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YMMV: Shame
  • Anvilicious: Everything we see Brandon do has something to with his sex addiction. It also implies that porn is a dirty, dirty, shameful thing that even his horndog boss finds objectionable. In a film that for the most part steers utterly away from any "if X then Y" reasoning, "Porn is for sex addicts" stands out as an odd apparent stance.
    • It is worth noting that Brandon becomes significantly more self-destructive once he removes porn, which had previously functioned as a release valve.
    • His boss also seems to be reacting more to the actual genres of pornography on Brandon's hard drive, finding the fetishistic nature of it to be confronting. Still an unusual emphasis given the rest of the film's subtlety, but it may be more to highlight David's hypocrisy than it is the film's message.
    • David also makes a point of explaining that it is having (and using) porn at work that is the problem. Considering the porn was likely what gave the company system a virus in the first place in addition to the innappropriateness of masturbating in a workplace, he isn't exactly out of line.
    • David's porn addiction is presented as more of a symptom of his sex addiction, as opposed to a cause. The "If X then Y" reasoning makes sense here - sex addicts would obviously watch a lot of porn, and in some cases go way overboard. So the problem is not porn, but the fact that David goes way overboard with it. Whether it's sex or porn, a certain amount in moderation is ok, it's only bad when you have too much or are obsessed with it.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Brandon doesn't quite comfortable with his sister around him. Is it really because he doesn't like she disturbed his privacy? Or perhaps his sexual addiction is so overwhelming he can't help but see her in a sexualized way that he knows is wrong and sick, therefore feeling even more... "shame"? Who knows.
  • Award Snub: Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan both went unlauded at the Oscars. The film's NC-17 rating probably had something to do with this.
  • Fetish Retardant: You want nudity, it's there by the truckload, but the sex is presented as an alien, desperate thing, and the nudity in non-sex scenes has far too much Incest Subtext to ignore.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Woman on the Subway Train Brandon sees at the beginning and end of the film.
  • Tearjerker: A lot of the movie is this.
    • Especially the scene near the end where Brandon abandons Sissy for a night with prostitutes and we only hear the haunting music and Sissy's voicemails to Brandon.
      • Enhanced by a separate tearjerker moment where Brandon rushes home expecting to find a suicide note by Sissy that she jumped under the train, but instead finds her bleeding out from self-inflicted wounds in the bathroom.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In his review of the film, Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High took issue with the depiction of the scene when protagonist Brandon has sex with a gay man. While Brandon's compulsive sex addiction is shown to be destructive in every instance, the gay sex is treated as "rock bottom", as the scene is shot under red lighting and then is followed by another scene where Brandon is beat up by a man on the street.

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