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Film / 9 Weeks

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9½ Weeks is a 1986 American erotic romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne, based on the 1978 memoir of the same name by Austrian-American author Ingeborg Day.

New York City art gallery employee Elizabeth McGraw (Kim Basinger) meets mysterious Wall Street broker John Gray (Mickey Rourke) and as they start dating, Elizabeth is increasingly subjected to John's various experimental sexual practices that push Elizabeth's boundaries. In doing so, their relationship becomes volatile and Elizabeth experiences a gradual downward spiral toward emotional breakdown.

The film spawned a direct-to-video sequel, Another 9½ Weeks in 1997, with Rourke returning, but with Angie Everhart as the female lead. A direct-to-video film, The First 9½ Weeks (1998) was billed as a "prequel," but it features no characters from the previous two films.


This film contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi: Just why does John want Elizabeth to dress as a man for one of their encounters?
  • Bittersweet Ending: Depending on which way you look at it. On one hand, it seems John has lost Elizabeth forever and it’s implied he had come to genuinely care for her. On the other, Elizabeth gets out of an unstable relationship that was very unhealthy for her.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Elizabeth wears bright colors when she's not with John but only blacks, whites and greys when she's with him.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: John gives Elizabeth a watch and tells her to think about him every day at noon, leading Elizabeth to masturbate at the appointed hour.
  • Erotic Eating: The film is the modern Trope Codifier with its eating scene, which has become a Memetic Mutation that spawned many tributes and parodies (notably in Hot Shots!).
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  • Fauxshadowing: The riding crop that John tests so vigorously in the store seems destined for further use, especially after he ends the test by gently striking Elizabeth's lap, but that's the last we see of it in the finished film.note 
  • Freedom from Choice: The film and book presents an erotic variation on Freedom From Choice: a career-woman who is successful and forceful in her professional life forfeits her sexual freedom to a man, and their relationship pushes the boundaries between what is "Safe, Sane, and Consensual" and what is abusive.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: John and Elizabeth end up picking a fight with two men who hurl a homophobic slur at them when they mistake them for a gay couple (Elizabeth was in a tuxedo). Elizabeth picks up a knife from one of the attackers and stabs one of them and both attackers flee. After the fight, John and Elizabeth have sex onsite.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: John and Elizabeth go from being mugged to Elizabeth fighting them off to John and Elizabeth having sex onsite.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Elizabeth's discovery of a photo of John with another woman sends him into a rage, implying that he's hiding other affairs. As Elizabeth is leaving John at the end, he admits to her that he's had a lot of women, but says that she's special and begs her not to leave, but by then it's too late.
  • Lighter and Softer: Believe it or not, the film is this compared to the book, due to MPAA standards at the time. For example, the threesome with the prostitute comes near the end of the film and is a line Elizabeth won't cross, while this happens early on in the book. Also, the book has Elizabeth getting tied up, slapped and whipped, which John only occasionally threatens to do in the movie. It also ends with Elizabeth getting hospitalized due to the injuries she sustained from John's BSDM sessions, whereas in the movie she just walks out.
  • Love Martyr: Elizabeth for John. Subverted, as she gets fed up with his mind games and bizarre proclivities and leaves him in the end.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: The lead couple has sex pretty much anywhere: a table, an alley, a movie theater...
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Elizabeth seems to use this on herself when John rapes her when he gets angry at her for snooping around in his belongings, because she continues the relationship without complaint. She ultimately has enough of his controlling kinkery and leaves, however.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: John pleads this to Elizabeth just after she walks out.
  • Romantic Rain: John and Elizabeth at one point make love in a back alley in the rain.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: John and Elizabeth feed each other in front of an open refrigerator as foreplay.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: John pretty much ignores this maxim, to the ultimate detriment of the relationship.
  • Shot in the Ass: Or rather "Stabbed in the Ass"; when John and Elizabeth are brawling with the two homophobic men, Elizabeth picks up a knife from one of the attackers and stabs one of them in the buttocks.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The famous scene involving food seems to be intended to be erotic, and it was certainly assumed to be so, parodies aside. Until you realize that the song playing in the scene is the novelty song "Bread and Butter" by The Newbeats, which ends up making the scene lighthearted and somewhat humorous in an otherwise downbeat film.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: John orders Elizabeth to cross-dress herself with a tuxedo for a rendezvous. This leads to two men hurling a homophobic slur at them when they mistake John and Elizabeth for a gay couple and a fight ensues.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: John thinks so, and tries to bring a female prostitute into one sexual encounter, but Elizabeth disagrees.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: The Trope Codifier with its scene of Elizabeth doing a striptease for John to Joe Cocker's cover of Randy Newman's song of the same name.


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