History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes


2002, Part 1

The History of Sex in Cinema
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

About Schmidt (2002)

Director Alexander Payne's R-rated drama included a landmark, infamous, much-talked about nude hot tub scene.

In the scene, divorced, sexually-liberated, free-spirited, middle-aged, and overweight Roberta Hertzel (Kathy Bates), the mother of the groom-to-be, casually stepped into the tub naked with recently-retired and widowed actuary Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson), the father of the bride.

Bates' real-life, plump, 'earth mother' body type was a strong and courageous contrast to the slim young ones usually exhibited on the screen.

Roberta Hertzel
(Kathy Bates)

Adaptation. (2002)

Director Spike Jonz' brilliant comedy/drama was often bewildering, twisting and turning.

It opened with the sped-up scene of the evolutionary creation of the cosmos and man from Hollywood (from Four Billion And Forty Years Earlier) to the present that concluded with the close-up of a childbirth.

Also in a fantasy scene, struggling screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) had the key-lime pie waitress Alice (Judy Greer) open her top for him out behind the restaurant.

In another scene, insomniac Kaufman masturbated while imagining having sex with New Yorker writer Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) from her picture on her book cover (while adapting her book for the screen) and taking her advice:

"I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something, is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size."

There was an obviously-doctored (and imagined?) topless photograph of Susan Orlean appearing on the pornography website of orchid thief John Laroche (Chris Cooper). Meryl Streep's against-type character Susan Orlean snorted lines of mind-altering, ghost-orchid green extract, getting high and committing adultery with Laroche in his Florida Everglades home, and at one point screamed at Charlie:

"YOU FAT PIECE OF S--T!...YOU LOSER. You've ruined my life, YOU FAT F--K."

He matter-of-factly replied: "F--K YOU, LADY. You're just a lonely, old, desperate, pathetic DRUG ADDICT."

(Judy Greer)

Amadeus (1984) and Amadeus (2002)

In this PG-rated Best Picture winner of 1984, Elizabeth Berridge portrayed playful Constanze Mozart whom the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) chased lustfully around and under a food table during his long-anticipated entrance in the film.

Amadeus (2002) - Director's Cut with
Constanze Mozart (Elizabeth Berridge) Half-Naked

A Director's Cut version, with 20 minutes of additional footage (considered superfluous to the main plotline), was released by Milos Forman in 2002.

The longer version was R-rated for its brief nudity and mild profanity - Constanze Mozart briefly displayed topless nudity in a non-sexual context, when she undressed (and became half-naked) in front of competing rival, court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), as a way to hopefully bribe Salieri into recommending Mozart's work for a royal appointment.

Amadeus (1984)

Auto Focus (2002)

Greg Kinnear starred in director Paul Schrader's compelling dramatic biography and cautionary tale of mid- Hogan's Heroes TV star Bob Crane (from 1965-1971). The film was based upon Robert Graysmith's book The Murder of Bob Crane, from a screenplay by Michael Gerbosi. It was edited in post-production to avoid an NC-17 rating.

Crane's self-absorbed and sordid life spiraled out of control due to his rapid stardom and a compulsive addiction to sex - a "very serious conflict here between (his) your lifestyle and (his) your career."

First, he hid "shady magazines" such as Nature Girls 1965 ("photography magazines" he claimed) in his garage, then frequented strip clubs, and entered into an 'open marriage' arrangement with Hogan's co-star Patricia Olson (Maria Bello) whom he eventually married. He also videotaped and took Polaroid pictures of nudes for a scrapbook, filmed sex acts, attended naked pool and house parties, and went about having a penis enlargement operation.

As he was describing (in voice-over) to an interviewer about why he had such a successful marriage, he was seen having sex with various partners, including a threesome:

"Three words: Don't - make - waves. As every sailor knows, when one set of waves meets another set of waves, it can set up some chop. And when three sets of waves come together, it can make for some mighty rough sailing. Also helps sometimes to have a harmless safety valve. So when I get tense, I blow off steam. And so, when it comes to my own family, I don't make waves."

In a scene set at one of the sex parties, Crane photographed a young fan (Kitana Baker), taking her picture as she said "Schmile!" while she lifted her blouse to reveal her breasts to him. He smiled and complimented her: "Really great." He then expressed, in voice-over, his obsession with breasts, during a visual montage of different sizes, varieties and shapes:

"I'm a normal, red-blooded American man. I like to look at naked women. I love breasts, any kind. I love 'em! Boobs, bazooms, balloons, bags, bazongas. The bigger, the better. Nipples like udders, nipples like saucers, big pale rosy-brown nipples. Little bitty baby nipples. Real or fake, what's the difference? I like tits. Who's kidding who? Tits are great!"

He frequently visited strip-bars, where he watched performers such as the Porcelain Twinz (Zero and Zen) (Heather and Amber).

Everything led, in part, up to his unsolved murder in 1978. He was found beaten to death in a Phoenix, Arizona condo - murdered when his skull was bashed in by the tripod legs from a camera that he used to make sex tapes.

Schmile Girl
(Kitana Baker)

(Amber Griebel)

The Porcelain Twinz Dancers
(Zero and Zen)
(Heather and Amber)

8 Mile (2002)

Curtis Hanson's gritty, R-rated semi-autobiographical urban biopic told about a struggling, mid-1990s hip-hop rapper and blue-collar worker in the Detroit area named Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr. (white song artist Eminem in his acting debut). The film was filled with profanities, many found in the lyrics of the performed rap songs.

In the film's extremely graphic sex scene (without nudity however), Rabbit and aspiring model Alexandra "Alex Latourno (Brittany Murphy) found themselves at lunchtime in his deserted, noisy auto factory plant - although clothed, she opened up her blouse to show her black bra and panties. He caressed her breasts (through her bra), then pulled his pants down and they engaged in sex standing up, with plenty of hot kissing and other action.

As part of the preparation for their intercourse, Alex licked her hand for lubrication and then locked her hips with his as they thrusted into each other. After he orgasmed, she giggled at him and complimented him: "You were so good outside." He asked: "In line at a lunch truck?"

As things turned out, Jimmy found that unfaithful Alex was cheating on him with Wink (Eugene Byrd) at a recording studio and beat him up (producing a bloody and broken nose), although Wink's allies, members of a rap group named "The Leaders of the Free World" retaliated against him and gave Jimmy a black eye.

He was victorious by film's end in a rap group competition with his group "Three One Third."

Alex (Brittany Murphy) with Jimmy (Eminem)

40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

Screenwriter Rob Perez's romantic comedy was semi-autobiographical, although mindlessly foolish.

In this flat and mostly unfunny film, San Francisco dot-com web designer Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) vowed to abstain from sexual activity and contact (including self-gratification) for 40 days and nights for Lent, although his roommate friend Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) considered it unnatural and against nature:

"The male was biologically designed to spread his seed, Matt. You're gonna piss off the seeds, man! You're gonna... It goes against science! You wanna be the guy who goes against science?"

When he became involved with dream girl Erica Sutton (Shannyn Sossamon), whom he had met in a laundromat, his friend worried that his sexual inactivity would label him as a "homo."

A notable erotic scene was the one in which Matt, to not break his vow, blew white flower petals across Erica's naked body (down her stomach and then across her panties) as she was lying on her back - it caused her to writhe with pleasure and experience an "immaculate" orgasm without being touched - although it seemed highly improbable.

Fantasy Nudity

In other scenes during his abstinence period, he imagined various women semi-nude (on a bus and in a street scene), as he became more and more obsessed about sex ("I'm seeing things! I swear to God, everywhere I look I'm seeing tits and ass") - he described his experience at the coffee shop: "This morning at the coffee shop they were unofficially sponsoring Hot Women Wearing No Bras Day."

Erica Sutton
(Shannyn Sossamon)

Femme Fatale (2002)

Brian DePalma's work was a compelling, film-noirish erotic crime thriller. The glossy film's opening theft of a gold-plated bodice (with diamonds) wasn't everything that it appeared to be as the plot twisted and became more complex.

The film opened with the blonde title character Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) reflected in the TV glass as she watched (in the nude from her hotel bed) the French subtitled broadcast of the film noir Double Indemnity (1944) - with its classic 'femme fatale' (Barbara Stanwyck) poised to double-cross her male counterpart in the movie's conclusion.

She then participated in a spectacularly sexy heist during the screening of the film Est-Ouest at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. One of the film's guests was Veronica (Rie Rasmussen), wearing a see-through gold-plated "amazing top in the shape of a serpent" encrusted with 500 diamonds worth over 10 million dollars. The statuesque Laure posed as a photographer and whispered in Veronica's ear to meet her in the ladies room before the show began.

There during a hot bisexual tryst of kissing, stand-up sex and stripping scored to Ravel's "Bolero," the heist of nearly-nude Veronica's serpentine gold-plated bodice took place.

The Sexy Heist in the Ladies Room Between
Laure (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) and Veronica (Rie Rasmussen)

Seven years later, the double-crossed partners tracked down Laure and the stolen diamonds - by now, she had taken the name of young suicidal, look-alike bereaving mother Lily Watts - the married wife of the American ambassador to France (Peter Coyote), living in Paris. She became involved with long-haired, in-debt Spanish paparazzo Nicolas Bardo (Antonio Banderas) when he took her picture without her permission and sold it to tabloids for distribution.

To conceal her former identity and to seek revenge, she manipulated and enticed him, first by non-chalantly stripping to her skimpy underwear in her Sheraton Hotel room in Paris (he asked: "Are you flirting with me?" and she replied: "You're so damn lovable") while setting him up for charges of stealing her car, and a second kidnapping-for-ransom accusation by the police.

She also enticed him ("Let's go do somethin' fun, want to?") into joining her in a sleazy bar. She asked him:

"Hey, how come you're the only man in this room that doesn't want to f--k me?"

She then performed a strip-teasing dance to arouse his angry jealousy in the basement pool-room, before making vigorous love to him (she told him as she bent over: "You don't have to lick my ass...just f--k me").

She 'awakened' in an overflowing bathtub from the film's major 'dream' when thrown from a bridge into the cold waters of the Seine River and became revived - completely naked. She recalled the skillful plot to steal the diamonds with a bait-and-switch tactic.

(Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)

Laure and Veronica
(Rie Rasmussen)

The Heart of Me (2002, UK/Germany)

This richly-appointed BBC drama by director Thaddeus O'Sullivan was based on Rosamond Lehmann's 1953 novel The Echoing Grove, and was set in mid-1930s London.

It starred Helena Bonham Carter as Dinah - the sensual, free-spirited and eccentric sister of the prim, dispassionate and proper Madeleine (Olivia Williams).

She began a sizzling, volatile, all-consuming and destructive affair over a decade's time (told in flashback) with her sister's handsome husband Rickie (Paul Bettany) - her brother-in-law.

(Helena Bonham Carter)

Irreversible (2002, Fr.)

Frenchman writer/director Gaspar Noe's hard-hitting, graphic, profoundly disturbing and violent film about rape revenge, was non-linear - it was told in flashback and reverse order in continuously-filmed takes, similar in structure to Christopher Nolan's Memento, with the theme: "Time destroys everything." The fatalistically-tinged film implied that the characters in the film were predestined (irreversibly) to face what would happen to them. It was noted for its excruciatingly-long, painful-to-watch, nine-minute anal-rape and real-time beating sequence.

It was also revealed that the film deliberately caused nausea, vertigo and unease in the viewer (and provoked many walk-outs) through two techniques:

  • the opening 30 minute's low-frequency bass drone (almost inaudible), was accompanied by a wildly moving, shaking, and bobbing camera
  • during the opening credits, there was an excessive use of stroboscopic lights (warnings were required to be displayed on the poster and DVD box)

In a Parisian pedestrian underpass lit by a reddish glow, beautiful and erotically sexual Alexandra (or "Alex") (Monica Bellucci), earlier seen being flirtatious in a revealing dress while dancing, accidentally came upon rapist/pimp Le Tenia/Tapeworm (Jo Prestia) beating up transvestite prostitute Concha (Jaramillo) in the tunnel. She found herself to be his new victim.

When she was assaulted by him, she begged to no avail: "Let me go." He ordered: "Shut your mouth, slut" as he threatened with a knife: "Is this what you want, slut? You gonna shut your mouth now?" He called her a "f--king high-class bitch," causing her terror when he stroked her face with the blade: "Stinking c--t. This turn you on, tell me?...You know, you're hot for a c--t."

He then lifted her skirt, forced her onto her knees to lay down, and then coerced her: "I'm gonna take care of you." He laid on top of her, covered her mouth, pulled on her hair and began to prepare to anally rape her: "Damn! You must have one tight ass." He untied her dress straps, stroked her bare breast, called her a "little whore," and threatened to strangle her if she didn't keep quiet. He commanded her to spread her legs, told her "I'm gonna f--k your ass...I'm gonna blast your s--thole," and then raped her while using one hand to cover up her muffled screams and moans.

As he endlessly thrust into her, he continued to call her foul names ("F--king high-class swine"), and asked: "You bleeding or you wet?" Afterwards, she attempted to crawl away, and he kicked her in the face ("I'm gonna fix your face, I'm gonna fix it good"), beat her with his fist, and smashed her face into the pavement until she went into a coma. He pronounced her "dead meat" when he was finished with her.

The Nine-Minute, Real-Time Rape Sequence
in an Underpass Tunnel

After that, Marcus and Alex's ex-boyfriend Pierre (Albert Dupontel) searched through the dingy underworld of Paris, looking for and eventually brutally beating the suspected rapist named The Tapeworm. There was the horrific, violent and vengeful retaliatory scene of a man getting his head beaten to a pulp with a fire extinguisher in a gay S&M night-club bar called The Rectum. [Note: The victim of the lethal beating, not known until later, was not La Tenia - who watched from nearby.]

Also earlier in the chronology (the film's final scene) was a love-making (or spooning) scene of Alex with boyfriend Marcus (Vincent Cassel, Bellucci's real-life husband). She had explained earlier to her friends during a subway ride the secret to love-making pleasure - it was a turn-off for a man to be too focused on a woman's pleasure:

"Sometimes, a woman's pleasure is the pleasure that a man feels. And if I feel that the guy isn't coming, isn't also feeling pleasure...if I sense that the man isn't also feeling pleasure...I can't come."

As Alex and Marcus laid together in bed after awakening, she described a foreshadowing dream of a red-lit tunnel which broke into two. She also said she was a few days late with her period (it was soon learned that she was pregnant with Marcus' child). They got up for a few moments and danced naked in the living room, then returned to the bedroom after Marcus told her: "I wanna f--k your ass" - almost the exact same words used by the rapist.

While sharing a cigarette, she asked: "What if I'm pregnant?" He smiled: "That'd be fun," and they laughed together as he kissed her nipple. Realizing she was behind schedule, she showered instead of making love. He kissed her through and then behind the transparent shower curtain before he briefly left.

She decided to perform a simple 'Nataltest' upon herself - in the toilet, she urinated on a test strip and it surprisingly revealed that she was pregnant. She pondered what it would mean as she sat on the sofa and touched her belly.

One of the film's final images was of Alex holding her swelling belly on a bed, below a wall poster of the foetal 'Star-Child' in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (with "The Ultimate Trip" tagline). The camera also soared into the blue sky, and then settled on her sunbathing on a blanket on a vibrantly green park lawn, where the camera then circled dizzingly above a lawn sprinkler as children pranced through the water.

Alex (Monica Bellucci)
with Marcus
(Vincent Cassel)

Ken Park (2002)

This was another controversial film from co-director Larry Clark, in which the director was accused of exploiting young teens and lasciviously filming unsimulated sex. Clark's film was banned in Australia, and never issued in wide release in the US. Its plot was about four dysfunctional, abusive families in Visalia, California and their teenaged skateboarders, with themes of teenage suicide and wild sexual experimentation. The film also included other scenes of graphic oral and masturbatory sex and nudity, violence, suicide and incest.

It opened with the suicidal death of red-haired, freckled teen skateboarder Ken Park (Adam Chubbuck) in a Visalia, California park, when he pulled out a gun from his pack and blew his brains out.

In one of the scenes, scrawny teen Shawn (James Bullard) made out with his girlfriend Hannah's breast-enhanced mother Rhonda (Maeve Quinlan). They both fondled each other through their underpants, and then after being excited and getting wet, she asked: "Take my panties off." He provided her with oral sex, too fast at first when she requested: "Slow." As he pleasured her, she removed her bra, and further instructed him to speed up by guiding his head until she experienced an orgasm:

"Go just a little faster. Yeah, that's it. Right there. Move with my hips. There you go. Oh, s--t, s--t. Good boy, Shawn. That's a good boy. Oh my God, keep licking."

[The image of the two of them engaged in sex was often displayed, in part, on the film's video/DVD cover and poster.]

She let him rest his head between her breasts. After she bathed in a tub (as he laid back smoking a cigarette in bed), she kissed him while massaging him (inside his underpants), when he asked: "Whose dick is bigger, mine or Bob's?" She smiled and laughed: "Yours."

In one controversially-graphic scene of auto-erotic self-asphyxiation designed to increase his own sexual arousal, death-obsessed, masturbation-addicted, sociopathic parent-less teenager Tate (James Ransone), who wore a T-shirt saying "Keep it Simple," choked himself with a long green dressing gown belt tied to a doorknob while he pleasured himself (to climax) watching Anna Kournikova playing tennis. He had earlier killed his doting, smothering grandparents that he was living with - murdering them during a scrabble game - also for purposes of sexual arousal.

The film ended with an idyllic sex orgy scene between a trio of teenagers (Tiffany Limos as nymphomaniac Peaches, Stephen Jasso as abused Claude, and Shawn) in which they were in both give-and-take positions - seeking refuge from their troubled lives.

Clark's Infamous Three-Way Teen Sex Scene Between
Peaches (Tiffany Limos), Claude (Stephen Jasso)
and Shawn (James Bullard)

The Suicidal Death of Ken Park

Shawn (James Bullard) with Rhonda (Maeve Quinlan)

Killing Me Softly (2002)

Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige's English-language film debut was this steamy, erotic thriller of sordid, obsessive, and dangerous attraction. It was a direct-to-video release with various versions (depending on ratings). The story was told in flashback, as the main protagonist brought charges of domestic violence against her husband.

The tale began in early 2001, introducing blue-eyed blonde and Indiana-bred Alice Loudon (Heather Graham), with "virtually no family and very few friends," who had been living and working in London for a year and a half in a "comfortable" and "safe" relationship with boyfriend-engineer Jake (Jason Hughes). She was a well-paid designer of CD-ROMs and websites for corporate clients.

On her way to work at a walk signal, she was love-struck by the sight of a handsome, seductive and brooding stranger. She trailed him to a bookstore, accompanied him in a car, and went to his residence (actually, the residence of his sister Deborah (Natascha McElhone)).

From behind, he forcefully grabbed her through her clothing and they engaged in heated and fiercely passionate love-making. He ripped open the front of her dress, pulled down her bra, and hungrily kissed and grabbed her naked breasts. Their clothes dropped to the floor, and he carried her naked into the living room, where they had intercourse on a red rug - she rolled him over and continued to make love to him. Afterwards, he invited her to return for more - "Whenever you want, Alice. You decide and I'll be here." In voice-over, she recalled the passion:

"I couldn't believe what had happened that day. I knew it shouldn't happen again. I wanted everything back the way it was."

She then found out his name and identity from a bookstore display - he was celebrity mountain climber Adam Tallis (Joseph Fiennes), who two years earlier had lost his girlfriend Francoise Collette when he failed to save their climbing group on a mountainside. She bought a book about the studly climber and returned for more love-making, begging: "Please don't stop." Although "perfect together," she impulsively left her boyfriend Jake ("I can't go on like this, I'm sorry. I have to leave"), claiming that she had met someone, leaving Jake "completely f--ked up." She risked everything when she moved in with Adam.

Alice's friend Sylvie (Amy Robbins) (who eventually moved in with her "jilted boyfriend") told her:

"You had somebody who loved you. You loved each other and you let him go for good sex. Love isn't just a good f--k, you know."

But Alice soon accepted Adam's marriage proposal, and they were married in St. Edmund's Church. After the brief ceremony, she exuberantly changed her clothes in the nearby church graveyard in front of an angel stone statue - and he took Polaroid pictures of her as she stripped naked ("I need to remember you like this," he claimed), before they went on a lengthy hike ("his idea of romance").

Alice (Heather Graham) in the Church Graveyard
Near the Angel Stone Statue (After Her Marriage)

The couple ended up in a stone cabin with a roaring fire - where he introduced her to bondage and displayed a fetish for erotic asphyxiation with a silk scarf wrapped tightly around her neck as they made love. He asked: "Do you trust me?" In voice-over, she recalled: "I gave up all control. I let him decide when I could breathe and when I couldn't. I loved it."

Meanwhile, Alice had been receiving numerous warning signs (that she initially ignored) about Adam's character: mysterious hang-up phone calls, an anonymous typed letter asking: "USE YOUR HEAD, ALICE - WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT HIM?" and a second more troubling one: "IT WAS A MISTAKE TO MARRY HIM." The Guardian's Magazine reporter, Joanna Noble (Yasmin Bannerman), who had written an article praising Adam as a hero, received a similar note: "What you wrote made me SICK - Your BIG HERO, Adam Tallis, RAPED ME - 20.10.1989. Why don't you Try reporting the TRUTH!", and Adam's character and his past were again called into question. The note also suggested calling the rape victim, Michelle Stowe (Rebecca Palmer).

Impersonating Joanna, Alice interviewed the victim in her apartment and learned all the details of the alleged sexual assault, to satisfy her own "innocent curiosity." Her curiosity grew: "I needed to know more." Suspicious and inquisitive, she opened a locked closet in Adam's bedroom, discovering a letter from Adele Blanchard, one of his past adulterous lovers who decided to leave him after "living on the edge." A third parcel delivered to her door (with the silk scarf) and a note read: "HOW FAR WILL YOU LET HIM GO, ALICE?" A search for Adele Blanchard revealed that she had been missing for eight months - and there were disturbing facts and similarities in Adele's life before she disappeared (there was a nude picture of Adele also taken next to the angel statue).

Distrustful, Alice began to fear potentially-violent and unpredictable tendencies in Adam's nature. When Adam tied her up on the kitchen table and claimed: "I'm making you mine," he wrongly thought that she had been with another man. After she confessed that she had read Adele's letter - he asserted: "I have nothing to hide, Alice." She gave her justification for checking up on him: "I just thought if I knew more, that I could love you more." He responded: "I could break your neck, I love you so much." She fled to a police station and brought charges against Adam, but without any evidence, her claims couldn't be acted upon. Alice suspected that Adam had killed his lover Francoise while climbing a few years earlier, making it look like a tragic accident, when he learned that she was cheating on him and was planning to leave him.

As it turned out, Adam was not guilty of any of the charges related to Michelle, Adele or Francoise.

In the tense and exciting climax at the snowy graveyard, near the angel stone statue, Adele's buried corpse was dug up. Deborah confessed the motivation for committing all of the murders - a combination of protective jealousy, incestual desire, and revenge against Adam's lovers, after he had raped her in the graveyard when they were kids:

"Who do you think gave him his first piece of silk? He was just 15! I'm talking about f--king, Alice. That's right. We f--ked right here. Adam is mine! He's mine!"

Adam arrived and fought off his sister, who grabbed a shovel to strike him in the head. With a flare gun, Alice shot Deborah in the stomach and killed her. "And that's how it ended," Alice summed up:

"Yet not a day goes by without at least one thought about the passion. Maybe I was so blinded by it that I missed all the clues to his past. I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn't looked up that morning. Two years later, I saw him once more. I don't know. Maybe a flatlander like me can't live at that altitude. Maybe it never would have been possible to sustain what we had. Maybe. Well, that's what I tell myself."

Adam Tallis
(Joseph Fiennes) with
Alice Loudon
(Heather Graham)

Alice in Bondage

Laurel Canyon (2002)

Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko's R-rated romantic drama featured Frances McDormand as Jane, a rock-music producer and a free-spirited hippie parent to her son, recently-graduated Harvard medical school resident psychiatrist Sam (Christian Bale).

In the film's opening sex scene, Sam and his strait-laced and virtuous fiancee Alex (Kate Beckinsale) were engaged in awkward love-making, consisting of Alex verbally providing specific instructions during his performance of oral sex - she ordered: "F--k me!" which then commenced, but they were interrupted by a call from her future mother-in-law. She orgasmed, but all he could say was: "I'm OK" as he sat up unsatisfied.

When the couple came to live in the Laurel Canyon section of LA, they unexpectedly found that Jane was still living in her house, although it was supposed to be vacant. Jane was experiencing a passionate romance with boyfriend/musician Ian McKnight (Alessandro Nivola).

The film included a threesome scene of Jane skinny-dipping with Ian and Alex (in her underwear) in the pool, with the two females sharing an open-mouthed kiss. This marked the beginning of Alex's shedding of her inhibitions. Another sexual trysting in a hotel suite's bedroom between the three of them was discovered by Sam, who was hypocritically enraged.

Meanwhile, Sam was beginning to have feelings for fellow resident Sara (Natascha McElhone), hiding their relationship from Alex.

(Kate Beckinsale)

Alex and Jane
(Frances McDormand)

The Magdalene Sisters (2002, UK/Ire.)

Scottish writer/director Peter Mullan's second feature film, a severe melodrama, was denounced by the Catholic League for its semi-historical depiction of religious and sexual repression in Ireland during the 1960s. Several of the actual victims of the Magdalene laundries in Sex in a Cold Climate (1997), Steve Humphries' TV documentary, were interviewed about their ordeal.

The docu-drama told a barbaric and scandalous story of three Irish girls, abandoned by society, cast out by their families, and treated as slaves at Magdalene Sanctuary run by the Sisters of Mercy. The "fallen" young ladies who had committed mortal sin were considered immoral, or impure (for being flirtatious, or for being raped or having an illegitimate child). Shy red-head Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff) was raped in an attic during a local dance by her cousin, and was incarcerated for naming her attacker. Unwed mother Rose/Patricia (Dorothy Duffy) gave birth to a child out of wedlock and was forced to give up the child. And orphan Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) was accused of being too cute as a smiling temptress and was therefore in mortal danger.

The trio of sexual troublemakers ("fallen" women) were brutalized, sexually humiliated, subsisted on bowls of oatmeal-slop, and lectured on the evils of the flesh by a group of Catholic nuns and priests in the prison-like confines. Soft-spoken saintly Sister Bridget (Geraldine McEwan) was actually cruel, callous, sadistic and tyrannical. The women were told that they could redeem themselves in the convent laundry service or workhouse, "working beyond human endurance to remove the stains of the sins" they allegedly committed, for 8-10 hours a day, 7 days a week. The three girls defied a century of injustice, lack of rights, dysfunctional sexual control, and no privacy to free themselves from the asylum.

The Humiliating Nude Lineup
Left image
Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), 2nd from left
Crispina (Eileen Walsh), 5th from left
Rose/Patricia (Dorothy Duffy), 6th from left
Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) 7th from left

Its most notorious scene showed a lineup of naked girls stripped as they stood before the cold-hearted nuns before tea-time. They were inspected and compared by various bodily criteria (the smallest and largest breasts, biggest behind, and hairiest private parts). One of the disdainful nuns chided, demeaned and ridiculed the nude subjects:

- "Some of you could do with cuttin' down on the potatoes. Arms by your side....Frances, you know, I never noticed before, but not only do you have the tiniest little breasts I've ever seen, but you got no nipples. Do you see that? It can't be natural, girls. We're all agreed. Frances has the littliest breasts, but who's got the biggest?"
- "I'd say it was Patricia."
- "No, she's just broad in the back. Turn around, Patricia. See, she's just big in the back. Patricia, you have a brickie's (bricklayer's) back. A couple of tattoos and you could pass yourself off as a navy (sailor). No, biggest breasts definitely have to go to Cecilia. Give yourself a round of applause, Cecilia. (Cecilia applauds herself.) Good girl. So we've covered biggest breasts, littliest breasts, biggest bottom. So that only leaves us with the hairiest. Crispina, step forward, and Bernadette, step forward. Stand beside each other. Crispina, get your hands away from there! Get them away. Bernadette, you have more hair down there than you have on your head. But the winner is... Crispina. Crispina, you've won. Why are you crying?"
- "I don't know, sister."
- "Well, neither do I. It's a game. Ah, put your clothes on, the lot of ya. It's time for tea."

The Magdalene Sisters

(l to r): Crispina (Eileen Walsh) and Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone)

Sex in Cinematic History
History Overview | Reference Intro | Pre-1920s | 1920-26 | 1927-29 | 1930-1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934-37 | 1938-39
1940-44 | 1945-49 | 1950-54 | 1955-56 | 1957-59 | 1960-61 | 1962-63 | 1964 | 1965-66 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992-1 | 1992-2 | 1993 | 1994-1 | 1994-2 | 1995-1 | 1995-2 | 1996-1 | 1996-2 | 1997-1 | 1997-2 | 1998-1 | 1998-2 | 1999-1 | 1999-2
2000-1 | 2000-2 | 2001-1 | 2001-2 | 2002-1 | 2002-2 | 2003-1 | 2003-2 | 2004-1 | 2004-2 | 2005-1 | 2005-2 | 2006-1 | 2006-2
2007-1 | 2007-2 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Index to All Decades, Years and Features

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