Shame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shame Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2017
Shame is provocative, seductive and unforgettable. Wow. This was an outstanding film in both the acting and technical categories. I warn you, this is a heavy film and is 18 rated for a reason. Naked bodies left, right and centre. This is an uneasy story about the nature of need, being desired by other people and actually wanting to matter in life. We follow a middle aged man who lives a precarious yet carefully managed lifestyle. His sister comes along and he is unable to control it. Both of their lives spiral out of control. Brandon's addiction for sex and pleasure becomes unbearable as he does whatever he can to fulfil his requirements. Sissy's love life is unrepairable and she relies on Brandon to try and help her, but he views her as a burden. The consequences are horrifying to watch, this is an extremely powerful drama. We do not hate either of these characters. We may not understand them fully but instead we empathise with them. These are dark moments in their lives and yet the phenomenal portrayals by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan convey a type of depression to an extent. Sex addiction, or any addiction, can and will destroy parts of your life. Social, career, family...all these important elements slowly crumbling away due to something that you just cannot control. The inner torment that Fassbender is able to express was palpable, sheer masterclass in acting. Director Steve McQueen was the standout. This was the very definition of confident filmmaking. So many long takes where the characters just come alive on screen. A 2/3 minute shot of Mulligan singing to then cut to a 2/3 minute shot of Fassbender becoming emotional. A technically perfect tracking shot of Fassbender jogging down a street. A 5 minute take where Fassbender is on a date. I was in awe of McQueen's style, adored every scene. The ending may not have been as hard hitting as I had hoped for, but still poignant nonetheless. A delicate subject matter explored thoroughly and intricately, driven by fantastic performances and perfect directing. Loved it.
June 16, 2017
This movie hit the nail on the head for me. This subject matter is extremely relatable to a lot I would imagine. The performance was top notch and though the story took a dramatic turn of events, I couldn't help but cry over a similar experience. We all strive for that human connection, but when do we get it really? One out of 50 experiences? The movie does something very well no other movie did in a while. It shows, it doesn't tell. It uses dialogue but says more without. Truly a masterpiece.
½ May 30, 2017
I first heard about this movie not because of how good or bad it is, but because of its explicit sexual content. What I was more intrigued by was the cast of Michael Fassbender and one of my favorite actresses Carey Mulligan. Pair that duo with the great Steve McQueen behind the camera and you completely have my interest. Throughout the film there is a calm tone paired with the subject matter to really balance out the film. Fassbender is powerful in this role as a man struggling with sex addiction, and Mulligan is almost as good in the role of Fassbender's sister. I really loved the pacing and cinematography of the film, and there is fantastic character development throughout. There are a few moments though where I'm a bit lost, but I think it would be better with a second viewing. This is a powerful film with fantastic direction and eloquent acting.
½ May 20, 2017
The great thing about this film is that the director didn't take advantage about the rating of the movie to transforming it into a bad porn movie, Fassbender is exceptional, the plot is simple but it works
May 20, 2017
I have seen this film several times since it came out and it just speaks to me on a deeply personal level. "Shame" is a painful and sad film to watch, a disturbing and powerful story that delves into one man's darkest place and struggle with the sex addiction. Fassbender's courageous central performance is what makes this film unforgettable. "Shame" is a great film.
½ April 21, 2017
WHAT I LIKED: On the one hand, there's no doubt that this film receives typically brilliant minimal direction from Steve McQueen, an excellent performance from its two leads, and marvellous cinematography from Sean Bobbitt.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Whilst it occasionally achieves in building in-the-moment feeling with all that, sadly the film is left in as much of a search for soul as its lead is. Yes very little really backs up the long takes and beautifully constructed scenes, and once everything is all established, you're left with a genuine lack of engagement due to the sheer abscence of further character development or thematic exploration. You could argue that's down to the delicate nature of the script and direction of course, but unfortunately the true culprit really sits with the fact that the subtlety in what it's actually saying equates to next-to-nothing.
VERDICT: A well-directed film that just has so little to say once it's opened its pitch. 'Shame,' then, is exactly what it says on the tin - a real, crying shame.
½ April 16, 2017
Fassbender and Mulligan were great, brilliant performances by them. The movie itself was an eye opener for sure, addiction can be a horrible thing and this movie shows what it can be like in quite a disturbing way.
April 6, 2017
Story about two siblings who are addicted to sex and how its ruining both of their lives. I really like this movie. Michael Fassbender is just amazing and so is Carey Mulligan. The scene when Carey sings is heartbreaking and tells you everything about her character in 3 minutes. One of my all time favorite movies.
April 3, 2017
Michael Fassbender gives a seriously terrific performance in 'Shame', an explicit, raw, visceral and intense psychodrama about a sex-addicti man who is unable to have any kind of emotional relation with the people around him. As his sister, played brilliantly by Carey Mulligan starts living with him, his life spirals out of control. Steve McQueen isn't afraid to show how far the protagonist is willing to go to satisfy his needs;his direction really lifts the movei to another level. The colors, the use of long tracking shots, the music and how the camera lingers on Fassbenders' face and body, all of this creates a compelling and bleak look at not only sex addiction, but also at how, in our society, alienation and loneliness can lead to self-destruction. Fantastic movie.
February 14, 2017
I was half-expecting a puritanical parable about the tragedy of our modern sex-obsessed culture (it's more common than you'd think, even in arthouse), so I may be overrating it just because it was more morally ambiguous than that (which, duh). It was good though, despite some clunky aspects. Like I get what they were trying to say with the gay club scene, but it's easily misread as aggressive gay panic at the very least. Not as good as Hunger, but what is?
½ February 6, 2017
2 1/2 ud af 5 møbelbankere. Filmen er skamrost, måske fordi den byder på en del flot filmet (afholds)porno, men er i bund og grund dybt kedelig. Fassbender spller en liderbuk med følelsesproblemer, hvis velordnede tilværelse går i spåner, da hans neurotiske søster bliver nassegæst på ubestemt tid. Dét er handlingen (eller hvad man nu skal kalde det). Jeg havde håbet på incest med flotte nærbilleder af Fassbender og og Mulligan, men nej. Nul søskendesex. Så hvad meningen med filmen egentlig er, svæver i det uvisse.
½ January 31, 2017
Shame is a provocative and powerful film that explores the life of a man tortured by addiction, sorrow, and self-abuse. It draws a line between sex and pleasure, and the differences between the two. The directing and cinematography just pull you in, and are absolutely beautiful. Most of all, the film is held together by extremely powerful portrayals of the main characters by Michael Fassbender, who bares all, and Michelle Williams as his equally depressed and vunerable sister. It's a slow moving film, but not in a bad way. The film, like all of Steve McQueen's work is pure art and masterfully done. I was sucked in and couldn't keep my eyes off the screen for a second.
½ January 18, 2017
This film is beautiful and powerful in terms of cinematography. Every image submerges you deeper into the character development in a way that is harsh and all too real. You feel the addiction. You feel what it is to become numb. You are sucked into the desperation of each character. This film provides a realistic glimpse into a frame of mind more people need to understand.
½ December 13, 2016
Fassbender truly brings out the carnal human desires people may have but acts on it. Great directing and overall keeps you guessing what's this guy doing next and does it get any more shameful.
December 8, 2016
A ground breaking masterpiece that is done perfectly.
November 28, 2016
We all have our vices, our obsessions, and sometimes our addictions to aid us in the grappling with both the world and our psyches. But the protagonist of Steve McQueen's metallic, detached "Shame" (2011) has an unhealthy dependency that's beginning to take over his life. A sex addict unable to go a night without a lay nor a working day without a lunch break supplemented by a porno, he is without much of a life and without much of a sense of self: he only has a sex life and a capable body, everything meaningless unless surrounded by sheets and in the company of a willing woman.
In his past might have Brandon (Michael Fassbender) been a skirt chaser who found a certain sort of manic glee in his enviable ability to seduce the opposite sex. But now past his thrilling twenties and in the grips of a corporate job that's become flatly routine, being a deadened Don Juan is all he has - mixed with emotional damage we'd be safe to assume is the product of a mangled upbringing, he helplessly finds himself incapable of feeling anything unless it revolves around sex.
And so the bombastic crashing in of his damaged sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) at his steely New York apartment only heightens the war he's having with himself. More so emotionally scarred then Brandon is - she has a history of cutting and uses an obnoxious facade to cover up her perennial hurt - Sissy's presence forces Brandon to come to terms with what he's become. For the first time in years is his compassion necessary, and for once is there a woman in his life than he cannot abuse and lose.
But unlike most addiction dramas is there never a moment wherein the afflicted protagonist necessarily comes to terms with their dependency. "Shame" is a character study of such understated disconcertion that, maybe even like a Cronenberg body horror feature, its coldness is both a virtue and a setback. A virtue in its seamless paralleling of Brandon's own incapability to feel but a setback in its divisive way of keeping us at as much an arm's length as the women the latter gives himself to and then immediately lets go of.
Clear is that McQueen wants to craft a drama that lines its atmosphere up with its lead's disconnected view of the world, and in that regard is his co-writing and directing spotless and unnervingly perceptive. But "Shame" is such a comprehensively unhappy movie that I couldn't help but distance myself from it for the duration of my viewing - it's impossible, anyway, to get close to it, to try to understand Brandon and Sissy as much as we'd like. That aloofness, of course, is meticulously calculated. But sometimes "Shame" miserably sits in front of us instead of coming alive - it is a plateau of gloom, never to be cleansed by necessary catharsis.
An internal battle deciding whether the movie's deleteriously unapproachable or masterfully observant and knowing of tone overwhelms me, but no hesitation plagues me in the praising of Fassbender and Mulligan. The film finds imperious actors at the top of their game, with Fassbender playing empty with heartbreaking clarity and with Mulligan portraying emotional despondency with the distress of a cat clinging to the skinny branch of a tree that's inevitably going to give. Additionally is James Badge Dale, as Brandon's misogynistic, self-centered boss, all too convincingly narcissistic, and additionally is Nicole Beharie, as the love interest Brandon wishes he had but can't commit himself to, unmistakably tangible.
Perhaps "Shame" is the kind of movie that initially baffles me but eventually comes to be lasting in the mind, akin to my experiences with "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1986) and "Midnight Cowboy" (1969). But for now do I figure it to be uninviting and psychologically demanding, flawlessly conceived if a bit hollow. With the performances excellent, though, there's no mistaking it as anything but a character study that rings with an all too rare credibility.
½ November 21, 2016
This movie doesn't make you feel anything !
October 27, 2016
Stunning direction, it gave me the chills, Fassbender's performances is one of the greatest he has ever don, it's a really disturbing look of what sex and addiction is, but I can't help but love it.
October 15, 2016
A strange one glad I saw it but wouldn't watch with friends.
½ October 8, 2016
Much like Brandon's life; because of the movie's lack of character development with its main character and no real focus between either concentrating on Brandon's relationship with his sister or his sexual addiction, the movie gives a very empty expierance by the end of it all but an expierance I recommend seeing, if your into these kind of movies.
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