Sex, Love and Videotape

On movie sex and movie love...

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Beauty and the Beast

  • YEAR: 1991
  • DIRECTOR: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
  • KEY ACTORS: Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara, Richard White, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach
  • CERTIFICATE: U
  • IMDB SCORE: 8.0
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 94%

SEX SCORE: 3/5

✔️ As a film I’ve easily watched in advance of 40 times, it would be hypocritical of me to say it is not rewatchable.
❓ I want to fuck the cast in fantasy more than reality. Angry men in a scene, yes. Angry men in reality, no. However, Belle is an absolute babe. 
✔️ It did inspire fantasies. So very many. ‘If she doesn’t eat with me, she doesn’t eat at all!’ – do I have to say any more…?
❓ In some senses it is sex positive, mostly in the way it approaches consent, but love and sexual relationships are treated as something for adults, to be understood by adults- as Chip’s questions get brushed aside.
❌ A film with few female conversations leaves little opportunity to ascertain whether it passes the Bechdel Test. Belle is the only human female ‘character’ and only named woman in the film’s dialogue except Mrs Potts. Belle, Mrs Potts and the wardrobe (unnamed) have a conversation about Belle’s bravery for switching places with a man as a result of the actions of a man. Wardrobe also converses with Belle, but this time solely about how good she’ll look for a man.

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Little Mermaid

  • YEAR: 1989
  • DIRECTOR: John Musker, Ron Clements
  • KEY ACTORS: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Pat Carroll
  • CERTIFICATE: U
  • IMDB SCORE: 7.6
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 93%

SEX SCORE: 2/5

✔️ This is definitely rewatchable. And I have watched it many, many times!
✔️ And it does pass the Bechdel Test – she speaks to Ursula about more than just Eric and her sisters are named in their introduction song.
❌ I don’t want to fuck the cast. I’ve always had a problem with Eric’s eyes – I can’t explain it but I don’t like them – and Ariel is a child.
❌ And it didn’t inspire fantasies.
❌ But is it sex positive? I don’t think it can be – ‘Kiss the Girl’ is a song about avoiding consent and the villain is a queer-coded drag queen.

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Frozen

  • YEAR: 2013
  • DIRECTOR: Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
  • KEY ACTORS: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel
  • CERTIFICATE: PG
  • IMDB SCORE: 7.4
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 90%

SEX SCORE: 4/5

✔️ This obviously passes the Bechdel Test! It’s about sisters who have more problems than just men.
✔️ And it’s definitely rewatchable. And re-singable and re-laughable…
✔️ OK so this animated series is going to get kind of weird when it comes to this particular question but, yes, I would fuck the cast. Kristoff is hot and kind and feminist, and the princesses are beautiful!
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. I don’t have a princess kink and, while there is certainly something about snuggling up warm when it’s snowy outside, this movie didn’t inspire those kinds of fantasies!
✔️ As far as a Disney film can be, this is sex positive! There are important messages about consent and not rushing intimacy.

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Wonder Woman 1984

  • YEAR: 2020
  • DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins
  • KEY ACTORS: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal
  • CERTIFICATE: 12A
  • IMDB SCORE: 5.4
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 60%

SEX SCORE: 2.5/5

✔️ So let’s start with positives – I would fuck the cast. Gal Gadot is sublime and Chris Pine is my second favourite superhero-movie-Chris so, yes. Definitely yes.
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. There wasn’t really anything to fantasise about..
✔️ And it easily passes the Bechdel Test! Conversations between the Amazons in the beginning don’t involve men and Diana and Barbara talk a lot too.
❓But I can’t decide if it is rewatchable. I love superhero movies and I love Wonder Woman as a character so I expect I will watch it again, but will I look it out? Will I stop scrolling if I see it on TV? I don’t know that I would…
❌ And I can’t give it a mark for sex positivity. The only sex occurs between Diana and Steve when he was inhabiting another random body, which creates so many consent issues that they shouldn’t have just ignored them.

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Indecent Proposal

  • YEAR: 1993
  • DIRECTOR: Adrian Lyne
  • KEY ACTORS: Demi Moore, Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.0
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 35%

SEX SCORE: 2/5

❌ This fails the Bechdel Test – I believe that Diana is the only named female character, which isn’t really good enough…
❌ And I don’t think it is rewatchable. It simply wasn’t good enough and my fantasies of the premise are better than the film!
✔️ Despite their flaws, I do want to fuck the cast…except Woody Harrelson…
✔️ And it did inspire fantasies. Of being bought and being sold and CONSENSUALLY treated as an object!
❌ Finally, it isn’t sex positive. There was too much ambiguous consent and odd sexual dynamics to get a mark for positivity!

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Lost in Translation

  • YEAR: 2003
  • DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola
  • KEY ACTORS: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMDB SCORE: 7.7
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 95%

SEX SCORE: 4.5/5

✔️ This does pass the Bechdel Test, but not well – brief conversations that aren’t entirely directed at each other allow it to pass but I’d always hope for more!
✔️ I didn’t think I would but I do want to fuck the cast. Not individually, not in other films, but I do want to fuck Bob and Charlotte.
✔️ And I think it is sex positive. That’s more of a feeling than something that I can support with any evidence, but I’m going with it!
✔️ Although I had to think about it for a moment, it does inspire fantasies. Of making a connection with the right person and the right time, of finding the perfect stranger in a beautiful city…
❓But is it rewatchable? I’m actually only going to give it half a mark as I’m afraid that it won’t ever have the same impact again as it had when I watched it this week. Does it always feel like that good?

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It’s a Wonderful Life

  • YEAR: 1946
  • DIRECTOR: Frank Capra
  • KEY ACTORS: James Stewart, Donna Reed
  • CERTIFICATE: U
  • IMDB SCORE: 8.6
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE:  94%

SEX SCORE: 2.5/5

✔️ This is absolutely definitely rewatchable! It has become a Christmas classic and is on TV nearly every year…
❌ But I don’t want to fuck the cast. It’s old-fashioned without the charm that makes me wish I’d loved back then and Jimmy Stewart is just…well…old. Regardless of his actual age!
❌ And similarly, it didn’t inspire fantasies. It’s just not that kind of film.
✔️ Surprisingly, this does pass the Bechdel Test. It’s a relatively dubious pass, qualifying with snatches of conversation that aren’t part of the main plot, but it does pass!
❓But is it sex positive? I’ve been unable to decide. Maybe yes, because there’s no shaming or obvious judgement and there’s a pretty risque scene when Mary loses her gown, but equally women are treated as wives or nothing so…half mark?

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Happiest Season

  • YEAR: 2020
  •  DIRECTOR: Clea DuVall
  • KEY ACTORS: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza
  • CERTIFICATE: 12
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.8
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 83%

SEX SCORE: 3/5

✔️ Of course this passes the Bechdel Test!
✔️ And I would definitely fuck the cast. I’m pretty much entirely straight and yet I would still definitely fuck either Kristen Stewart or Aubrey Plaza!
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. I’ll admit that sneaking along corridors for secret sex at your parents house is kind of hot, but this is just too awkward…
❌ And the awkwardness means that I don’t think it is rewatchable. I’m not a huge fan of romcoms for exactly that reason and this is too much
✔️ But I will give it a mark for being sex positive – it’s queer positive and inclusive and, eventually, accepting!

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The Apartment

  • YEAR: 1960
  • DIRECTOR: Billy Wilder
  • KEY ACTORS: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine
  • CERTIFICATE: PG
  • IMDB SCORE: 8.3
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 93%

SEX SCORE: 4/5

✔️ This passes the Bechdel Test, although the site I use to check described its passing as ‘by accident!’
✔️ And it is definitely rewatchable. I’d even say that I’ve not watched it enough!
✔️ Just like Mad Men, it did inspire fantasies of being wined and dined in 1960s New York but they are probably not very healthy fantasies…
❌ But I didn’t want to fuck the cast. Although Lemmon is less sycophantic and more likeable by the end, he’s still not for me!
✔️ I thought a lot about the question of sex positivity and I’ve decided that it is sex positive. Even within the constraints of the Hays Code, the women are having consensually fun sex lives and any consequences are blamed on the toxic men rather than the sexually liberated women!

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On the Basis of Sex

  • YEAR: 2018
  • DIRECTOR: Mimi Leder
  • KEY ACTORS: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer
  • CERTIFICATE: 12
  • IMDB SCORE: 7.1
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 73%

SEX SCORE: 4/5

✔️ Of course this passes the Bechdel Test! It’s all about women’s equality and the women talk a lot about social change.
✔️ The rewatchable question is difficult. I think it is rewatchable as I’d like to see it again and would stop if I saw it on TV, but I’m not rushing out to see it again…
✔️ I do want to fuck the cast. Hammer is beautiful and Jones is impressive, and it’s a powerful combination!
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. I was envious of her 1950s lingerie but that doesn’t really count…!
✔️ Is it sex positive? This is a tough one as the act of sex isn’t really discussed but it is so positive about gender and women’s rights that I want to give it the mark!

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