Tag Archives: sex

Nymphomaniac: Vol. II

5 Apr

‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. II’: Sad, porny saga by von Trier wraps up better than it began


The good news is that Danish director Lars von Trier saves his best for last, at least in his two-part “Nymphomaniac” about a woman with an insatiable sexual appetite and repugnant personal conduct. If you missed Volume I, you need to go back before going forward. To dive in without would be pointless. The rest of you tormented souls all know that Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) sits in the apartment of Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) after he has found her beaten and lying in the streets and she is in the midst of recounting her story of being “a terrible human being” from her childhood.

040414i Nymphomaniac- Vol. IIThe plus is that Joe’s flashbacks are closer in time to the now and Gainsbourg, an immensely talented and game actress, is able to play her younger self instead of relying on Stacy Martin, a ravishing but largely wooden prop who only seems to have a flicker in her eye when sucking cock. Gainsbourg too gets a workout – double penetration with two Africans who can’t speak English (she needs a translator to set up the sexcapade) – and goes into the loan-collecting business (for Willem Dafoe, almost as sinister as he was in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), in which her newly learned talents in B&D extract funds quicker than a brutal bruising.

But Joe does not emerge as any more sympathetic in this expanded chapter. She’s married Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf), the young man she targeted to take her virginity, and they have a young child, yet every night she leaves her child alone to sit in the waiting room hoping to catch the eye of an S&M master (Jamie Bell, aka “Billy Elliot”). The negligence is paramount, and the addiction ephemeral at best. Truly, she may just be the “terrible human” she professes she is; and yet with such condemnation onscreen there is no discernible greater contemplation. If there was, I missed it between the beatings and front and back entries.  Continue reading


22 Mar

‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1′: Graphic but not groundbreaking, and so far little meaning

By Tom Meek
March 20, 2014


Danish director Lars von Trier has always been a puckish provocateur and enfant terrible – and to some, worse, considering his Nazi-sympathizer comments at Cannes 2011 (for which he later offered apologies before defiantly taking it back). As a filmmaker, however, his genius has always been right up on the screen in the minimalistic, stagelike lo-fi style he encapsulated with the Dogme 95 manifesto. It’s not for everybody, and it can be trying, but for those willing, a von Trier film is an experience that boils down the human condition into provocative and uncomfortable pokes in the eye while forcing you to confront yourself.

032014i Nymphomaniac- Vol. 1The most emblematic of von Trier’s vast filmography might be one of his lesser-known works: the 2003 curio “The Five Obstructions,” in which von Trier challenges mentor Jørgen Leth to remake his 1967 short film “The Perfect Human” five times, each with a new restricting specification. One obstruction has Leth make the film in the worst place on earth (the slums of Mumbai) and another has him do it as animation (a form both directors detest); and with each new needling hurdle he lays down, von Trier grins with impish glee while shoveling mounds of caviar into his face.  Continue reading

Thanks for Sharing

21 Sep

‘Thanks for Sharing’: On the couch with three sex addicts, where we hear it all

By Tom Meek
September 20, 2013

Sex addiction is a strange and fascinating matter, but it’s also something that’s hard to comprehend and even harder to have sympathy for – because, after all, what are we talking about, someone who’s compulsively after the fruit of life? That’s like trying to feel bad for someone who eats too much sushi or chocolate mousse. No matter, the line between indulgence and addiction is a fine one, and while Stuart Blumberg’s “Thanks for Sharing” doesn’t quite get fully between the sheets of the matter, it does get us on the couch with three recovering addicts.

092013 Thanks for SharingThe tall and rangy Mike (Tim Robbins) runs a New York-based support group like a big papa bear, stern, avuncular and always quick with an answer. He may be the warmest practitioner of tough love. Mike’s addiction, while a bit vague, is more substance based than sexual in nature, but he’s been clean for some time and seems to have a solid home life with his dutiful wife (a radiant Joely Richardson) who’s obviously been through the wars (probably not to the same degree as Anthony Weiner’s spouse, Huma Abedin, but still) and opted to stand by her man. Then there’s his trusted lieutenant, Adam (Mark Ruffalo), an international financier with a primo high-rise condo in Manhattan. He’s five years sober and, because sex is so easy to come by, goes to painful extremes to truncate alone time with the TV and Internet. The good news is that Adam has met the perfect woman in Phoebe (a very toned Gwyneth Paltrow), though he’s reticent to tell her about his bug (sex is permissible; just not compulsive sex). Adam’s also taken on a new charge who’s a discombobulated mess: Recently terminated from his post in a hospital for sexually harassing a co-worker, Neil (Josh Gad) rubs up against a woman in the subway and gets court mandated to the group.  Continue reading