Shame (2011 film)

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Shame
Shame2011Poster.jpg
Directed by Steve McQueen
Produced by Iain Canning
Emile Sherman
Written by Steve McQueen
Abi Morgan
Starring Michael Fassbender
Carey Mulligan
James Badge Dale
Nicole Beharie
Music by Harry Escott
Cinematography Sean Bobbitt
Edited by Joe Walker
Production
company
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • 4 September 2011 (2011-09-04) (Venice)
  • 13 January 2012 (2012-01-13) (United Kingdom)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £4.2 million[2]
Box office £11.1 million[3]

Shame is a 2011 British drama film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. It was co-produced by Film4 and See-Saw Films. The film's explicit sexual scenes regarding sexual addiction resulted in it being rated NC-17 in the United States.[4][5] Shame was released in the United Kingdom (UK) on 13 January 2012.[6]

Plot[edit]

Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a New York City executive, flirts with a woman wearing an engagement ring on his morning commute. She reciprocates, but when they exit, she disappears into the crowd. He masturbates in the bathroom at work. Brandon and his married boss David (James Badge Dale) hit on women at a club; later, Brandon has sex in public with the woman David was pursuing.

Brandon arrives at his apartment to find his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), a singer, using his shower; he had ignored her calls. Sissy has a few gigs in the city and asks to stay with Brandon; he later hears her pleading with her lover on the telephone not to reject her. After Brandon's company's computer system is infected with a virus, his boss discovers that Brandon's computer hard drive was full of pornography. David assumes Brandon's intern is responsible.

Brandon rebukes Sissy for balancing precariously on the subway platform edge. Later, he and David watch her perform "New York, New York" in a bar, which makes Brandon emotional. Sissy joins Brandon and David at their table, where David flirts with her and notices the scars of self-inflicted wounds on her arms. Sissy has sex with David in her brother's bedroom while Brandon, disgusted, goes running. Later that night, Sissy attempts to sleep in his bed with him; he orders her out of the room.

Brandon goes on a date with his co-worker Marianne (Nicole Beharie); Marianne, recently separated, has a positive attitude toward commitment, while Brandon dislikes the idea of marriage and admits that his relationships have never lasted longer than four months. They go home separately.

Later that night, Sissy discovers Brandon masturbating in his bathroom. He attacks her and accuses her of spying on him. She finds his laptop open on a pornographic webcam site. Brandon slams the laptop shut and a disturbed Sissy leaves. Brandon disposes of his pornography, sex toys and laptop. At work, he kisses Marianne and the two leave in their excitement; they begin sex, but Brandon cannot maintain an erection. He has sex with another woman against an apartment window later that day.

At home, Brandon tells Sissy that David has a family, and insists she leave. She says that they are family and are supposed to help each other, but Brandon accuses her of being needy and a burden. Brandon goes to a bar and gropes a woman; her boyfriend beats him. After Brandon is denied entrance to a nightclub, he goes to a gay bar across the street and is fellated by a man. After leaving, he listens to a voicemail message from Sissy telling him how much she needs him. Brandon has three-way sex with prostitutes.

While Brandon is riding the subway on his way home, the passengers are asked to leave the carriage due to a suicide. He frantically calls Sissy, but she does not answer. In the apartment, he finds Sissy is lying on the bathroom floor, having slashed her wrists. She survives and he comforts her in the hospital. After leaving, he collapses and cries in the rain.

Some time later, Brandon sees the same woman he flirted with before on the subway, this time wearing a wedding ring too. He tries to look away, but she keeps staring at him and smiling. Eventually she gets up and stands next to him, he looks at her, as he did in the first encounter, but does not stand up at first, and the scene fades to black before we know for sure if he accepted her offer.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

McQueen worked with producer Iain Canning on the 2008 film Hunger and they reunited to develop Shame with Canning and Emile Sherman's UK/Australia-based See-Saw Films. McQueen's lead actor in Hunger, Michael Fassbender, was the first and only choice to play the lead role in Shame.[7] Actors Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale joined the cast in December 2010 to play the younger sister and boss, respectively, of Fassbender's character.[8] Screenwriter Abi Morgan was chosen to produce the script, making it one of two films she worked on with Film4 (the other being The Iron Lady).[9]

Filming[edit]

Production was scheduled to begin on location in New York in January 2011,[8] though Fassbender later commented in an interview that he just began shooting his scenes in early March.[10] "I had so many passes I couldn't even tell you", said casting director Avy Kaufman, who faced precisely that challenge in casting the NC-17-rated film. Kaufman had a unique assignment from McQueen, who wanted top-quality actors even for tiny parts – like Brandon's fly-by-night sexual partners. "The idea was that those partners would propel the story forward with their silence, showing Brandon's state of mind, or even suggesting the history of their relationship with a look or a gesture. The actresses, of course, also had to meet certain physical requirements." A majority of the film was shot in and around Chelsea.[citation needed] The office scenes were filmed in the Citigroup Center and the hotel scenes and nightclub scene were shot at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.[citation needed] Filming ended late May for reshoots, and postproduction began.[citation needed]

Release and reception[edit]

Shame premiered at The 68th Venice Film Festival in the main competition.[11] Fassbender won a Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in the film.[12] It was also screened at The 36th Toronto International Film Festival,[13] The 49th New York Film Festival, The 55th B.F.I. London Film Festival and The 34th Starz Denver Film Festival.[14]

Shame was released in the UK on 13 January 2012,[15] after the limited release screening in the US that commenced on 2 December 2011.[16][17] Fox Searchlight Pictures paid around $400,000 to acquire the United States distribution rights of Shame.[18][19][20]

US rating[edit]

The film was rated NC-17 (no one 17 years of age or under admitted) by the Motion Picture Association of America for explicit sexual content. Fox Searchlight did not appeal the rating or make cuts for the less restrictive R rating. Searchlight president Steve Gilula said, "I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner".[21]

Critical response[edit]

Shame received positive reviews and has a "certified fresh" score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 196 reviews with an average rating of 7.4 out of 10. The consensus states "Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction."[22] The film also has a score of 72 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 41 reviews.[23]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called Shame "a powerful film" and "courageous and truthful", commenting that "this is a great act of filmmaking and acting. I don't believe I would be able to see it twice." in a four-star review.[24] Ebert would later name it his second best film of 2011.[25] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, stating, "Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that's as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs."[26]

Dan Bullock of The Hollywood News said, "Shame is captivating and intensely intimate. McQueen has followed Hunger with an unflinching and compelling film that explores the depths of addiction and the consequential destruction and demise of the mind and although it is sometimes difficult to watch, you won't be able to keep your eyes off it."[27]

Justin Chang of Variety magazine gave the film a positive review, commenting, "A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, Hunger, this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation."[28]

Writing in The New York Times, A. O. Scott said, "McQueen wants to show how the intensity of Brandon's need shuts him off from real intimacy, but this seems to be a foregone conclusion, the result of an elegant experiment that was rigged from the start."[29]

Donald Clarke of The Irish Times called it "the most wholesome film made about unwholesomeness since The Exorcist" noting that "the underlying current of Puritanism is, however, more than a little oppressive".[30]

Top Ten Lists[edit]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in April 2012.[31]

Accolades[edit]

Date of ceremony Group Category Recipient(s) Result
2011 Seville European Film Festival Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
Golden Giraldillo for Best Director3 Steve McQueen Won
10 September 2011 Venice Film Festival CinemAvvenire Award for Best Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Won
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Won
Golden Lion for Best Film Steve McQueen Nominated
Volpi Cup for Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
30 November 2011 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender 2nd place
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan 2nd place
1 December 2011 National Board of Review Awards[32] Spotlight Award Michael Fassbender (Also for A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, and X-Men: First Class) Won
4 December 2011 British Independent Film Awards[33] Best British Independent Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Nominated
Best Director Steve McQueen Nominated
Best Screenplay Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film Michael Fassbender Won
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best Technical Achievement – Editing Joe Walker Nominated
Best Technical Achievement – Cinematography Sean Bobbitt Nominated
5 December 2011 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[34] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
11 December 2011 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender (Also for A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, and X-Men: First Class) Won
12 December 2011 African-American Film Critics Association Awards[35] Best Picture Iain Canning, Emile Sherman 5th place
Best Director Steve McQueen Won
12 December 2011 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards[36] Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
14 December 2011 Houston Film Critics Society Awards[37] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
Best Score Harry Escott Nominated
16 December 2011 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards[38] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Won
16 December 2011 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards[39] Top 10 Films of the Year Iain Canning, Emile Sherman 9th place
Best Actor Michael Fassbender 3rd place
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan 5th place
18 December 2011 Satellite Awards Best Film – Drama Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Nominated
Best Director Steve McQueen Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best Editing Joe Walker Nominated
19 December 2011 Florida Film Critics Awards[40] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
19 December 2011 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards[41] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
19 December 2011 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[42] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
27 December 2011 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[43] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
2 January 2012 Online Film Critics Society Awards[44] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
5 January 2012 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards[45] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender (Also for A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, and X-Men: First Class) Nominated
9 January 2012 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards[46] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
9 January 2012 Denver Film Critics Society Awards[47] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
10 January 2012 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards[48] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
12 January 2012 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[49] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
15 January 2012 Golden Globe Awards[50] Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Michael Fassbender Nominated
19 January 2012 London Film Critics' Circle Awards[51] British Film of the Year Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Nominated
Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender Nominated
British Actor of the Year Michael Fassbender (Also for A Dangerous Method) Won
British Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan (Also for Drive) Nominated
27 January 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[52] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
2 February 2012 Richard Attenborough Regional Film Awards[53] Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
6 February 2012 Evening Standard British Film Awards[54] Best Film Steve McQueen Nominated
Best Actor Michael Fassbender (Also for Jane Eyre) Won
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
London Film Museum Award for Technical Achievement Sean Bobbitt Nominated
11 February 2012 Irish Film and Television Awards[55] Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film Michael Fassbender Won
12 February 2012 BAFTA Awards[56] Outstanding British Film Steve McQueen, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Abi Morgan Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Michael Fassbender Nominated
17 February 2012 Kermode Awards Best Actor Michael Fassbender Won
25 February 2012 Independent Spirit Awards Best Foreign Film Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Nominated
1 December 2012 European Film Awards[57] PCA for Best European Film Steve McQueen Nominated
Best Film Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman Nominated
Best Director Steve McQueen Nominated
Best Actor Michael Fassbender Nominated
Best Editor Joe Walker Won
Best Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt Won
5 January 2013 Belgian Film Critics Association[58] Grand Prix Shame Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Shame' (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (6 September 2011). "Who Will Take a Chance on Michael Fassbender's Sex-Drenched, Gruesome 'Shame'? (Analysis)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Shame (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Stewart, Andrew (4 December 2011). "'Dawn' tops sluggish weekend". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  5. ^ "'Shame': What the Critics Are Saying". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  6. ^ de Semlyen, Phil (3 August 2011). "Exclusive: Shame Gets A UK Release Date". Empire Online. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (7 September 2010). "'Hunger' duo reunite in 'Shame'". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Kemp, Stuart (9 December 2010). "Carey Mulligan joins the cast of "Shame"". Reuters. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (6 April 2011). "Film4, Focus develop 'Suffragettes'". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
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  11. ^ "Venezia 68; International competition of feature films, presented as world premieres". Venice International Film Festival. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  12. ^ Nikkhah, Roya (10 September 2011). "Michael Fassbender wins best actor at Venice for sex-addict role". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "2011 Films – Shame". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Cangialosi, Jason (14 November 2011). "'Shame' at 34th Starz Denver Film Festival". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
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  16. ^ Stewart, Andrew (4 December 2011). "'Dawn' tops sluggish weekend". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "'Shame': What the Critics Are Saying". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Young, John (9 September 2011). "'Shame': Fox Searchlight picks up graphic drama starring Michael Fassbender". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
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  38. ^ ""Take Shelter" Leads Detroit Film Critics Society Nominations!". Manny the Movie Guy. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  39. ^ "Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Name 'Descendants' Top Film of 2011". Indiewire. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  40. ^ "The Descendants, Michael Fassbender and Michelle Williams voted best of the year by the Florida Film Critics". Flix 66. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  41. ^ "The Tree of Life, 13 Assassins, George Clooney: St. Louis Film Critics Nominations". Alt Film Guide. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
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  58. ^ Triballeau, Charly (6 January 2013). ""Beasts of the Southern Wild" reçoit le Grand Prix de l'Union de la Critique de Cinéma" (in French). RTBF. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 

External links[edit]