediately hit THE FIRST ROADBUMP. Many times our words don’t reflect what we're actually thinking, but we continue on. To compound matters, there’s those ugly intrinsic problems of the English language. Some words are spelled different yet are pronounced exactly the same. Some words, depending on their place/position in a sentence, can change the whole meaning of said sentence. Taking out ONE single word can also change the dynamics of a person’s thoughts. Not to mention how one single word can change the complete tone of a sentence. By changing or omitting a few "modifying" words. a noun can become an adjective and a fart can become a fight.

    Yes sir, that mean old man, Mr. Ambiguity, wears many faces. His intentions are not always rooted in deceit and confusion, but he does tend to leave a huge wake of back-and-forth[ness]; frothiness, untidiness, shifts and shuffles, ego bruising, “he said/she said“ and cherry-picking, which can all lead to fits and fights, moans and groans; a muddled mess. But here’s the real deal. Along the road between Concise avenue and Ambiguous Street, there are humans - with all their fragilities - holding the flags and making their list. They have to tell the story their way. But wait, something very human happens. A fellow Brooklynite will say it best...

    “Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories of the way we were. Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behinds, miles we give to one another for the way we were. Can it be that it was all so simple then or has time rewritten every line? If we had the chance to do it all again tell me would we? Could we? Memories, may be beautiful and yet what's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget. So it's the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were’ ~ Barbara Streisand

    Yelp, I think we all can agree that sometimes we simply forgot what we’ve said and how we said it (conveniently or not). And sometimes, we don’t know why we said what we said. And black folks will lie, cut and shoot, forget, and hit below the belt when we’re challenged or when our comfort zones are shaken . I believe we all can agree on that.

    Have a safe and peaceful trip.

    @ Mulletlove, YOU'RE BACK! With a big-ass smile on your face *lol*

    Oh Lawd, please, no more penis stories.Hey, tell us what you mean by Nicole is the one who matters the most?

  • Vanessa | October 8, 2011 3:27 AMReply

    @BondGirl

    I'm not impressed by mainstream names, whether they're publications, actors or the name Hollywood itself. After all, what we mostly promote on this blog, if you’ve been paying attention, is independent work from filmmakers of color, but of course we’re going to cover any cinema of the African Diaspora, hence the tagline.

    Are we supposed to give you immediate reverence and respect because you claim to know Fassbender and joke about working with McQueen?? You’re failing to have that effect on us, unfortunately. You claim to have much power. Easy to say when you can hide behind a screen nickname. You should probably hide though; after all, you wouldn't want the big Hollywood wigs you know, along with Mcqueen and Fassbender, to read these comments and realize the sad state of the industry when there are people such as yourself working for it.

    Again, you're omniscient about what directors, actors, producers do on their spare time and the sites they go to. As far as I know, there's quite a few powerful actors, directors, producers out there that love S&A (people you have no clue since you don’t work behind the scenes for S&A). Well, it depends on whom you consider "powerful" since you have a power/relevance qualification meter of your very own and hard to understand by commoners like myself.

  • tambay | October 8, 2011 3:25 AMReply

    Oh look... Carey has returned to provide support and agrees with everything BondGirl says, no matter how inane, even though he doesn't have a leg to stand on. I'm absolutely shocked! I didn't see that coming at all!

    Tweedle dee and tweedle dum. Or is it court jesters... 2 peas in a pod.

    So much for that embargo eh Carey?

  • Vanessa | October 8, 2011 3:17 AMReply

    @ BondGirl
    “I feel McQueen chopping her lines down and the lack of award buzz (hell not even an NAACP nom is coming) speak for itself regarding Nicole and her acting prowess in this film.”
    Wow, so you already know about what the NAACP is thinking. You are truly OMNISCIENT. Impressive. Even if the NAACP doesn’t consider her; who gives a fuck?? Well, you do.. and??

    “This is about me bruising your overinflated ego (Steve McQueen reads this blog as often as the Queen of England) by calling you and your staff out for favoritism with Nicole Beharie.”
    Umm.. no, it’s not. It’s about frustration at your pretentiousness and impertinence. You simply have proven to make contradictory and inaccurate statements and boldly insist on spinning the argument for sake of YOUR ego and to our bafflement.

    Nicole Beharie IS an S&A favorite. AND??!! Also, many of our readers ARE fans of her, so are most of the contributors of the site. I don’t see the problem. Look through the threads we’ve posted about her and their positive comments aside from the posts about Shame; that only YOU and Carey decided to bash her involvement in from the get go.

    I wonder why you get angry at the attention she gets from a little “insipid” blog as Shadow and Act. Why not ignore it; obviously many in our audience like it, so why not let it be? Deal with it. You seem awfully controlling. It comes across really childish and lame.

    I'm not a bragger, never been. I'm the first one to tell you that in the big scheme of things; I don't know shit. I LOVE to learn from people and I love to research. If I'm not sure about something and I'm in a debate, you best believe I come prepared. I'm constantly in search for knowledge about the industry and about many things about life, culture etc... I read a lot of reviews, many from major publications; some of those that honestly in my humble opinion barely skim the surface of what an in depth critical review should encompass.

    Well-learned people impress me, especially when they contribute to the comment section. I'm certain that's a collective feeling from all of us in the staff. It makes us
    proud to run/contribute to the site. ([@Carey] Jealousy and bullying because of it is an absolute erroneous and ABSURD presumption)

  • tambay | October 8, 2011 3:16 AMReply

    @BondGirl -

    You said: "I didn't see that shit because i knew it would be bad. The play doesn't translate well to film with being stuck in one central place."

    And that just about sums up this entire argument. It demonstrates the degree of your knowledge of cinema, and why you continue to make it easier and easier for me to take you less and less seriously.

    There've been several films based on plays "with being stuck in one central place" as you put it, that have translated very well to film. Some received lots of critical acclaim, and are even taught in film schools today.

    You're absolutely right about one thing though... not only with regards to the one specific sentence you targeted, but this entire conversation is pointless. It's proven to be a waste of my time, as my last exchange with you was. There's absolutely nothing you've shown me here except that you're stubborn, a pretender, an egotist, and you continue to dance.

    So, to bring it all back... First you went on about the nudity in "Shame" - specifically, the showing of Fassbender's penis - and that was summarily dismissed; then you went on about Nicole Beharie's performance; and that has also been challenged and answered soundly, with facts and evidence to support, which leaves you with nothing else really.

    So, what do you do... you keep on shifting - first it's the electric slide, then the jig, then the chicken noodle soup - hoping to find something that'll stick, and doing so unsuccessfully.

    At some point, you have to realize when you've run out of ammo.

    And for a site that you once labeled as, I believe the word you used was "insipid," you sure spend a lot of time here...

  • CareyCarey | October 8, 2011 3:14 AMReply

    WELL WELL WELL, this has been an interesting debate/discussion.

    @ BondGirl, I’m here to tell you that you never had to come back to explain any of your positions b/c they were perfectly clear from the jump.

    1. You never said that you totally dismissed all reviews. That is not what you said. You’ve simply implied that you read them, some you agree with and others you don’t. But you never let them define your opinion of a movie. That’s it, you were very clear.

    2. re: Nicole Beharie, I’ve never viewed your comments concerning her as being all up in her shit. If I can paraphrase your sentiments, you have said she’s not an A-list actor who commands attention. She has to get behind Zoe. And you have given her props when props are due. Now, in regards to this film, the initial debate (months ago) concerning her performance was basically center on how some folks were berating Viola for her role in The Help while championing Nicole's role in Shame. You felt the reasons behind that odd occurrence rested on the fact that many black women were relating to Nicole’s seemingly prime and proper character, while turning an evil eye toward the role of a maid. Again, that’s always been perfectly clear. So, I do not understand how anyone would suggest that you’ve been “all in her shit. Wait, yes I do, but I’ll get back to that.

    3. Your opening remarks on Mulligan was also perfectly clear. there's too many to mention but this stands out----> “The progression of the story is made by Mulligan’s presence, not Nicole’s. She does assist him in seeing what a sick man he is during their love scene…”

    Consequently, you’ve consistently championed Mulligan’s role & performance over Nicoles. You said, “ I felt she [Nicole] was too theatrical in her acting during the date scene, and repeatedly winced at her many facial expressions. She should’ve pulled it back a little, been more subtle with her inner thoughts…”

    It has always been that simple and you’ve stood on that. Now, if that puts you in some ambiguous minority grouping, I have not seen the list of the talented majority who can or has refuted your opinion. You simply said she missed a few beats.

    4. re: Being in the minority. That’s a perfect place to be, however, many people fear being there, and would prefer wrapping their arm around popular opinion b/c it’s safe. And by default, when those they are agreeing with HAPPENS to receive a vote of approval, they smile right with them, as if it they were the hero.. It also keeps their heads down, far removed from “controversy” that may require them to support their opinion in their own words/opinion. In short, everybody is doing it, and saying it, so it must be right, right? WRONG!

    Again, you’re in the minority and you SHOULD be proud of that. You’re blazing your own path, and that's a good thang. It gives you independence and room to grow. *you probably already knew all of that* :-))

    5. Reviews & blurbs on Nicole. From what has been presented in this thread, I would define them as nice and polite pats on the back. Essentially, they’ve included her as a means of continuing the story on Fassenbender.... and she didn’t botch the part.

    Case in point, one said: “ terrific support from Nicole Beharie as Brandon’s attractive co-worker Marianne” and then he went on to say how her “character” moved the storyline. So, terrific support, says what?

    Another: Nicole Beharie in a full-bodied (no pun intended) supporting role that illuminates an actress with great potential.” - Mark Zhuravsky WhatCulture.com

    Great potential... okay?

    So BondGirl, you’ve always been loud and clear. However, I’ve always said this forum is not suited for debates in which the participants can shift focus and feign ignorance.

  • JMac | October 8, 2011 2:31 AMReply

    I'm just glad NB isn't a magical vagina girl for a BBBW obsessed white man- from what I gather from the reviews. Still nothing here to make me want to watch .... and enough reasons not to. Had my fill of white penis shots during my 'I only watch French films' phase. Completely underwhelming. Now if someone like Shaq made an appearance it might be worth it.

    Can't wait for your review of Pariah.

  • BondGirl | October 8, 2011 2:01 AMReply

    @Tambay:

    "One of the challenges in adapting a stage play to film is being able to make a movie that doesn’t just feel like you’re simply watching a filmed stage play, and I don’t think Carnage really succeeds in that regard."

    You didn't think the film was a success, and I never thought it would be...what's the difference? You don't like the reason I thought it wouldn't be? Who cares? I was glad not to have seen it. You're grasping at straws and it comes across as desperate posturing.

    "There’ve been several films based on plays “with being stuck in one central place” as you put it, that have translated very well to film. Some received lots of critical acclaim, and are even taught in film schools today.

    What does that have to do with Carnage not working? Every play or film for that matter is essentially different, based on synopsis, plotline, characters, etc. What worked for one play isn't going to matter for another automatically. Wait...you don't know that and you're trying to disqualify me from giving my opinion based on it? Hahahaha...oh I get it. Comedy.

    But this isn't about Carnage is it? Or Shame for that matter. This is about me bruising your overinflated ego (Steve McQueen reads this blog as often as the Queen of England) by calling you and your staff out for favoritism with Nicole Beharie. Well you may strongarm others on here, but you just met match. This ain't my first time at the rodeo.

    Because you say-->>"...but this entire conversation is pointless. It’s proven to be a waste of my time, as my last exchange with you was" then go on to-->"So, to bring it all back… Hmmm...for someone who's such a waste of time, you sure revel in continuing the convo. The double talk is astounding.

    But yes, let's bring it all back to Shame, which is what this post is about, right? Or is it just the lie you keep telling us?

    "First you went on about the nudity in “Shame” - specifically, the showing of Fassbender’s penis - and that was summarily dismissed"

    Ok, how was it dismissed..because you & your staff came on here and said it should be? You didn't even give a compelling response to why penis SHOULD be shown, just that-->> "would this be the first time in cinema history that an actor’s or actresses’ sexuality has been commercialized?" Huh? So I'm expected to base my opinion of penis in this film by what other films did? Films that quite possibly could be shitty?

    What bullshit! You don't even make strong points. Give your brain a rest, it's overheated. Fassbender walking around his apt with his limp dick hanging out has no context to the story, and provides no intrinsic value...that's MY point.

    "then you went on about Nicole Beharie’s performance; and that has also been challenged and answered soundly"

    Hmmph, really? I feel McQueen chopping her lines down and the lack of award buzz (hell not even an NAACP nom is coming) speak for itself regarding Nicole and her acting prowess in this film. I never said said she was bad; I said it could've been better. You're dancing, not me. And when you use bloggers instead of say, NY/LA Times or a highly reputable publication to make your case..I realize you're in the ring like Floyd Mayweather trying to get a win even with a cheap shot.

    So let me get this straight..you're going to quote a guy like Eugene Novikov, who gave Moneyball an A and raved about it, gave The Help a C, called the racist in the film unrealistically cartoony (like he knows racism) as the voice of reason?? Are you out of your mind? MONEYBALL???!! You give HIM credibility and I get none because I boldly cried out "The Emporer has no clothes!"? LOL...wow.

    Listen go watch Shame again or whatever eases the pain in your life. I'd rather have a root canal.

  • BondGirl | October 8, 2011 1:41 AMReply

    @Tambay: Part 1

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/shame-film-review-231114

    (little mention of Nicole)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/04/shame-review-steve-mcqueen-venice

    (no mention of Nicole)

    http://www.indiewire.com/article/toronto_review_steve_mcqueens_shame_is_all_about_michael_fassbender/

    (no mention of Nicole)

    http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/movie-review-shame-2011

    (no mention of Nicole-this is one of my fav reviews bc it speaks to the subtle acting nuances in Mulligan's performance with Fassbender, which I enjoyed)

    Those are the reviews that I read. Satisfied? No, oh well. I'm not doing a freaking dissertation, how many blogs should I read? And like I said, the ones I read, didn't mention her. U mad? LOL..btw, who the fuck is Eugene Novikov? Was that the reporter snoring through Shame? Can you at least list blogs most of us have heard of? You see I did. Besides, I said "most reviews" not "every review"...you're putting words in my mouth. Damn....semantics

    And this is pointless(except to say that Nicole is mentioned on hack blogs), because I already told you that reviews don't impress me. You have no facts as you claimed. It's like looking at the Mona Lisa, everyone sees something different. And if you can't see that there is Oscar buzz surrounding Fassbender and Mulligan, that's on you. To say she is getting mentioned in passing is an understatement and grossly misleading. I wouldn't be surprised if she got nom'd for Best Supporting.

    You are justifying an 8 paragraph write-up of an actress with 5 min. of dialogue by stating that other critics wrote a blurb on her....are you serious? And this actress will never see the inside of the Nokia theater next year? GTFOH.

    I don't have to have reviews to strengthen my case. I know great acting, and I know when it can be better. I know when an actor like Fassbender is being generous in a scene so as not to overshadow everyone around him (like he did Nicole and the newbie film star in FIsh Tank) I know when a theatrical actress should tone down her facial expressions and accenting for film.

    And you mentioned Carnage earlier...I didn't see that shit because i knew it would be bad. The play doesn't translate well to film with being stuck in one central place. And personally I don't like Kate Winslet. I guess if you were white, you'd be arguing with me over that statement. But that's all sidebar.

  • BluTopaz | October 8, 2011 1:31 AMReply

    BondGirl, are you disappointed you can't criticize Nicole for running around Shame butt nekkid doing the freaky deaky with a White man? Because that was the main crux of most of the ranting re: this film; now we see that's not the case so there must be something else to complain about-smh.


    Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing it; I watched Hunger and Fish Tank a few weeks ago just to what's with all the Fassbender and McQueenhoopla. AND also looking forward
    to see Nicole as she's described here, " a breath of fresh air" who is pivotal for the main character, despite her short amount of time on screen.

  • tambay | October 8, 2011 1:00 AMReply

    Oh I see now... so, those other critics should be ripped to shreds for credibility simply because BondGirl says they should be.

    BondGirl, who's very own credibility has been in question throughout this thread.

    Now you're a connoisseur of film criticism, huh? Well, gosh! I wish you'd said so earlier. A kindred spirit! You live in New York, right? We should have lunch and talk film theory.

    Let me know what screening at NYFF you'll be attending next and I'll make sure I'm there, so we can connect.

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 12:50 PMReply

    @ Nia RE the gay sexual encounter... yup, I had a similar interpretation of it, as you did; but I always try to see these things through the eyes of the *other* being depicted. So, while I'm not gay, as a member of another marginalized group (I'm black), certain commonalities become more apparent to me. In watching the film, and that sequence in particular, I imagined what my reaction would be if I were gay, with the one single scene in this fiercely heterosexual film that depicts homosexual sex depicted as it is, as I described... I just might have a problem with it, because it feeds into some prevalent fear and disgust of homosexuality.

    Another way to look at it is if this wasn't a case of hetero versus homo, but instead intra-racial versus inter-racial sex, with "black" replacing "homosexual" or "gay." I think some of "us" would be up in arms over that.

    Make sense?

  • CareyCarey | October 7, 2011 12:50 PMReply

    HOLLY MACKAREL ANDY... I MEAN TAMBAY! I have to agree, that was another superb review. Yes sir, it was well written, insightful and at times humorous. You can’t beat that with a stick. In fact, since I’ve read several of your reviews over the last 2 years, I’m going to put this up on the pedestal right along side your review of The Help. But wait, therein lies a particular problem.

    “Thanks for bringing this argument up! I don’t get the hoopla about showing his penis either! I also knew that this bickering over this movie without seeing it was a waste of time” By Vanessa on October 6, 2011

    Okay, there it is, Vanessa set the stage for "Vamos hombre, usted es serio, ES SÓLO EL POLLÓN?... un willie, un pene?”

    Well, let me go back. Our past conversations on The Help and Shame, which I would not classify as bickering (I viewed them as disagreements and discourse) centered on how each of us perceived the subtle messages and details of each film. For instance, in reference to The Help.... “I think sometimes we get so caught up in making “Art” & “telling the truth” we forget we do want people to see it the damn thing. They [some] wanted it to be super serious, treat it as the dehumanizing slavery which it was. Some people wanted to see some old WOMEN OF BREWSTER’S PLACE type stuff, deep hardcore drama make your guts hurt for a week”

    The conversations on Shame ebbed and flowed between what is actually sexually shocking to some folks and the particulars of Nicole Beharie’s role. And now we’re left with the trite phrase “it’s just a dick”, and Nicole’s part was minuscule.

    Consequently, I had to come back to address what I consider as Tambay’s “cattle call” and PIMP SLAP. Yes, his review was well written, humorous and insightful. However, in my opinion, it had the same flavor as his review of The Help. Hold up now, don’t jerk your knee at my assessment of Tambay’s review b/c that’s what we do, don’t we? I mean, we analyze the words and actions of directors, actors and all the big boys like Armond White and Rodger Ebert, don’t we? So let me continue.

    In Tambay’s review of The Help, I believe he pandered to the “we hate The Help before we‘ve even seen it” crowd. In this review, he has essentially done the same with the “what’s so shocking? It’s only perverted sex, and it’s only a white dick; everybody does it” crowd.

    Come on now, y’all know that’s true. Check this---> “Leave dick alone! As Eddie Murphy’s character in The Distinguished Gentleman said, “Dick is good! Dick is good!”

    Yeah, that’s true, but as Tambay had us laughing, he conveniently left out the part that dick can get you in trouble, in very shocking ways. Hey, did you read what Fassenbinder was doing with his wang thang? Based on Tambay’s words, that boy wasn’t even paying attention to where he was poking it, smashing it or wacking it. He was using that thang like it was a Veg-o-Matic. Now I don’t know, and don’t wanna know, but what was the porn star doing in that dark and dank and musty basement with that other dude? I’d bet my last dollar it was some shockingly nasty shit that we ALL don’t do.
    Anyway, my time is running out but I just needed to see more of a balance in this review, as apposed to the slant that was very obvious to me. But hey, to each his own. Tambay did say “You feel like you really are part of that universe, so much that, when the film was over, I had to kind of shake myself out of it”

    Now I don’t know what he meant by those words but he also said he has a dick, and so do I... and I love P***Y. But I just don’t understand the thrill of looking at another man’s pipe as he shakes it, chokes it, knocks the bottom out of “it”, lets another man -- a gay dude -- do what he wants with it and squirts it where-ever it may fall, all under the mask of art and "addictions". Yicks, miss me with that one and let me shake out of this.

  • BondGirl | October 7, 2011 12:05 PMReply

    Those other "critics", with the exception of Justin Chang who I already gave credit for giving a rave review to Nicole, could be ripped to shreds for credibility. I won't bother though, because as I said before today and in your past article on critics, they mean little in terms of how I view cinema.

    I'll just wait patiently for the theatrical release to see who comes 'round to applaud her as well.

    I'm amazed that there is so much tolerance for folks who champion a film they haven't seen...but one they dislike makes them persona non grata. Interesting.

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 11:22 AMReply

    @BondGirl Continued...

    By the way, here are a few mentions of Nicole I found in other reviews, despite the fact that you previously said that she’s been ignored, except for Variety; even though you’re now singing a different tune, shifting the goal posts once again. And, by the way, none of these is from Variety:

    - … while relative newcomer Nicole Beharie is a real find, painting a vivid picture with only a few scenes, and should go on to bigger and better things from here on out. Nicole Beharie is a fresh face who plays a fellow co-worker who brings a lot of warmth to the film as a love interest…
    - Fassbender finds another equal sparring partner in the excellent Nicole Beharie, radiating smart warmth as the co-worker whose emotional security undoes his sexual confidence.
    - There's also terrific support from Nicole Beharie as Brandon's attractive co-worker Marianne, whose date with Brandon forms the film's most heart-breaking sequence as the hope of an actual human connection slowly turns sour when Brandon realises he's incapable of having sex with someone he actually cares about.
    - An extended close-up of Mulligan crooning a mesmerizingly sad rendition of “New York, New York” may be the centerpiece shot, but I was equally wowed by a pair of scenes where Fassbender dates a co-worker (Beharie) and slowly loses confidence at the prospect of intimacy. McQueen only needs a few shots, including an exquisitely choreographed take at a restaurant…

    And those are just a few. I didn’t have to look too hard to find them either. Keep in mind that there really haven’t been that many reviews so far, as the film has only played at a few festivals. We’ll see a lot more leading up to its release in December.

    You said: "3. Yes I stand by my comment that I felt my opinion was spot on…she was okay, not great. "

    Actually, no, that's not the song you've been singing. Please stick to one criticism. First you says she’s not good which is why no one’s noticed her (even though that's factually incorrect), then you say she’s forgettable, she’s pitiful, too theatrical… what else? And now you say, well, actually “she was okay, not great.”

    You said: "I was responding to Vanessa with using the reviews to support my argument, since she first said that the critics were in line with your review. Even if they ALL said she deserved an Oscar nom, I would strongly disagree."

    Well, good for you BondGirl! Glad you can stand on your own two feet. Just stop shifting around so much with your positions.

    And once again, who the hell has said that she deserves an Oscar nomination for this?

    And for somebody who keeps saying she doesn't care about reviews, you sure are putting a lot of emphasis on them in order to support your arguments.

    Bah-humbug! Yet another exercise in futility.

    Let's see what she comes with next...

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 11:21 AMReply

    @BondGirl Continued...

    You said: "And the fact that Nicole hasn’t been mentioned in most reviews (occasionally to say what role she played in the film) says A LOT."

    Wrong again. In the majority of the reviews in which she’s mentioned (and, once again, she's mentioned in several), she’s praised for her performance.

    You said: "When you’re good, people take notice. Everybody takes notice."

    Oh really, they do? Everybody? So, from what I said about reading reviews in which Mulligan’s character is mentioned in passing but nothing said about her performance, what does that mean?

    You said: "You get tired of hearing the actor’s name because ppl rant and rave.'

    The only “ranting and raving” I can say has been definite and constant is of Fassbender’s performance, and rightfully so. Not Mulligan’s; not Beharie’s.

    You said: "That is why I made the comment about the 8 min in Viola’s role in Doubt…when you’re good, even if it is a small role, you will get noticed. I would have liked for her to have made different choices in her performance, but we can certainly agree to disagree on that."

    Once again, I disagree entirely. Too many factors to consider. First and foremost, it starts with the writing. The monologue Viola Davis is given in that single scene in "Doubt" is absolutely of zero comparison to the levity of the brief date sequence Nicole is given to work with in "Shame." None whatsoever. And to even make that comparison is ridiculous. I don’t care who the actress is that was chosen to play the part Beharie plays in this. It starts with the material given. She did what she was supposed to do with what she was given, and it worked perfectly in synch. Is she going to get an Oscar for it? No. But, once again, that’s not the argument, even though you want to keep coming back to it. And to make any comparisons between her role in this to the far more complex characterizations Mulligan and Fassbender are given to work with, and to then use that as justification for an argument that’s hanging by a thread, is, once again, disingenuous, and I just can’t take at all seriously.

    You said: "I’m not all in Nicole’s shit (as you mentioned). I actually laughed for a while at that. You may have missed my comments about Nicole hypothetically playing Sarah Forbes Bonetta in another post. I was the only one who agreed she could play the role. With a ton of great black actresses to pick from, why would I pick her if I had a problem with her acting? It is just this performance that she seemed out of her league. My actor friend couldn’t even remember her in A Free Man of Color..I kept trying to remind her, but like in Shame…she’s forgetable. You don’t care if she shows up again or not."

    Ok, well then I stand corrected BondGirl. You’re a fan of Beharie’s; who knew? But I’ll remember this conversation and hold you to that.

    To say that this performance was “out of her league” is laughable, especially when you then say that she could play what would in effect be a far more demanding, complex role in Sarah Forbes Bonetta, compared to the little bit of interplay she’s given with Fassbender here. You can’t be serious at all… sorry. Give me a break.

    You said: "Which is why I really wondered how anyone could dare put Viola & Octavia’s roles down while praising Nicole’s pitiful scenes… she doesn’t even say a damn thing until an hour into the movie, even though you see her throughout..."

    Um… no; I didn’t put Viola’s or Octavia’s roles in "The Help" down. You may be confusing me with comments made by others. Go read my entire review of that film again. I’m pretty certain I said that both actors put in good performances and would likely get Oscar nominations.

    And, ah so Nicole’s scenes are “pitiful” now… and “she doesn’t even say a damn thing until an hour into the movie,” as you said. So now you’re hanging onto the argument that her scenes are pithy, yet you’re here making an argument about the fact that she’s not mentioned in “most” of the reviews you’ve read, comparing what she’s given to work with here in “Shame” to prose from a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony award winning play. I see…

    Continued...

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 11:18 AMReply

    Le sigh… keep moving the goal posts BondGirl... keep on keeping on.

    You said: "1. My response was to Vanessa’s assertions that Nicole has received reviews as glowing as yours. I disagree. Your review of Nicole is probably the most sugar-laced critique I’ve read. Between your examination of her performance and Vanessa’s unofficial Nicole Beharie Facebook fan page, I’m calling bullshit on the “we’re treating Nicole with the same unbiased speculum as every other black actress” implications. She is getting preferential treatment, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. We all have our favorites, but let’s not pretend you don’t."

    I see… if your response was to Vanessa, you should have made that clear. You addressed no one in that comment, and I was left to assume that you were addressing me, since it is my review.

    That aside... so now you’re acknowledging that there have indeed been reviews of Beharie’s performance – positive reviews at that. Because, correct me if I’m wrong, in your previous comment you said quite explicitly that reviews ignored her, and that, aside from Variety, the focus from write-ups about the film have been all on Fassbender and Mulligan.

    So, you can call “bullshit” or whatever/whoever you want to call. Call Tyrone if you want. I’m solid in the assertions I made in my review, and I’ve fully backed them up, challenging every claim you’ve made about her performance. And if you'd actually read reviews, because, based on your replies, I'm not sure that you've read more than a couple, you'll see that there have been indeed several reviews that referenced Beharie and her performance, which supports my argument, not yours.

    You said: "2. Let me clarify my Mulligan comments. I wasn’t suggesting that she has received the same amount of praise as Fassbender, only that in reviews, it seemed that she is always mentioned alongside Fassbender and given credit for her performance as a troubled soul. "

    Incorrect. In the last 3 minutes, I read a number of reviews that, while they mentioned Mulligan, said absolutely nothing about her performance. As I said in my last comment, she’s mentioned in passing, as a matter of fact that she’s his sister, and she performs "New York, New York" in a lounge. So, once again, what are we to understand from that, especially given the fact that she's on screen for triple the amount of time Beharie is, and is given far more to do than Beharie? Given your argument, every single review should not only mention her, but exhalt her performance. Should we then make the argument that she’s “forgettable,” as you said about Beharie, or that she doesn’t put in a good performance? In fact, I’ve read very few that actually regarded her performance as you have – stating that she was primarily responsible for Brandon’s unraveling.

    Continued...

  • Vanessa Martinez | October 7, 2011 10:49 AMReply

    @BondGirl

    Here are some reviews of Nicole's performance. I made it easier for you. You said that Tambay's review is probably "the most sugar-laced critique you've read." See below...
    ____________________________________________________

    ”..relative newcomer Nicole Beharie is a real find, painting a vivid, warm picture with only a few scenes, and should go on to bigger and better things from here on out.” Oliver Lyttelton - The Playlist

    "Carey Mulligan and Nicole Behaire, the latter playing the target of Brandon's ill-fated attempt to go on an actual date, are effortlessly real in key supporting roles. Like Fassbender, they are able to suggest a wealth of background that goes unspoken." Eugene Novikov Movies.com

    "Her character's [Mulligan] musical solo midway through the film, filmed almost entirely in a single closeup, is one of many exquisite interludes that give this tough-minded picture a soul. So, too, does Nicole Beharie, wonderfully real and affecting as Brandon's co-worker Marianne, whose attempts to kindle a flame become the film's heartbreaking centerpiece." Justin Chang – Variety.com

    "(Fassbender finds another equal sparring partner in the excellent Nicole Beharie, radiating smart warmth as the co-worker whose emotional security undoes his sexual confidence.)" – Guy Lodge Incontention.com

    "a restaurant-set date that becomes high comedy thanks for an overly helpful waiter and an painfully intimate sex scene between Brandon and Marianne, a co-worker played by Nicole Beharie in a full-bodied (no pun intended) supporting role that illuminates an actress with great potential." - Mark Zhuravsky WhatCulture.com

    "There's also terrific support from Nicole Beharie as Brandon's attractive co-worker Marianne, whose date with Brandon forms the film's most heart-breaking sequence as the hope of an actual human connection slowly turns sour when Brandon realises he's incapable of having sex with someone he actually cares about." – Matthew Turner ViewLondon.co.uk

  • Anderson | October 7, 2011 9:56 AMReply

    Sorry I don't want to see a man's penis in a movie so I'll pass. Thanks for the enthusiastic review though.

  • BondGirl | October 7, 2011 9:25 AMReply

    "But where exactly in my review or any of my comments did I even hint at the possibility of Beharie being considered for an award? I simply praised her performance, now you’re going off on some other shit. And of course the focus has been on Fassbender for what should be very obvious reasons (he’s the star); but you’re wrong about the praise being all about Mulligan as well."

    1. My response was to Vanessa's assertions that Nicole has received reviews as glowing as yours. I disagree. Your review of Nicole is probably the most sugar-laced critique I've read. Between your examination of her performance and Vanessa's unofficial Nicole Beharie Facebook fan page, I'm calling bullshit on the "we're treating Nicole with the same unbiased speculum as every other black actress" implications. She is getting preferential treatment, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. We all have our favorites, but let's not pretend you don't.

    2. Let me clarify my Mulligan comments. I wasn't suggesting that she has received the same amount of praise as Fassbender, only that in reviews, it seemed that she is always mentioned alongside Fassbender and given credit for her performance as a troubled soul. And the fact that Nicole hasn't been mentioned in most reviews (occasionally to say what role she played in the film) says A LOT. When you're good, people take notice. Everybody takes notice. You get tired of hearing the actor's name because ppl rant and rave. That is why I made the comment about the 8 min in Viola's role in Doubt...when you're good, even if it is a small role, you will get noticed. I would have liked for her to have made different choices in her performance, but we can certainly agree to disagree on that.

    I'm not all in Nicole's shit (as you mentioned). I actually laughed for a while at that. You may have missed my comments about Nicole hypothetically playing Sarah Forbes Bonetta in another post. I was the only one who agreed she could play the role. With a ton of great black actresses to pick from, why would I pick her if I had a problem with her acting? It is just this performance that she seemed out of her league. My actor friend couldn't even remember her in A Free Man of Color..I kept trying to remind her, but like in Shame...she's forgetable. You don't care if she shows up again or not.

    Which is why I really wondered how anyone could dare put Viola & Octavia's roles down while praising Nicole's pitiful scenes...she doesn't even say a damn thing until an hour into the movie, even though you see her throughout, which makes me wonder if Brandon even really liked her, or was using her to test himself and his intimacy level.

    3. Yes I stand by my comment that I felt my opinion was spot on...she was okay, not great. I was responding to Vanessa with using the reviews to support my argument, since she first said that the critics were in line with your review. Even if they ALL said she deserved an Oscar nom, I would strongly disagree. Even if everyone from S&A says they think she deserves an Oscar nom, I'd strongly disagree. A reporter sitting 2 seats away from me kept falling asleep and snoring loudly, then at the end of the movie called the film "boring and dull"...you think I'm really listening to critics? LOL

  • Curtis | October 7, 2011 7:42 AMReply

    Seeing it Sunday. Looking foward though with some anxiety. Will need to get into the right head-space to take in all that somberness. Lol.

    Thanks for the review sir.

  • Vanessa Martinez | October 7, 2011 6:19 AMReply

    @BondGirl

    I'm not suggesting Nicole will be considered for an Oscar. The way it looks right now, Fassbender, Mulligan and McQueen are lucky to get nominations (especially the last two) given the sexual nature of the film and the Academy's politics.

    All I'm saying is that you're in the minority when it comes to your opinion. Some reviews didn't mention her, but quite a handful of others did. Of those, none suggested anything remotely similar regarding her acting in this film. When mentioning her, even in passing, it was to praise her performance or state how well she complemented Fassbender's.

    A lot of people don't care for reviews; I know that. There's just some film critics out there whose opinions I respect and trust. That's just me though.

  • BondGirl | October 7, 2011 5:40 AMReply

    I'm not interested in a whole penis debate...I'm not even adverse to it onscreen, as a matter of fact I've always felt that men should be naked onscreen if women are too. I was giving testimony based on many women's declarations...even a Seinfeld episode was made about it and this--->>"it depends on the context of the story, obviously." makes my point. You may like it in Shame, but hate seeing a penis in another film. It was a general statement. Let's see how you feel when seeing Jamie Foxx's naked body in Django Unchained.

    As far as Nicole, most reviews ignored her and focused squarely on Fassbender and Mulligan. All Oscar talk has been about Fassbender and Mulligan. Except for Variety, all praise has gone to Fassbender and Mulligan. So I feel my opinion was spot on. Abi Morgan gave Nicole a great character to attempt to ground the movie in reality and something the audience could relate to (who hasn't been on a date?), but acting- wise...sorry, when awards season officially begins it's going to be about Mike, Mulligan & (maybe) McQueen.

    And reviews? Meh. I could take 'em or leave 'em personally.

  • CareyCarey | October 7, 2011 5:05 AMReply

    Okay Tambay, we're home.

    In reference to the statement and the example I used to highlight your "minimizing", I only used that as a small illustration of the whole flavor of your post. Bondgirl came by and did a better job than me on the male and female nudity tip.It's not just a dick. And the whole movie (based on your words) did little to advance awareness of the ambiguous thang called sex addiction.

    In the example I used, your description was merely a snapshot, it did not speak to the underlying actions, suggestions and implications of those engaging in that type of sex. And again, to that point, everyone does not engage in that type of activity. So, to use the phrase "it's just sex" is grossly minimizing a behavior that some view as unnatural.

    re: "Shut the fuck up". What, a man like "me" can handle that and you thought it should not rub my masculinity in the wrong way? Come on Tambay, you know there's an unwritten code of conduct when 2 men are conversing (especially when other people are around). Now I can handle anything you throw my way, but I'm sure you know that certain words are incendiary. For instance, if one man said to another, "fu*k U bitch-ass- punk-ass muthafuker and you can suck my di*k" somebody should expect some type of retaliation. Now, I don't know about you or your background, but to tell another man to "shut the fuk up" falls in that same class of incendiary words, which are begging for a similar reply. What if I would have said "nawl mutha-fuker, you shut the fuk up, with yo sissy ass"? Then I would have been wrong, right?

    Lastly, "My intro about “the dick thing” was to address that dominant conversation"

    Okay, I can understand that, I got that, I've been in many neighborhoods and blogs, however, again, as I said, I believe the way in which you addressed the issue was pandering to a certain crowd (and we know who they are) and from my perspective, it took away from the essence of what I believe a "review" should consist of.

    Anyway, we're home. I think we understand one another.

    **Waving@ BondGirl** I knew you'd drop by and tell it like it should be told.

    **winking @ Monique** I heard your comment in the podcast, about that "one guy in the comment section of the blog" who you will not say his name.

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 4:30 AMReply

    @ BondGirl -

    You said: "I expect that comment from a man, because men aren’t cognizant about how women feel about penis."

    I'm not sure what that means exactly, or what it has to do with the point I'm making about there in fact being a double standard when it comes to film depictions of parts belonging to women, when compared to film depictions of parts belonging to men.

    You said: "... regarding the penis flashing... I felt it was gratuitous and catered to Fassbender’s ever increasing fan base of men and women."

    Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. Maybe it was gratuitous, maybe it wasn't. The point again is, so what? Even if it was, as you say, gratuitous, would this be the first time in cinema history that an actor's or actresses' sexuality has been commercialized?

    You said: "But back to the comment about why male nudity is a problem. Women find the aesthetic of penis gross, plain and simple. It’s not attractive looking at it limp, and the penis is hanging out with no coverage at all. A vagina is totally covered (almost encased in folds of skin) and allows folks to take it in visually…you think if we saw Mulligan’s pink fleshy inner vagina lips in a scene that everyone would find that riveting?"

    Wow. This takes the cake. This is an entirely pointless aside that has nothing to do with the arguments being made. We're actually now getting into visual aesthetics and personal appeal with regards to our sexual organs? No thanks, I'll pass...

    You said: "You say that Nicole’s presence is of significant influence on Brandon, and thus the progression of the story. I would strongly disagree with latter. The progression of the story is made by Mulligan’s presence, not Nicole’s. She does assist him in seeing what a sick man he is during their love scene..."

    Stop right there and read that last sentence again... And I didn't say she was solely the reason for his unraveling. I mentioned Mulligan's assist as well. And to completely ignore the fact that she is indeed the first *real* woman we see in the film, and not just a *hole*, which is of significance to Brandon and thus the film, is disingenuous.

    You said: "I felt she was too theatrical in her acting during the date scene, and repeatedly winced at her many facial expressions. You can tell she is a theater actress and a technical actress like her Julliard contemporaries, which usually is a compliment, but not in this case. She should’ve pulled it back a little, been more subtle with her inner thoughts..."

    Couldn't disagree with you more! Too theatrical? Were we watching the same movie? Did you see "Carnage?" Compare the acting in that to the subtlety and nuance Beharie delivers here. But, really BondGirl, you've been all up in Beharie's shit since you folks started debating this flick; so, to be frank, I simply can't take your criticism of her or her performance without a serving of "side-eye."

    You said: "I didn’t like the gay scene at all... I felt it implied too much... I wasn’t sure if “Brandon” was bisexual and acting out that part of him already there…or was hetero but acting out his sex addiction..."

    Wow - something we can actually kind of agree on. I alluded to the questions that scene raised. But, as McQueen also noted in the Q&A, the ambiguity was intentional.

    You said: "I sincerely doubt he read this blog and made adjustments to his film accordingly. He is a man of his own mind, that’s for sure, which is refreshing in a time when so many directors cowtow to studio execs demands. His changes from script to screen are more likely as the saying goes…there really are no solely original ideas, 10,000 folks think exactly as you do."

    You do realize that my suggestion that he reads this blog, or made adjustments to the film because of my review of his script, was just me being facetious right? And even if I wasn't "making a funny," I don't think it's completely out of the question to think that he just might, at the very least, be aware of the blog, and just MIGHT actually peek in from time to time. After all, I know very well that others working in the industry do read it. Why not the possibility of him being one of them?

    And yes, it was a good film, but not great. I agree with that as well.

  • Tamara | October 7, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    Thank you :) I've got a couple ideas as to the origin of his issue.

    Hopefully this movie makes it close to me...otherwise I'll have to find it online somewhere, VOD or just rent it.

  • Vanessa Martinez | October 7, 2011 3:43 AMReply

    "Women find the aesthetic of penis gross, plain and simple. It’s not attractive looking at it limp, and the penis is hanging out with no coverage at all." "But Vanessa, really?—->>“I don’t get the hoopla about showing his penis either! "

    @BondGirl Yes, really. I don't get the double standard. I'm not disgusted or horrified after seeing a penis on screen; it depends on the context of the story, obviously. BTW, you can't really tell anything from a flaccid penis; it can be different once erect.

    Anyways, my point is you don't speak for all women as I'm example of that. As far as Beharie's acting, you're the first person I know to say that; every review I've read is pretty much in par with Tambay's when it comes to her.

    But, of course, to each his own. I have yet to see the film myself.

  • Nia | October 7, 2011 3:33 AMReply

    Great review read it twice. I hope the root of his problems isn't a result of childhood abuse or something. That does seem to be the rather obvious solution.
    The introduction was hilarious, but I'm glad you got the penis talk out of the way because your analysis of the film was wonderful. You did give away some parts of the film I would have wanted to see though...Sad to hear that Baharie won't be featured as frequently in the film, could that be a result of editing?
    On the gay sexual encounter. Why was that particular scene such a problem for you? It would seem to me the deeper Brandon goes into his addiction and the more his "other" life spirals out of control, the more willing he would be able to break away from routine. Not just in different partners, but sexual habits as well. I don't know. Just a thought. I havent seen it yet of course...
    I would've liked to hear more about Carey Mulligan's performance. Great review nonetheless.

  • BondGirl | October 7, 2011 3:22 AMReply

    @Tambay:

    "For decades women’s parts have been on display on screen from a variety of angles, perspectives, and positions. And thus I understand that we’ve gotten very used to that, so it’s not taboo anymore; unlike when a film includes full frontal male nudity."

    I expect that comment from a man, because men aren't cognizant about how women feel about penis. But Vanessa, really?--->>"I don’t get the hoopla about showing his penis either! What is it about male nudity that’s so shameful? I don’t get why the film is NC-17 either."

    Now I don't know what post or blogs the "hoopla" or "shameful" commentary came from regarding the penis flashing, but I felt it was gratuitous and catered to Fassbender's ever increasing fan base of men and women. If the scenes with his penis out had been deleted, it wouldn't have taken anything away from the film. It didn't add anything, except to show that all white men do not have a small penis. *smile*

    But back to the comment about why male nudity is a problem. Women find the aesthetic of penis gross, plain and simple. It's not attractive looking at it limp, and the penis is hanging out with no coverage at all. A vagina is totally covered (almost encased in folds of skin) and allows folks to take it in visually...you think if we saw Mulligan's pink fleshy inner vagina lips in a scene that everyone would find that riveting? Hell no, it would be considered distasteful. So comparing men and women nude is apples and oranges...one is covered by half of Mulligan's oddly shaved pubic hair, the other is on full display.

    You say that Nicole's presence is of significant influence on Brandon, and thus the progression of the story. I would strongly disagree with latter. The progression of the story is made by Mulligan's presence, not Nicole's. She does assist him in seeing what a sick man he is during their love scene, but she is a mere pawn in this film. I felt she was too theatrical in her acting during the date scene, and repeatedly winced at her many facial expressions. You can tell she is a theater actress and a technical actress like her Julliard contemporaries, which usually is a compliment, but not in this case. She should've pulled it back a little, been more subtle with her inner thoughts the way Fassbender does sooooo freaking well. While she helped provide the comedic relief necessary to this otherwise dark film, Mulligan is what makes him come apart. Nicole's just a Jenga piece in that clusterfuck of a puzzle in Fassbender's life, waiting to tumble down. I actually had no desire to see more of her, like I did with say, Viola Davis in Doubt.

    I didn't like the gay scene at all. And I loved Brokeback Mountain, so let me just say, it has nothing to do with homophobia. I felt it implied too much, that because you're a sex addict that you will fuck anything..a man, a horse, a child for that matter to get your rocks off. If it's truly the same as other addictions (as McQueen said-just another high), then even sick addicted people have limits. I wasn't sure if "Brandon" was bisexual and acting out that part of him already there...or was hetero but acting out his sex addiction. Because it wasn't like he couldn't get laid with a woman-it's NYC for God's sake. You can go to Whole Foods and meet someone to go home with. Overall, it was a good movie, not great. It didn't do for me what Hunger did, but it certainly left me thinking afterward. I paased an impeccably dresed man in a grey suit looking very much like "Brandon" on the street, hours after seeing the film, and I actually wondered if he was the same way. That's what a film should do. The question is, was it more uplifting for blacks in Hollywood than The Help? Hell no.THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE DEBATE, REMEMBER??? LOL.

    I spoke to McQueen while walking with him and Fassbender to their cars outside of Lincoln Center. Didn't have the time to ask him what was the purpose of the gay scene..too busy chatting about working together lol. I sincerely doubt he read this blog and made adjustments to his film accordingly. He is a man of his own mind, that's for sure, which is refreshing in a time when so many directors cowtow to studio execs demands. His changes from script to screen are more likely as the saying goes...there really are no solely original ideas, 10,000 folks think exactly as you do.

  • Vanessa | October 7, 2011 3:06 AMReply

    I don't get the hoopla about showing his penis either! What is it about male nudity that's so shameful? I don't get why the film is NC-17 either. I keep hearing that the actual sex scenes are not anything unusual for R-rated films...Thanks for bringing this argument up!

    I also knew that this bickering over this movie without seeing it was a waste of time.

    I hear this is the type of film you keep thinking about days after, and gaining a slightly different perspective on certain aspects of it. Maybe it will do the same for you.

    I think McQueen did read your script review! That thing spread like wildfire.

    I chuckled at the new title "Shame, A Dangerous Method"

    I'm glad you "appreciated" it. I had a feeling you would. Great read.

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 3:06 AMReply

    @ Carey - hey man, don't feel like you owe me something because "it's my blog." Feel free to dish all you want; just don't expect me to always reply or even tolerate. I've got shit to do, like, you know, run the blog. And as I've said umpteen times, I'm tired.

    And no, I didn't "minimize" the subject matter, nor "pander to a particular crowd.”

    I know you spend a lot of time on this site, but you should know that the discussions on the film's sex scenes were had everywhere, both on line and offline; not just on S&A. My intro about "the dick thing" was to address that dominant conversation. Many (not just here) made a big deal out of the nudity and the sex (hence all the talk about a possible NC-17 rating), and I simply stated my case for why it's all unwarranted, basing my argument on the evidence. I like facts. And the facts (and history) here simply don't support to ruckus.

    As I noted in "the dick thing" there's a double-standard at work here, and I explained what and why that was. You only further confirmed that with the last paragraph of your first comment, when you, for whatever reason, felt the need to impress upon me the veracity of your masculinity, with your “I Love Pussy” comment, and that you wouldn’t want to see a man’s parts in any form or fashion on screen, suggesting that if this was a film about a woman’s sexual addiction, and her woman parts were on full display (as has been the case in countless movies that haven’t received this much attention), we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    And I don’t see where the “minimization, justifications, double standards and moving the goal post” exists within this statement I made: “In “Shame” there’s very little actual nudity. In what may be the film’s most *explicit* scene, a threesome, the way it’s shot, all you see is skin - a nipple, a thigh, a back, a butt, faces seemingly in various stages of ecstasy.

    What’s unclear or ambiguous about that? It’s a factual statement. I’ve seen the film, so I know. Once again, the point of all that is to emphasize that something called the “power of suggestion” is used often in this film.

    As for the “shut the fuck up”… well, in our last exchange, you told me you preferred bluntness to subtlety, so I figured a man like you could handle a “shut the fuck up” and not feel like your masculinity was being challenged. I believe your follow-up comment in that particular thread was something like “sometimes a black man has to put his religion in his back pocket and commence to showing his natural black ass.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

  • CareyCarey | October 7, 2011 2:29 AMReply

    Okay Tambay, since this is your blog, I have to respect your wishes. I’m going to take the high road and be the bigger man on this issue. I am not going to be the epicenter of a 3 ring circus. I mean “Shut the fuck up... “shut the fuck up until you’ve actually SEEN the film”? Come on man, I wouldn’t talk to you like that. You know those words directed at another man are... well... you know.

    But talking about movies before they premiere is the core bases of what goes on around here so I’m slightly confused at your remarks. However, to that point, my last comment was essentially critiquing your review, and not so much the movie. Maybe that’s our problems. As I implied, if you had not incorporated your personal feelings about nudity and dicks, and thus, giving the impression of minimizing the subject matter of the film in question, then the only thing left to talk about would have been the film, but you didn’t do that. I said your “review” was slanted in that it pandered to a particular crowd. And, as noted, some came back by to agree with your sentiments before THEY have seen the film.

    So, even though you called my feedback a rant, I am going to stand on my opinion, while I bow to your wishes.

    Btw, I am sure they are those who will agree with my overall assessment because when I look at your following statement, I still see a gross case of minimization, justifications, double standards and moving the goal post -- HERE----> “In “Shame” there’s very little actual nudity. In what may be the film’s most *explicit* scene, a threesome, the way it’s shot, all you see is skin - a nipple, a thigh, a back, a butt, faces seemingly in various stages of ecstasy”

    Yeah, I caught your drift. I'm shakin' it over here boss and "giving my fingers a rest"

  • Neziah | October 7, 2011 2:20 AMReply

    Nice review, Tambay. Can't wait to see the film. I know I've said that a million times on here, but still....

  • Kia | October 7, 2011 2:14 AMReply

    Loved you hook Tambay(I vomited this out! Very Insightful review. Some may think you revealed too much, but you could have given away all the secrets and I still would want to see this film. Glad to hear he left the ending ambiguous. Maybe the character doesn't know why he's addicted--some ppl are just sex fiends.

  • tambay | October 7, 2011 1:19 AMReply

    @ Carey - You know, it's getting more and more difficult to tolerate your rants about a film you haven't even seen! Your biases and prejudices are glaring! And, at this point, I'd strongly suggest you give your fingers a rest and shut the fuck up until you've actually SEEN the film, and then we can have this discussion.

    There's something called the power of suggestion. You may be familiar with it. Or maybe not, I don't know.

    In "Shame" there's very little actual nudity. In what may be the film's most *explicit* scene, a threesome, the way it's shot, all you see is skin - a nipple, a thigh, a back, a butt, faces seemingly in various stages of ecstasy; You catch my drift?

    It's all in the suggestion. You, the audience, fill in what's not seen and/or said. That's how the majority of the sex scenes in this are shot!

    You said: "I’d bet my last dollar it was some shockingly nasty shit that we ALL don’t do."

    Am I really to take that seriously? Some "shockingly nasty shit?" Like what? You've seen the film?

    But that aside, I'm FULLY willing to take that bet, so if you're willing to make it, let's talk dollars! I've got my wallet on the table, open...

    And if not, then, again, zip it, watch the film (whenever it makes it out to where you are), and then come back and maybe we can actually have a substantive informed discussion.

    And if you're planning to respond to this, regurgitating the same shit you've been spewing for the last month or so on these "Shame" posts, don't bother.

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