Shame


Shame Information

Shame is a 2011 British drama film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. It was co-produced by Film4 and See-Saw Films. The film's explicit sexual scenes regarding sexual addiction resulted in it being rated NC-17 in the United States, where it opened on 2 December 2011 on limited release. Shame was released in the United Kingdom on 13 January 2012. The film grossed $17 million by the end of its worldwide theatrical run, including nearly $4 million in the United States.

Plot

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful and handsome thirty-something advertising executive living and working in New York. Distanced from his sister and seemingly without any close friends, he struggles with a secret sexual addiction. On a subway train he flirts with a woman and she flirts back. She has on both a wedding ring and an engagement ring, and when they exit the train, she disappears into the crowd.

His company's computer system has been compromised by a virus; in the cleanup, Brandon's computer hard drive indicates an obsessive amount of surfing extreme porn sites, one of which is probably the source of the virus. Although Brandon, who is driven to masturbate in the bathroom stall at work, is responsible, it is assumed his intern is to blame.

Brandon and his married boss David (James Badge Dale) meet three women at a club. Brandon has sex with one of them, the woman David was pursuing. When Brandon arrives home, he assumes a burglar is in his house, but finds a naked woman taking a shower. It is his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan). She works as a part-time singer who has a few gigs in the city, she asks to stay with Brandon; he later hears her pleading with her lover on the telephone not to reject her.

The next morning, at the subway station, Sissy is balancing herself on the edge of the platform. Brandon rebukes her, and in the brief exchange that follows Sissy persuades her brother to visit her as she performs at a club"?something that he avoided in the past. Later, Brandon is joined by an enthusiastic David as they watch Sissy singing a very sad jazz version of "New York, New York", which makes Brandon emotional. Sissy joins Brandon and David at their table, where David courts her despite Brandon's evident dismay. Sissy accepts David's advances and has sex with him in her brother's bedroom while Brandon, disgusted, leaves his apartment and goes out running. Later that night, Sissy attempts to sleep in his bed with him; enraged, he orders her out of the room.

Brandon's co-worker, Marianne (Nicole Beharie), flirts with him at work. On the way to dinner with her, he stops to observe a high-rise hotel, where he sees a couple having sex up against the window. The date becomes awkward as conversation steers on their affective differences: Marianne, who was recently separated, keeps a positive attitude toward commitment, while Brandon dislikes marriage and admits that his relationships have never lasted longer than four months. Brandon and Marianne part ways at the end of the night without kissing, each going home alone.

Sissy arrives at Brandon's apartment and accidentally walks in on him masturbating in the bathroom. He physically attacks Sissy, accusing her of spying on him. She then finds his laptop open on a pornography webcam site; the woman on the webcam is familiar with him and assumes Sissy is his girlfriend. Brandon slams the laptop shut. Disturbed and upset, Sissy leaves. Brandon angrily throws out all of his pornographic magazines and his laptop. The next day, at work, he kisses Marianne and then takes her to the same high-rise hotel where he saw the couple having sex. In the bathroom, he snorts a line of cocaine. They attempt to have sex, but Brandon cannot maintain an erection and appears heavily distressed. Marianne leaves, after which Brandon is seen having sex with another woman against the window. He stays in the hotel room and watches the sun set.

Brandon is home watching cartoons when Sissy arrives. Knowing that she is emotionally dependent and has probably called David, he tells her that he is disgusted with her and that David won't be seeing her again because he has a wife and children. He accuses her of playing the victim; she claims she never noticed David's wedding ring. He tells her she needs to leave, that he feels trapped by her. She says that they are family and are supposed to help each other, but Brandon accuses her of being needy and a burden.

Brandon then heads out to a bar, where he gropes a woman and blatantly tries to pick her up, making a variety of suggestive and provocative remarks to her. He ends up being beaten up by her boyfriend whom he has deliberately antagonised by making aggressive reference to his fantasies about her.

After he is denied entrance to a nightclub with the words "Not tonight", he notices a gay bar across the street and enters. He walks to the back, where several men are having sex; a man kisses Brandon and then performs fellatio on him. On leaving the bar, he listens to a voicemail message from Sissy telling him how much she needs him, and that they aren't bad people, they've just come from a bad place. He leaves once again to visit an apartment occupied by two prostitutes, where the three have sex.

While Brandon is riding the subway on his way home, the passengers are asked to leave the carriage due to an implied suicide further up the tracks. He frantically calls Sissy, but she does not answer, so he rushes home. When he gets there, Sissy, who has a history of cutting herself, is lying on the bathroom floor, having slashed her wrists. She survives and he comforts her in the hospital. After leaving, he collapses and cries in the rain. Some time later, Brandon is seen sitting on a subway train and the same woman from the beginning of the film sits across from him, this time he notices she is only wearing an engagement ring. He tries to look away, but she keeps staring at him and smiling. She stands up to leave the train and Brandon keeps staring at her. The train begins screeching to a stop. At the height of the noise, the screen cuts to black.

Cast

Production

Development

McQueen worked with producer Iain Canning on the 2008 film Hunger and they reunited to develop Shame with Canning and Emile Sherman's UK/Australia-based See-Saw Films. McQueen's lead actor in Hunger, Michael Fassbender, was the first and only choice to play the lead role in Shame. Actors Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale joined the cast in December 2010 to play the little sister and boss, respectively, of Fassbender's character. Screenwriter Abi Morgan was chosen to produce the script, making it one of two films she worked on with Film4 (the other being The Iron Lady).

Filming

Production was scheduled to begin on location in New York in January 2011, though Fassbender later commented in an interview that he just began shooting his scenes in early March. "I had so many passes I couldn't even tell you", said casting director Avy Kaufman, who faced precisely that challenge in casting the NC-17-rated film. Kaufman had a unique assignment from McQueen, who wanted top-quality actors even for tiny parts like Brandon's fly-by-night sex partners. "The idea was that those partners would propel the story forward with their silence, showing Brandon's state of mind, or even suggesting the history of their relationship with a look or a gesture. The actresses, of course, also had to meet certain physical requirements." A majority of the film was shot in and around Chelsea. The office scenes were filmed in the Citigroup Center and the hotel scenes and nightclub scene were shot at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. Filming ended late May for re-shoots, and post-production began.

Release and reception

Shame premiered at The 68th Venice Film Festival in the main competition. Fassbender won a Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in the film. It was also screened at The 36th Toronto International Film Festival, The 49th New York Film Festival, The 55th BFI London Film Festival and The 34th Starz Denver Film Festival.

Shame was released in the United Kingdom on 13 January 2012. Fox Searchlight distributed the film in the US.

The film opened in the United States on 2 December 2011 in limited release. Fox Searchlight Pictures paid around $400,000 to acquire the United States distribution rights of Shame.

US rating

The film was rated NC-17 (no one 17 and under admitted) by the Motion Picture Association of America for some explicit sexual content. Fox Searchlight did not appeal the rating or make cuts for the less-restrictive R rating. Searchlight president Steve Gilula said, "I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner".

Critical response

Shame has received positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 79% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 171 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10, making the film a "Certified Fresh" on the website's rating system. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus states: "Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 72, based on 41 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews".

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called Shame "a powerful film" and "courageous and truthful", commenting that "this is a great act of filmmaking and acting. I don't believe I would be able to see it twice." in a four-star review. Ebert would later name it his second best film of 2011. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, stating: "Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that's as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs."

Dan Bullock of The Hollywood News said "Shame is captivating and intensely intimate. McQueen has followed up Hunger with an unflinching and compelling film that explores the depths of addiction and the consequential destruction and demise of the mind and although it is sometimes difficult to watch, you won't be able to keep your eyes off it."

Justin Chang of Variety magazine gave the film a positive review, commenting: "A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, Hunger, this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation."

Writing in The New York Times A. O. Scott said, "[Director] McQueen wants to show how the intensity of Brandon's need shuts him off from real intimacy, but this seems to be a foregone conclusion, the result of an elegant experiment that was rigged from the start."

Donald Clarke of The Irish Times called it "the most wholesome film made about unwholesomeness since The Exorcist" noting that "the underlying current of Puritanism is, however, more than a little oppressive".

Home media

The film was released on Blu-ray and on the digital outlets in April 2012 as the first NC-17 film to be downloaded on the digital outlets including iTunes, with the exception of Blockbuster and Best Buy, which had a policy prohibiting the rental and purchase of NC-17 rated films.

Accolades

Date of ceremony Group Category Recipient(s) Result
2011 Seville European Film Festival Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Golden Giraldillo for Best Director3 Steve McQueen
10 September 2011 Venice Film Festival CinemAvvenire Award for Best Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Golden Lion for Best Film Steve McQueen
Volpi Cup for Best Actor Michael Fassbender
30 November 2011 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender 2nd place
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan 2nd place
1 December 2011 National Board of Review Awards Spotlight Award Michael Fassbender
4 December 2011 British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Best Director Steve McQueen
Best Screenplay Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan
Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
Best Technical Achievement " Editing Joe Walker
Best Technical Achievement " Cinematography Sean Bobbitt
5 December 2011 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
11 December 2011 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
12 December 2011 African-American Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Iain Canning, Emile Sherman 5th place
Best Director Steve McQueen
12 December 2011 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
14 December 2011 Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Score Harry Escott
16 December 2011 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
16 December 2011 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Top 10 Films of the Year Iain Canning, Emile Sherman 9th place
Best Actor Michael Fassbender 3rd place
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan 5th place
18 December 2011 Satellite Awards Best Film " Drama Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Best Director Steve McQueen
Best Original Screenplay Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan
Best Actor " Motion Picture Drama Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress " Motion Picture Carey Mulligan
Best Editing Joe Walker
19 December 2011 Florida Film Critics Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
19 December 2011 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
19 December 2011 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
27 December 2011 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
2 January 2012 Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
5 January 2012 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender
9 January 2012 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
9 January 2012 Denver Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
10 January 2012 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
12 January 2012 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan
15 January 2012 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor " Motion Picture Drama Michael Fassbender
19 January 2012 London Film Critics' Circle Awards British Film of the Year Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender
British Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender
British Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan
27 January 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
2 February 2012 Richard Attenborough Regional Film Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
6 February 2012 Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Film Steve McQueen
Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Actress Carey Mulligan
London Film Museum Award for Technical Achievement Sean Bobbitt
11 February 2012 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film Michael Fassbender
12 February 2012 BAFTA Awards Outstanding British Film Steve McQueen, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Abi Morgan
Best Actor in a Leading Role Michael Fassbender
17 February 2012 Kermode Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender
25 February 2012 Independent Spirit Awards Best Foreign Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
1 December 2012 European Film Awards PCA for Best European Film Steve McQueen
Best Film Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Best Director Steve McQueen
Best Actor Michael Fassbender
Best Editor Joe Walker
Best Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt
5 January 2013 Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics Grand Prix Shame



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shame_%282011_film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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