7.2/10
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Shame (2011)

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

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ON DISC
A man's carefully cultivated private life is disrupted when his sister arrives for an indefinite stay.

Director:

Steve McQueen
Reviews
Popularity
611 ( 218)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 49 wins & 89 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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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK

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:

$349,519, 4 December 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,000,304, 22 April 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in 25 days. See more »

Goofs

The healing progress of Brandon's bruise on the cheek is completely random. Sometimes it's almost open and bloody, sometimes it's almost closed. At most only a few days pass between him receiving it and the last scene. See more »

Quotes

Sissy Sullivan: I'm trying, I'm trying to help you.
Brandon Sullivan: How are you helping me, huh? How are you helping me? How are you helping me? Huh? Look at me. You come in here and you're a weight on me. Do you understand me? You're a burden. You're just dragging me down. How are you helping me? You can't even clean up after yourself. Stop playing the victim.
Sissy Sullivan: I'm not playing the victim. If I left, I would never hear from you again. Don't you think that's sad? Don't you think that's sad? You're my brother.
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

New York, New York
Written by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Published by EMI United Partnership Ltd (c) 1977
Performed by Carey Mulligan
Piano played by Liz Caplan
Arranged and produced by Stephen Oremus
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User Reviews

 
Addiction up close and personal
15 January 2012 | by moviemanMASee 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.


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