Shame - Strong and valid message

I got around to watching the movie “Shame” which is very controversial due to extremely explicit sex scenes. However the message of the film, that love and sex must be together are a very Catholic one. The plot is that a young executive played by Michael Fassbender is addicted to sex; pornography, one night stands and even a homosexual liaison none of which can satisfy his poisonous needs which are destroying him. The film emphasises that he takes no pleasure in what he does and leads him to indulge in more and more dangerous behaviour without any care for his physical health or his career. Fassbender plays a man in pain and we never see him enjoy anything about the life he has including the work banter which he plays along with without really participating in. Then his equally damaged musician sister arrives, played by Carey Mulligan and she shares the family neurosis, only she uses sex as a way of clinging to people. She craves intimacy while he despises it and indeed her for needing him. There are hints at a damaged past that are never stated but we don’t need that. We know that this lifestyle is making their lives worse. One conversation in a restaurant with Fassbender’s character talking to his date involves him asking her “Why do people need to get married?” He goes on to explain that he gets bored of people and has never had a relationship beyond 4 months. We think he’s lying…
I think that that’s the film’s skill; showing us that people who indulge in this behaviour can hide behind the mores and values of the hook up culture which is a lie. The Catholic church is the antithesis of this premise and God’s teaching on martial love are there for a reason. This film makes that abundantly clear; why everyone should follow these ancient laws otherwise we are on the road to disaster at every level; physical, emotional, psychological and most importantly, spiritual.
The film contains the most explicit sex scenes I’ve ever seen so be warned. However, it’s never titillation and it certainly isn’t gratuitous. I’m hopeful that anyone involved in the hook up culture will run screaming from that lifestyle after seeing this.

Doesn’t sound like the type of movie Catholics or anyone should be watching.

I absolutely agree!!

I don’t know that I agree, necessarily. I think much depends on the why and the how of the depiction. I wouldn’t ban myself from seeing all rated-R movies just because they may depict obscene language, or sex, or violence. In fact, some of the best films I have ever seen are definitely within the “R” category but do what the OP describes: use that material to tell some greater truth.

I don’t know if I would be able to see a movie like this. I am curious about it because it sounds interesting, but I would probably want a more edited version if possible to avoid discomfort. But should no one see it? Would it be a sin to see it? I don’t know the answer to that question.

I’ve heard of the movie, but haven’t seen it. I agree with the others though - I’m not sure I should see it, because I don’t think there is a way in which graphic nudity that is expressed in a sexual sense (as opposed to in a clinical sense) is not going to titillate me.:shrug:

Can you provide a spoiler, though? What happens at the end? Do the main characters eventually form committed bonds? Does the audience see that a rejection of self-indulgence eventually brings the characters happiness?

I think men in particular have enough problems with purity that inprinting sexually explicit images on the brain doesn’t help.

I can indeed. So if you are going to see it SPOILER ALERT

The Fassbender character seeks sexual gratification after he rejects his sister. She calls him distraught with a very telling statement. “We’re not bad people. We just come from a bad place”. She tells him that she needs him but he ignores her calls, craving depravity and finds it. On his way home, his subway train is stopped due to a fatality on the line. He listens to the voicemails his Sister leaves and rushes back to the flat. He finds his sister bleeding profusely from slash wounds. She then lies in a hospital bed and he runs his fingers tenderly on her arm. As he leaves the hospital, he breaks down hysterically.
We then see him on the subway and a girl who was wearing a wedding ring at the start of the film and was on the subway with him, now wears an engagement ring and she smiles across at him.

The ending suggested to me that temptation will always be there but nothing can be deduced, i.e. that he would change his behaviour. However, it suggests a closeness between him and his Sister that gives hope; that he’ll feel comfortable with loving intimacy.

I appreciate and understand the comments by fellow Catholics earlier. The imagery in the film is sexual but it has such a coldness and indifference to it that you couldn’t fail to be disgusted by it. I also share your concerns but it did make me feel sorry for people who fool themselves by living like that. It’s set in New York and it’s in big cities where this lifestyle seems more prevalent.

I think the real “shame” is that people in the main will see the message of the film to be about sex addiction. However anyone who indulges in this behaviour will not be able to achieve intimacy and won’t link sex with love.

I also think that the modern view is contradictory, believing that somehow disease and amorality can be overcome by being intimate with people “you really like”.
I do hope that there is a way of getting the message across that will make people realise that love and sex are only acceptable and righteous in marriage between a man and a woman with a view to procreation of life. I felt this film showed all the damage that casual sex does though. It’s unfortunate that people only see what they want to see.

I can’t seem to add any spoiler tags, if that’s even possible, but SPOILER ahead.

[SIGN]The main character finds his sister on the bathroom, after his night of debauchery due to some inner turmoil he has felt in the few days before. She apparently has tried to commit suicide, but she makes it to the hospital - just in time.

Cuts to main character on the train.

A person is starring at him, but is blurred out. The camera focuses.

It turns out to be the same young, engaged woman he tried to go after, but she “got away.” She is starring at him the same way he starred at her the very first time - with hunger. He smiles back. She stands up to exit and the camera focuses on her chest down, showing her engagement ring, almost like an attempt to mock and tease the main character.

The camera cuts to the main character. He has a stoic look on his face, not looking at the woman. As seconds past, and as the train doors open, he sits. She exits. His face starts to show sadness. He’s indecisive.

black out

Does he go after her? Does she become another sexual partner whose name he doesn’t know?

But should no one see it? Would it be a sin to see it? I don’t know the answer to that question.

No one? People are going to see this if they want to. Religious to non religious. I did. It’s a movie, make believe. Is it a sin to watch it? To that I say “Hogwash!” It’s hard hitting film that actually shows how impersonal and powerful sex can be. At the end you feel sad at the pathetic state of the main character and his sister. This is one film I say go and watch.

I think that that’s the film’s skill; showing us that people who indulge in this behaviour can hide behind the mores and values of the hook up culture which is a lie.

Correct, since there is no “mores” and “values” to the hook up culture. Besides consent, there is almost nothing to gain besides empty gratification and a new “buddy.”

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