• R, 1 hr. 51 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Louis Malle
    On DVD:
    Nov 17, 1998
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Damage
    3 minutes 32 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008


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Damage Reviews

Page 1 of 16

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2007
I remember seeing Damage ages ago, but I'm not sure why I feel like reviewing it just now. Meh, there must be a reason for my remembering it after so long.

I don't feel getting into the details of the story is enough to draw someone to the film because if it does, it might be for the wrong reasons... Every plot specification seems so small in comparison to the towering human drama unfolding. Damage is really about two people who, for whatever reason, just need something forbidden and hurtful to feel alive. It is as though their lives made them so unmotivated and sad that they need anything, even pain, to overcome that sadness. Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche's characters are forbidden to have a relationship, sexual or not, and yet they simply have to, against all circumstances, aware of the gigantic risks involved.

Probably, both characters ask themselves, what do those risks even really mean? Would it really be so terrible? Regardless of the fact that in the end the consequences really do prove terrible, theirs is an understandable situation, if only from their points of view. Both characters seem, and are damaged for various reasons, and their salvation seems to be more damage. A collision of pain that only between them can become pleasure. It's exhausting to watch this film, I remember that. But it's beautiful because it portrays how vital intimacy and understanding between humans is, and how enriching it can be. I mean, what do we live off, how do we give our lives meaning without relationships? We need to communicate, to put in common our experiences and fears and desires in order to evolve and enrich ourselves. How it happens in Damage is sad and pathetic but it's still crucial.

Miranda Richardson is great. She's just great. Juliette Binoche bothered me a little, but perhaps it was her incomprehensible character. Jeremy Irons, well, I can never say anything bad about him... here he is intense, damaged, and totally made stupid by his desperation. Just perfect.

Finally... erotic yes. sexy, oh my god, no.

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2008
Another great movie by Louis Malle, Irons is great as always
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 5, 2006

Super Reviewer

February 13, 2008
more later
Critique Threatt
Critique Threatt

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2010
Louis Malle's "Damage" basic premise is about an older man who is sexually attracted to a younger woman, both partners engage in an intense, erotic sexual relationship. Malle makes "Damage" more complex and more intriguing I couldn't help but be amazed as to what will happen next.

Jeremy Irons(who sort of reminds me of Daniel Day-Lewis) is just right for the role as the British government minister Dr. Stephen Fleming and so is Juliette Binoche as the dark, quiet very exotic Anna Barton. Some may felt the film's tone is slow and boring. Not me. "Damage" kept me locked in from start to finish. It is quite a great movie film lovers have to see.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

October 28, 2009
There is a lack of originality in this and it drags on quite bit.

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2009
Damage is one of the most deeply emotionally films I've seen,a true masterpiece of passion. The love scenes are hot, to say the least, and I'll never be able to look at Julliet Binochet again without remembering her in those scenes. Jeremy Irons does incredible work here,I love this gentleman acting, actually he steals the film with some over the top acting. However, it's Julliet Binochet who anchors this fine movie with her performance and her strong and quite impressive presence. I simply couldn't take my eyes off her whenever she was on screen for a simple reason: she was awesome.

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2007
Superb film, powerful and intense.
March 28, 2009
While I fail to completely understand the attraction Anna has for Stephen, and the sex scenes are overdramatic, this is a very well-made and well-directed film. There are some great lines throughout and much depth of both character and plot.
September 21, 2007
This dark tragedy captures the essence of human failings and lust. Acting is stallar across the board, and Jeremy Irons is fabulous.
September 4, 2007
Deeply disturbing love story about a man's obession with his son's fiancee ; stellar performances by Jeremy Irons & Juliet Binoche.
May 8, 2006
It was a strange film. Jeremy Irons is very sexy, but it was so strange to watch. The love scenes in the film were beyond strange, really not my idea of a good time, but hey I'd take Jeremy Irons any way possible. I would liked to have seen more character development for Irons' character, and not such strange mannerisms from Binoche. It needed more development all around. Plus a better climax and a much better resolution. But overall it was a decent film, by no account an outstanding film, but a decent one.
January 26, 2014
Damage people are dangerous.
December 17, 2012
The fusion of proper society and animalistic instinct make this film a sick and beautiful creation of what we know as "desire".
April 19, 2012
I was disappointed with Damage, particularly because the strong cast and positive critical reviews suggested it was something of a hidden gem in the world of cinema. Sadly, it fell short on many fronts.

Jeremy Irons, rarely an actor who disappoints, was miscast in this role, in my view. He plays a senior English politician with many years of experience, a wife and family. Anyone with any knowledge of the British political system knows it takes a very strong character, with willpower and the ability to resist temptation, to reach the top of the English political system, so the ease with which Juliette Binoche's character seduces and attracts Irons is unrealistic and annoying, quite frankly. Though Irons acts convincingly as always, his character is just wrong, and I'm surprised he took the role in the first place.

Binoche's character herself is also disappointing. Obviously, the director has aimed to make her as mysterious as possible, but there just isn't enough character development to make us care about her at all. Considering Irons and Binoche are advertised as the two stars of the film, their lack of chemistry and character development is a serious shortcoming in Damage.

More positive and memorable performances come from Rupert Graves and Miranda Richardson, Irons' son and wife respectively. Their characters are much more interesting to watch, making it a pity that they are only secondary in importance to Irons and Binoche.

That all said, the premise is pretty good, and their is some great direction from Louis Malle. Damage isn't a bad film, but it could have been so much better, Overall, I do not recommend it.
November 11, 2012
A completely devastating story in the way it unfolds before you.
September 20, 2012
A million times smarter and sexier than "Basic Instinct", which came out earlier the same year.
July 29, 2012
Steaming with heavy passion and taboos.
April 11, 2012
Why Passion Needs Reason

There's just something about Jeremy Irons, isn't there? I mean, I'm not even sure anymore how many movies I've seen where he is sexually obsessed with someone or something that he shouldn't be. Obviously, I don't know if this is true of the actor, for all he's been married to the same woman for just over thirty-four years. (And I mean that I am writing this the day after his anniversary.) But I think it more likely that it's a cross between his lean, ascetic look and the quality with which he portrays intensity. There's also a richness in his voice; he isn't quite on my phone book list, but it would definitely be nice to hear him directing a few of those impassioned words my way, you know? Just for the sound of it. Of course, we do know that he's willing to take this kind of role, which goes a long way toward why directors are willing to cast him in them. After all, you know that he'll do well at it, and with movies like this, who you cast is important.

Here, he is Dr. Stephen Fleming, a cabinet minister. He appears to have been happily married to Ingrid (Miranda Richardson) for some time. They have a teenage daughter, Sally (Gemma Clarke), and a journalist son, Martyn (Rupert Graves). One day, at a diplomatic function, Stephen meets Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche). There is an instant flare of sexual attraction, which is not hampered by the fact that she is in a relationship with Martyn. Anna calls him at work, and he agrees to meet her. They begin a heated, torrid affair, which continues even after Anna accepts Martyn's proposal. The only two people to see what is happening are two people from Anna's past. There is her first and recurring lover, Peter Wetzler (Peter Stomare), and there is her mother, Elizabeth Prideaux (Leslie Caron). Elizabeth tries to warn Stephen about Anna, but he cannot hear her. He cannot hear anything against Anna or against his own desires, no matter how wrong he knows them to be.

You can't help who you find attractive. The heart wants what the heart wants--as do other parts. What you can and should help, and what Jeremy Irons characters never seem to, is doing something about it. Stephen isn't stupid. He knows exactly how much this will hurt Ingrid and Martyn if they should ever find out. Or he would, if he ever thought about it. But he never does seem to think. Anna is probably well aware of what she is doing and how it will make everyone feel if it ever comes out. She isn't stupid or blind. What she is is deeply scarred. It makes her unafraid and unconcerned. Probably everyone in the movie except Stephen and Martyn sense that there is something not right about her; they are blinded to her flaws. Neither one can avoid the fate that they let themselves in for by loving Anna and insisting on having her.

I'm surprised this movie got an R. My understanding is that, in order to get it, they had to trim it some--a full minute. They don't show a lot in it. There's hardly any nudity at all. Most of the time, Stephen and Anna are so passionate that they don't take the time to get undressed. And when they are naked, it's mostly filmed so that you don't see anything too specific. However, it is quite clear that Anna is enjoying herself. (Juliette Binoche apparently didn't enjoy herself quite so much and walked off the set on at least one occasion.) And the MPAA has a thing about female sexuality. And while the movie is at least broadly about Stephen's desire, it is Anna's feelings which drive the movie, for all we don't find out about that right away. She, too, had the option of saying no to both Stephen and Martyn, but she didn't. Arguably, the movie is a story of mutual masochism.

As is usual in this sort of movie, the women are ciphers. Sally sees what is going on between her father and Anna, but she doesn't say anything--why not? At the climax, Ingrid is heartbroken, betrayed, but we don't know how she handles things. The movie leaves her. We know at least part of why Anna is the way she is, but there's got to be more to it than just her brother's suicide. Elizabeth knows about her daughter's scars, and she tries to prevent the things she knows must come next, but other than her own four marriages, we know next to nothing about her, either. Does Stephen's secretary, Miss Snow (Susan Engel), know or suspect what's going on? We know that Stephen is essentially driven mad with his obsession, but because he does not care what anyone else is thinking or feeling, the movie doesn't bother telling us.
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