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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Powerful drama about sex addiction is NOT for kids.

Movie NC-17 2011 101 minutes
Shame Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 18+

Heart wrenching, lonely and painful

It is a rare occurrence when the film's name properly fits the abstract totality of a film. This is the case of Shame which named based off of the trauma that the main characters are trying to control/dominate and ignore. The writing is strong and Fassbender and Mulligan are taking no prisoners in their portrayals of two young people that have a difficult time surviving in this world that has not set them up with any tools for success. Their loneliness is painful and heart wrenching...sex never looked so lonely.
age 16+

Fassbender is mesmerizing

Full disclosure: Michael Fassbender is one of my biggest celebrity crushes and favorite actors. But to be honest the crush comes first lol. My attraction to him aside, he’s excellent as the lead here. He treats everything with such sincerity. This film is extremely graphic but also very realistic about what addiction can do to a persons life. There’s many extreme sex scenes that involve rough penetration. One scene involves several sexual acts in a dark sex club. There’s lots of male and female nudity. Profanity is run of the mill R material. There’s also one disturbing scene involving self abuse, some blood is shown.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (5 ):

Despite SHAME's graphic content, director Steve McQueen (who also directed 2008's Hunger) presents the material in a respectful, artistic manner, favoring long takes and spare dialogue. This quiet, moody film focuses more on character behavior than plot or a conclusion. Rather than a stern treatise on the dangers of sexual addiction, McQueen's approach allows viewers to enter into the situation at their own pace and find their own emotional connection.

While the movie's erotic content stands out, McQueen creates many other, memorable scenes, such as Brandon weeping at his sister sings a slow, moving rendition of "New York, New York" in a nightclub, or a mesmerizing scene in which Brandon jogs down the streets of New York for long minutes, drowning out the noise with Glenn Gould on his headphones and trying to re-focus himself. In the two lead roles, Fassbender and Mulligan tread dangerous territory, and both succeed admirably.

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