When Is Sex Gratuitous?
Dean Keith Simonton, reviewing Ang Lee's film Lust, Caution, notes that "Although the story Lust, Caution (2007) centers on a heterosexual love affair, Lee pushes the limit in a different direction: Where Brokeback [Mountain] stayed within the bounds of an R-rated film, Lee thrusts Lust, Caution quite emphatically into NC-17 territory. The sex is not only explicit but brutal." Simonton later notes "explicit sex becomes far more artistically critical to the very extent that it departs dramatically from what we would usually expect on the silver screen."
When is sex in films essential, and when is it simply gratuitous?
By Dean Keith Simonton
PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(50)