A sex addict's carefully cultivated private life falls apart after his sister arrives for an indefinite stay.

Director:

Steve McQueen
Reviews
Popularity
832 ( 172)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 50 wins & 93 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Fassbender ... Brandon
Lucy Walters ... Woman on Subway Train
Mari-Ange Ramirez Mari-Ange Ramirez ... Alexa
James Badge Dale ... David
Nicole Beharie ... Marianne
Alex Manette ... Steven
Hannah Ware ... Samantha
Elizabeth Masucci ... Elizabeth
Rachel Farrar ... Rachel
Loren Omer Loren Omer ... Loren
Carey Mulligan ... Sissy
Lauren Tyrrell Lauren Tyrrell ... Hostess
Marta Milans ... Cocktail Waitress
Jake Siciliano ... Skype Son
Robert Montano ... Waiter
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a review of this film in Art of Psychiatry, psychiatrist Dr. Abby Seltzer diagnosed Sissy as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. See more »

Goofs

When Brandon goes out for a run, the shadows of crew and technical equipment can be seen in the background. See more »

Quotes

Brandon Sullivan: If you had a choice to live in the past or the future, and you could be anything you wanted to be , what would you be?
Marianne: What would you be?
Brandon Sullivan: Well, i always wanted to be a musician in the Sixties.
Marianne: That's cool. Musician?
Brandon Sullivan: Yeah.
Marianne: Sixties it's tough though! I saw Gimme Shelter recently, you know, the Rolling Stones documentary?
Brandon Sullivan: Yeah.
Marianne: Kinda seem like hell!
Brandon Sullivan: What?
Marianne: Yeah, Sixties be like the last place I want to be.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in I Hate Suzie: Shame (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Rapture
Written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Published by Chrysalis Music Ltd (c) 1980
Used by permission
All rights reserved
Performed by Blondie
Licensed courtesy of EMI Records Ltd
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User Reviews

 
The grim life of a sex addict
2 December 2011 | by freemantle_ukSee all my reviews

Steve McQueen made a real impact in the film world with his powerful debut Hunger. But like with musicians, there is always the risk that a director's second film will not live up to the high expectations the first effort sets. Yet McQueen has a good go with his dark exploration of human character in Shame.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful and well off man living in New York City. He is also a sex addict who constantly picks up women, hires prostitutes, views internet porn daily and masturbates at any given opportunity. It affects his day to day life and he lives a lonely existence. His life is made more complex when his singer sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), a woman with obvious problems, crashes at his place. She interferes with his life, including sleeping with his boss, David (James Badge Dale) and sets Brandon off to tackle his addiction.

Brandon is depicted as a really despicable character, but he is a man struggling with an addiction. There is a number of sexual scenes throughout Shame, but there is no eroticism as Brandon explores more depraved and disgusting acts and his life spirals out of control. Shame plays as a drug addition movie, similar to Requiem for a Dream as someone struggles to give up something hazardous.

Fassbender offers a powerful performance as a dark, sinister man with strong interplay with Mulligan as he becomes threatening towards her. Compare him to Mulligan, a much more brittle character, on the edge for different reason. She gives a heartbreaking performance as a woman who does not know how to do deal with problems and has a sadness in her eyes. Their scenes were enhanced by McQueen's direction, using hand held cameras to follows Fassbender and the conversations stick to one point, making you feel like you are really watching them in a voyeuristic matter. This makes the movie more tense as the tone changes in an instant.

McQueen employs a grainy filter, giving Shame a dark, grim look which is perfectly fitting considering the atmosphere of the movie. The visuals have a similar feel and tone as other gritty and grim New York set films such as Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy and American Psycho, all of which follow the horrible underbelly of the city. He has shown that he is a great actors' director, but McQueen also had some great visuals, such as a long tracking shot of Brandon jogging and Brandon watching two people having sex in their apartment.

There are many moments in the movie that have little dialogue, relying on Fassbender superb abilities as an actor, particularly key in the beginning and during a long montage of Brandon wandering alone in New York, playing like a scene in the great novel Last Exit to Brooklyn. This is a movie about Brandon's continuing descent and self-sabotage and Fassbender should hopefully gain an Oscar nomination to back up his award buzz in Europe.

Shame continues McQueen's reputation as being one of the best emerging directors around, sticking to his no holds barred, brutal style which keeps a stage play quality to the presentation. Shame is tough, but worthy just for Fassbender's performance and keeps to a tradition of grim New York based film.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 January 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Shame See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$361,000, 4 December 2011

Gross USA:

$3,909,002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,123,767
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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