A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Addicted is a steamy drama based on the novel by best-selling erotica author Zane. The main character is a sex addict who seeks physical gratification outside of her happy marriage. It contains elements of Unfaithful and Fatal Attraction, and -- like those two extramarital thrillers -- Addicted is strictly for adult audiences. Although there's no full-frontal nudity (many of the sex scenes involve partially dressed characters), there 's still a lot of graphic sex, ranging from husband-wife love scenes to an intense affair to casual encounters and self pleasure. One scene takes place in a sex club, and a couple of others show the protagonist watching pornography and pleasuring herself. In addition to the sex, there's quite a bit of strong language in the second half of the movie, including "f--k," "s--t, "a--hole," and "whore." There are also some scenes of domestic violence, references to child abuse and rape, and a moment when audiences assume someone is dead.
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What's the story?
In ADDICTED, Zoe Reynard (Sharon Leal) has an enviable life: successful artist management firm, beautiful kids, magazine-ready Atlanta home, and Jason (Boris Kodjoe), her gorgeous, attentive husband. But, as Zoe tells her new therapist (Tasha Smith), her life still isn't satisfying, particularly when it comes to sex (despite having sex upwards of two to three times a night with her handsome husband). Everything changes when Zoe's best friend/assistant (Emayatzy Corinealdi) convinces her to try to secure a prestigious, unrepped artist as her new client: Quentin Canosa (William Levy). Sparks fly the moment Quentin and Zoe meet, and it's not long before she's fulfilling her insatiable physical needs with him as her eager lover. But as Quentin and Zoe's relationship sizzles, she struggles with her overwhelming guilt and ends up indulging in even riskier sexual behavior, putting her job, her marriage, and even her life on the line because of her addiction.
Is it any good?
If all you're looking for is plenty of eye candy, this film will deliver, but don't expect anything more. A decade before E.L. James' sexed-up fanfiction 50 Shades of Grey became a cultural phenomenon, Zane's best-selling 2001 novel Addicted was the popular piece of erotica that launched a cable series and dozens of titillating novels. Mainstream America may not be aware of Zane's empire, but she's one of the most successful -- if also controversial -- black authors in the publishing world, so it's kind of surprising that it took eight years for Lionsgate (which optioned the novel in 2006) to translate Addicted from page to screen. Unfortunately, the result wasn't worth the wait, not matter how attractive the cast is or how competent their performances.
The problem with Addicted is the script; it's a weak adaptation that doesn't properly invest you in Zoe's home life (other than to make clear that she'd have nothing to complain about in the bedroom if it weren't for her own bottomless need) or her affairs. Leal is a talented actress, but in this she just basically walks around in her Olivia Pope-ish wardrobe thinking about or actually having sex. Zoe's addiction somehow gets worse even as she's under the care of a therapist, but it's never particularly believable, emotional, or heartbreaking -- like Diane Lane's affair was in Unfaithful. And speaking of Unfaithful (a far superior film), Levy might have beautiful eyes and amazing abs, but he's not nearly the seducer that Olivier Martinez was, and the former Dancing with the Stars stud doesn't have the acting chops to sell the brooding artist role.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how sex is depicted in Addicted. Which sexual relationships in the story are healthy, and which aren't? Why? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Why is sexual addiction a difficult subject to explore? Do you think it's taken as seriously as substance abuse or other addictions?
This movie was based on a popular book. Do you think steamy books are better off left to the readers' imagination? Why is it so easy for an adaptation to disappoint book fans?
- In theaters: October 10, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: February 10, 2015
- Cast: Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, Tyson Beckford
- Director: Bille Woodruff
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use
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