Films & Television Reviews

Movie Review: Shame (2011)

shameWhat it’s about: In New York City, Brandon’s carefully cultivated private life — which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction — is disrupted when his sister arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

Genre: Drama

Rating: 18

Director: Steve McQueen

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie


Review: I didn’t make a planned decision to watch this film, I simply needed a film to watch and happened to stumble across this one on Michael Fassbender’s IMDB (Yes, I was doing a stalk, sue me) which I thought sounded interesting and a bit different. Shame is about a 30-something guy called Brandon who is a bit of a sex-addict and can’t control his sex life who gets thrown off course when his wayward sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes to live with him unexpectedly.

I loved the character development in this film which is a strange thing for me to even notice considering Fassbender is stark naked in a few scenes. This film focuses on the nature of need and how our experiences can shape who we are and it really does show. The main character Brandon is troubled and you can tell right from the beginning but you see him change and adapt throughout the film depending on his circumstances. Carey Mulligan is always a pleasure to watch and I was surprised to see she was in this film. Sissy, Brandon’s sister is a bit unpredictable and wild and it was a nice change to see Mulligan play this sort of character. Although all her characters seem to be a bit tortured, they’re also timid, whereas Sissy was the complete opposite and Mulligan pulled it off exceptionally well.

Brandon and Sissy’s relationship wasn’t great she annoys him frequently but she is seen as dependable on others for everything in life. It’s not until the very end, when something happens that could change things forever do they realise how much they need each other which I think can resonate with quite a lot of us. The whole, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ idea. I really did enjoy this film for a number of reasons; it’s not the kind of film I usually watch so it was nice to have a change of pace, the acting from both the leads was fantastic and you get to see Michael Fassbender’s bum (and other bits!) so if you don’t like the sound of the film, you should definitely watch it for that reason alone.


Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.


  1. I absolutely love this film. I was already a big fan of Fassbender and Mulligan, so seeing them together in a film with such a great plot and script was excellent! Michael Fassbender was particularly wonderful in portraying a man driven to despair by his ‘illness’. Great review 🙂

    1. Thank you! I loved this film too – was such a great cast and was nice to see Cary Mulligan in a slightly different role to her usual!

  2. Really good film. What happened Jenny, I thought you only watched bad ones!

    1. Oh shh….

  3. This is one that I definitely want to get round to!

    1. It was really good, hope you enjoy it!

  4. A nice review Jenny! I saw this film when it came out in cinemas as I’m a sucker for a bit of Fassbender and McQueen! I loved this film actually, I think Fassbender did an absolutely fantastic job of portraying a tortured soul, riddled with shame (excuse the pun!) and who ultimately can’t quit his addiction. McQueen’s films are always great as well – really raw and beautifully shot.
    This film also made the consider the taboo around the notion of being a ‘sex addict’ per se. In this day and age, addictions are so common: nicotine, alcohol, drugs, caffeine etc. Yet these are all seen as ‘socially-acceptable’ or at least they’re discussed more and they’re out in the open. Someone addicted to one of the above is not viewed as someone ‘weak’ or lacking in any form of self control. Indeed it’s widely acknowledged that they are ‘addicting substances’ and if someone becomes addicted, it’s not THEIR fault; the fault lies in the substance because of its very nature. Why then is this view not held with sex? Is it because sex, unlike the above, is a natural universal act, whereas substance intake is an individual lifestyle choice? Thus, to develop an addiction to something experienced by everyone is seen as a sign of weakness? Or is it because unlike substance abuse, sex does not have an effect on your body which makes it ‘proactively addicting’ and so for one to become addicted it’s purely a ‘issue’ with the individual. I don’t know the answers. I’m just thinking aloud, but it does make you wonder what is it that’s so taboo and frowned upon about sex addiction, as opposed to anything else…
    Sorry for the horrendous waffle! I just used your comment section to get some thoughts out! x

    1. Haha don’t worry! I’m glad you used the comment section to waffle – that’s what it’s there for! 🙂

      Great comment – I only heard of this film a few weeks ago when I watched it and tbh, I only watched it because Fassbender’s in it! Haha. But I’m so glad I did because it was a very good film.

      It’s really interesting what you say about addiction and the taboo around sex addictions. None of that really crossed my mind whilst I was watching it ( wonder why? 😉 ) but now you mention it it does make you wonder. Everyone always goes on about how people should be more open about sex – especially in books but there seems to be a very thin line between what is normal and what isn’t, don’t you think? So at what point does it stop being normal and healthy and start being a problem? I don’t think we’ll ever get the answers but it’s interesting to think about. People look at those with substance addictions differently to those with sex addictions. If someone with an alcohol addiction took to drink when they were stressed it could be considered mildly appropriate but if they were a sex addict who had meaningless sex to relieve stress it’d be considered disgusting. It’s strange!

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