Here's what Largo Quagmire
sent me on the work:
I guess I'm going to go into the super-long film defense here? XD To be blunt, this is not an easy movie to sit through. I can see why it was flagged, ESPECIALLY given that one of the two main male characters is a teenaged prostitute (implied to be about seventeen-eighteen, as the other main male lead is eighteen). However, the thrust of the film, as I said, is to share the horrifying nature of child sexual abuse.
Basically, Neil (becomes the prostitute) and Brian (blocks out the memory of the assault and has a strong aversion to sexuality) are both sexually abused by their basketball coach in elementary school. Beyond the fact that the children playing the younger versions of Neil and Brian were never exposed to the other parts of the script/never filmed with an adult, the scenes are definitely not shown in detail. Hounddog, another film decided not to need deletion, is far more graphic.
Most of the sexuality comes from the actions of Neil later on in life. Speaking from watching the movie, I feel someone would have to be just incredibly disturbed to get any kind of arousal from the sex scenes. They're all disgusting and all have an atmosphere of unrelenting dread. They also don't show any genitalia, since we're looking for porn. The worst of these scenes is actually worse because of the brutal violence - Neil is raped, and the rape is mostly implied, but the being beaten over the head with a rod is fully in-your-face, for the audience to see.
The sexual language is far worse than any actual depicted sex, honestly. There's a scene of implied fisting that's described far worse than anything actually seen, but again, these descriptions are far from titillating, they're horrifying.
The basic message of the movie is "sexual assault ruins a child's life". It's a powerful film, hard to watch, but is the kind of artistic film, with the kind of intention, that we want to keep on this wiki. It's on the same level as Lolita in terms of "powerful condemnations of pedophilia", and with a similarly despairing downer ending. It was rated NC-17 in America, but This Film Is Not Yet Rated implies this is because Neil's customers are all male, and that far more graphic sex scenes appear in many other mainstream films. (I was shown the film at 18 in a college Human Sexuality class, for what it's worth.)
In terms of cultural context, this was the film that put Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a class of promising young actors. It's also a highly-rated critical success, and an attempt to ban the film in Australia was met with a lot of outcry due to its serious subject matter being presented uniformly as a condemnation of pedophilia and sexual assault.
I hope this helped. I would recommend watching the movie anyways, as it's incredibly moving and one of the best-made films I've ever seen.
Going by this, I can safely say that I'm gonna give it an angelvote. It doesn't sound the least bit pedo-pandering, nor is it pornographic, as that's fine with me.