(Think that you can't rent movies at Netflix that contain legitimately explicit sexuality? Think again, my frustrated friend! In this special essay series, I look at a total of thirty mainstream films made over the last forty years, all of which contain scenes of such actual graphic sex acts as fellatio and penetration, reviewing them not in only in terms of the movie's quality itself but also the amount of sex it portrays, and whether this sex is any fun or not to actually watch. For more about how these movies were chosen, as well as the full list of all thirty titles, you can click here; and don't forget, these reviews are also mixed into the master list of all movies reviewed here, over at CCLaP's main movie page.)
The story in a nutshell: Pretty simple -- it's indie favorite Michael Winterbottom's nearly wordless look at the rise and fall of a relationship between two young, good-looking indie-rock lovers (specifically, a British climatologist and an American grad student), which instead of a lot of dialogue is framed mostly through the nine actual concerts they attend together at London's Brixton Academy. Well, that and the insane amount of hot sex they're always having.
(CAUTION: The above clip is work-safe, but racy nonetheless.)
What I thought: Oh, so charming; in fact, I think it'd be hard to be an urban-dwelling hipster and not be thoroughly charmed by this movie, in that Winterbottom gets all the tiny details of such a relationship right -- the goofy moments between two lovers that would cause eyerolls among anyone else, the sex that veers between intensely serious and romantically comedic, the various ways the couple interact within the 3,000-seat music venue during each concert, based on the way their relationship is going that particular moment. But that said, as many have now noted online, I'm glad that I watched this on DVD and was able to speed through all the concert footage in fast-motion; because the fact is that this aspect of the production not only takes up nearly half of the movie's finished length, but also has absolutely nothing to do with the film's plot, other than as mere atmosphere to help understand what brought these two together in the first place. As a one-hour silent film about a young couple in love, the film is fantastic; but as a two-hour movie that's half concert film as well (as those who saw it in theatres were forced to watch it as), it's absolutely too slow in many places, to the point of tedium.
What makes it an explicit movie? Sheesh, where do we start? Well, on top of lots and lots of close-ups of both leads' genitals, it features scenes of actual masturbation; and scenes of actual oral sex, both giving and receiving among both of them; and half a dozen scenes of actual penetration, in every position you can imagine; and even a shot of a real ejaculation, one of the first times in history that a mainstream film has featured such a thing and still received approval for public showings by the various film boards across Europe.
Is the sex actually fun to watch? Mai oui! In fact, this is in many ways the main point of the movie itself; that among young, good-looking urban dwellers, spirited sexual compatibility is often the only thing they need to make for a perfectly good six-month relationship. As such, then, I would describe the sex within 9 Songs as graphic but not pornographic -- or if you prefer, NC-17 but not X; it's certainly much dirtier than most mainstream films, but with the acts themselves being no crazier than you would find within the sex lives of most young hipsters. That said, the film does definitely include a few moments of legitimate pruriency that might give some audience members pause; for a good example, take the scene where the lead female does cocaine deliberately to get up the courage for anal sex, shot in a way so that one intimately understands why an otherwise sweet and sane girl might occasionally enjoy doing cocaine and having anal sex.
Strangest piece of trivia: The two lead actors deliberately avoided all off-set contact with each other during this production, so to not add complications to either their onscreen or offscreen relationship.
Worth your time? If you're in the mood for something both legitimately filthy and legitimately intelligent, very much so