382 user 486 critic

Shame (2011)

NC-17 | | Drama | 13 January 2012 (UK)
1:34 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life - which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction - is disrupted when his sister arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.


1,013 ( 51)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 48 wins & 88 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Hunger (2008)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.

Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan
Fish Tank (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director: Andrea Arnold
Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The relationship of a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman
The Dreamers (2003)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the '68 Paris student riots.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green
The Master (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Melancholia (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin
Black Swan (2010)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mari-Ange Ramirez ...
Lauren Tyrrell ...
Cocktail Waitress
Skype Son


Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon's world spirals out of control. Shame examines the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. Written by Momentum Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

13 January 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Deseos culpables  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$349,519 (USA) (2 December 2011)


$4,000,304 (USA) (20 April 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Despite the movie's $6.5 million budget, Fox Searchlight Pictures only paid around $400,000 to acquire its United States distribution rights. See more »


When Brandon is staring at Marianne through the office windows in close up she is on the phone in a sleeveless top. When the camera pulls away back to him staring she has a top with sleeves in. See more »


David: Listen, one more thing. Your hard drive is filthy, all right. We got your computer back. I mean, it is, it is, dirty. I'm talking like hoes, sluts, anal, double anal, penetration, inter racial facial, man. Cream pie. I don't even know what that is. Do you think it was your intern?
Brandon Sullivan: On my hard drive?
David: Yeah, someone's fucking with your account, man. And we're blowing our wad in cash, you know? It takes a really really sick fuck to spend all day on that shit.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No opening credits apart from the movie's title. See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Lucky One (2012) See more »


My Favourite Things
Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Published by Williamson Music, An Imagem Company
Licensed courtesy of Warner Music UK Ltd
Performed by John Coltrane
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Addiction up close and personal
15 January 2012 | by (Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

Shame, the real feel bad movie of the year, is only McQueen's second feature film to date. His first film, Hunger, focused on a man who made his life very public when he went on a hunger strike during the 1981 Irish Hunger Strikes. In Shame, McQueen dissects the very personal and often shocking sexual addiction of Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender). Brandon is a well off business man. He has an apartment in New York where he leads a seemingly good life, but hides a dark secret that is on the verge of destroying him. His sex addiction has gone out of control. To make this even more difficult, his sister drops in unexpected and crashes at his place (played by Carey Mulligan). Her lifestyle begins to interfere with his addiction, forcing him to take drastic measures.

Every waking moment is spent towards achieving one goal: orgasm. We see him smile, laugh, engage socially, but when he is alone he is focused, like a junkie going through the routine of drug addiction. Brandon's tools aren't lighters, spoons, and rubber ties. He uses prostitutes, Internet pornography, magazines, or his imagination. Even at work his mind wanders off, either at a passing coworker or something he has looked up on his computer. This is far from a private matter. His addiction is slipping into the open and he knows it. We assume he is aware of his problem. At the beginning of the film we see Brandon lying naked in bed, the sheet pulled over his private area. He lies motionless, only staring at the ceiling above, breathing in and out as if he knows that today is going to be a long day. We know he's not thinking about work. He has one thing and one thing only. Sex.

Most people associate sex with pleasure. I'm sure Brandon has at one time or another had a pleasurable experience during intercourse, but he is long past that stage. During a scene on the subway he spots a woman. She's an attractive woman. She's alone. Vulnerable. She eyes Brandon staring back at her. The two have chemistry. In silence they are mentally engaging each other. His stare never wavers, he just scans her up and down. Suddenly her face changes. She gets up, showing the audience her wedding band. We can feel her shame for flirting with Brandon. He gets up and stands behind her. He follows her out of the train only to lose her in the crowd. His disappointment isn't so much in relation to not getting to know her, but that he will have to continue his search for sex elsewhere.

Brandon is a tragic character. His only connection with people is linked with sex. How will this person help or interfere with me reaching my goal of orgasm? Brandon's limit's knows no bounds. Fassbender, who also appeared in McQueen's Hunger, gives a fascinating performance. It is fearless both in the sense that it is a physically challenging role and that he accomplishes the role with such honesty. He could have played it like some debonair businessman just looking to score. Fassbender knows that his character is truly disturbed. He knows that if people found out about his condition he would be ostracized. He also knows that he needs help and won't get it. All of these factors come into play and create an incredible performance. Much like Gosling pulled off in Drive, Fassbender uses his eyes and body language to express how he feels.

Pain is a word often associated with addiction. We see videos of addicts going through withdrawals in health class. They kick, scream, shake, vomit. Evidence of a sickness in the body. Fassbender's character also shows great pain and uneasiness. During times of sheer euphoria, at least for a normal person, Fassbender gives us pain and suffering. He can't help what he's doing but he needs it to stay normal.

Along with Fassbender is Mulligan, another one of today's rising stars. Her character is rebellious, dependent, and loving. She wants nothing more than to find someone to care for her and to spend time with her brother. Her brother is too involved with his addiction and her taste in men and willingness to fall in love with them brings her down even more. She plays a girl on the edge of a breakdown and really shines on screen. Like Fassbender, she gives her all for the role, exposing her true colors.

In just two films McQueen has established himself as a major player in the art house scene. Both films are festival favorites with critical praise, but the general public isn't ready for his heavy storytelling. With hope (and some financial backing) he will continue to make the films he wants to make and hopefully garner enough praise here in the states to win over more of the public. It's going to be hard if he keeps getting NC-17 ratings.

247 of 309 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
incest? ladymargreat-168-127637
This or Blue Valentine? SimpleFilmReviews
Why is the movie not categorized into the Porno Genre?? erikkartmann
American Psycho christianaugustandersen
What was Brandon ashamed of? gordonator
Is he crying at the end of the threesome? Ukmaster333
Discuss Shame (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: