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9½ Weeks (1986)

Nine 1/2 Weeks (original title)
A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated.

Director:

Adrian Lyne

Writers:

Elizabeth McNeill (novel), Patricia Louisianna Knop (screenplay) (as Patricia Knop) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,494 ( 253)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... John
Kim Basinger ... Elizabeth
Margaret Whitton ... Molly
David Margulies ... Harvey
Christine Baranski ... Thea
Karen Young ... Sue
William De Acutis William De Acutis ... Ted
Dwight Weist Dwight Weist ... Farnsworth
Roderick Cook Roderick Cook ... Sinclair - the Critic
Victor Truro Victor Truro ... Gallery Client
Justine Johnston Justine Johnston ... Bedding Saleswoman
Cintia Cruz Cintia Cruz ... Whore
Kim Chan ... Chinatown Butcher
Lee Lai Sing Lee Lai Sing ... Angry Chinese Customer
Rudolph Willrich Rudolph Willrich ... Chinatown Shopper
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Storyline

An erotic story about a woman, the assistant of an art gallery, who gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated. Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Desire. Infatuation. Obsession. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

9-1/2 Weeks See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$328,804, 23 February 1986

Gross USA:

$6,735,922

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,735,922
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was initially supposed to be produced by Tri-Star Pictures. However, the studio dropped the film due to "creative differences" with Adrian Lyne and pressure by Tri-Star's co-owner at the time, Coca-Cola, to tone down some controversial material. As a result, the film was financed independently, and MGM stepped in and released the film. See more »

Goofs

When buying the bed John jumps on it, knocking over a vase in the background. However a moment later, the vase reappears. See more »

Quotes

Chinatown Shopper: [after Elizabeth asks to pack chickens] What...what are you going to do with them? Eat them.
Elizabeth: We are planning for the proper burial.
[laughs]
See more »

Alternate Versions

117 minute uncut and unrated European version is available on DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bab El Oued City (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Strange Fruit
Performed by Billie Holiday
Written by Lewis Allan (as Lewis Allen)
Courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Film About the Destructiveness of Sex Obsession
16 May 2010 | by classicalsteveSee all my reviews

I think most people don't understand this movie. This is not a love story, at least not in the conventional sense. "9 1/2 weeks" is about sexual desire and intimate sensuality run amok and becoming the monopolizing forces in a relationship, and the ultimate demise of that relationship as a result. Certainly the physical pleasures and sensuality of sex are aspects that make a relationship fulfilling and gratifying but they are not the only facets. A relationship purely based on sexual desire is doomed to failure. At first it seems like a game, but later on the intensity is too much for the relationship to withstand, largely because if love and caring are sacrificed for the sex, it will die.

You almost couldn't find more suitable casting than Mickey Roarke and Kim Bassinger. Roarke plays John, a sexually-driven finance executive who is not satisfied with winning over the woman he wants. He craves continual heightened sexual excitement from his "lady friend". And he uses subtle coercion to achieve his goals. For Elizabeth, played by Bassinger, John is the ideal lover. He makes her breakfast, buys her clothes, brushes her hair. He takes care of her in an interesting role reversal. But nothing is free. In return, John wants Elizabeth to be in his complete control and engage in sensuous sex games. And each game is more intense than the last.

At first the games seem innocent enough. He likes to blindfold her and play a touchy-feely game in which he introduces objects that she feels and/or tastes. But then the requests become more intense. He wants her to enact a strip-tease, to dress in a certain way without her consent, and to receive a spanking for being a "nosey parker". They have sex in the oddest of places, sometimes engaging in intimate contact in public. At first Elizabeth enjoys the attention and the excitement until she begins to lose the sense of herself as the relationship intensifies. And John eventually goes too far.

At one poignant moment in the film, Elizabeth speaks with an artist-recluse. Because her job is at an art gallery, she helps coordinate artists for exhibitions. When she finds him in a rural area, she asks him if he remembered that his exhibition is coming up. He replies that when he is hungry he remembers to eat and when he is tired he remembers to sleep. She has lost the simpler pleasures of life, and this old man reminds her of that.

Late in the film there is an interesting scene where Elizabeth's former boyfriend comes to the place she works--not to see her but he is now dating one of her co-workers. He's a plain man who does not have nearly the sexual allure of Roarke. But he seems kind and honest. Liz watches her co-worker and her former boyfriend leave and there is an expression on her face that speaks volumes: maybe she misjudged him after-all. For a moment, the two stare at each other from a distance, and you get the feeling that she was the one who left him. He is not the Mr Exciting that John is, but maybe he has other qualities that John could never have.

This is quite a stunning film, certainly not for all tastes, and some of the steamy sex scenes could be misinterpreted as being only for pornographic sake. What saves it are the incredible and absolutely believable performances by the two leads, Roarke and Bassinger which strangely complement one another. Roarke plays his character right on the money, always enigmatic, never raising his voice, but always mysterious. His character is always just outside of reach. He constantly smiles, even when he is noticeable disappointed. Basinger is a perfect complement as one of the few actresses left who can be vulnerable and elicit a willingness to be under control that you don't see in many female performances anymore. Despite what may appear to be pornography, there is a point to the film I think, and that is that constant sexual control and nurturing relationships mix like oil and water. In the end you wonder if it was all a game.


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