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No Hard Feelings: Jennifer Lawrence’s new film shows why cinema shouldn’t shy away from sex

llook at the premise of Not feel hard and you will be right to expect to be scandalous. The film is a broad-minded, likable comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence as a needy thirty-something hired to “date” an introverted 19-year-old (Andrew Barth Feldman) on orders. of his wealthy helicopter parents. It’s a movie that sells itself at launch: the core of a love story about an age gap that drives a lot of sexual misconduct, including a face-to-face fight scene discussed. much to do with Lawrence. But like independenceReview’s reviewer noted in our review, Not feel hard finally a character dressed in sexual antics. Its attitude toward sex often resembles that of a sneer. And it speaks to a pervasive problem in Hollywood cinema today.

Where the US film industry was formerly constrained by the pure restrictions of the Hays Code (principles banning swearing, sex, and on-screen violence, which lasted from 1934 to 1968) , we are now in the bushes of a new era of censorship. Non-sex action movies dominate the box office; Gone are the days when a piece of erotic work was as unflinching as Basic instincts could cause a box office storm. The standard of sex on screen has been lowered so far with movies like Not feel hard can win praise just by tripping over it. The range of adult sexual depictions clearly appropriate on screen has shrunk.

Of course, mainstream cinema avoiding sex is nothing new. But while in the past this was something cautious regulators and studio executives imposed on the industry, audiences themselves have grown increasingly averse to carnal matters. Social media is flooded with scathing complaints about “gratuitous” sex scenes. “If it doesn’t serve the plot, sex scenes are nothing more than pornography,” this argument often seems especially popular among young (Generation Z) movie buffs. Whether or not the stimulus itself is reason enough to show the two characters involved is debatable – the half-asleep attraction of watching attractive people act sexy is, after all, a One of the driving forces behind cinema’s popularity for more than a century. But preparation is only part of it. It’s important for movies to portray sex because sex is a part of life. Pretending otherwise, to jump around the issue, is artistically dishonest.

It’s not just a matter of richness, or “clarity” of quoting without quoting, that matters. It is also a question of realism. Not feel hard contains a modest amount of sex and nudity, but none of it is truly vivid. I mean, how many nude fights on the beach Friend have been in recent times? The only revealing “sex scene” that shows Feldman’s character premature ejaculation between Lawrence’s thighs (offscreen, of course). Sex on screen is almost always cleaned up, romanticized, fetishized, or – as in this case – enhanced for laughs; it’s rarely true. Experts have long warned of the harm internet pornography is doing to teenagers’ sexual practices. Surely a move toward honest, unobtrusive sex can only be a good thing?

Usually, arguing against sex scenes is seen as a moral issue. It is asserted, or simply implied, that scenes of unnecessary sex are exploitative or otherwise nefarious. Historically, there have been too many cases where actors have been exploited, abused, or worse, during the filming of sex scenes. (Particularly disgusting examples, such as The Last Tango in Parislive in disgrace.) But with intimate moderators now commonplace in any movie or TV show that features sex scenes, the likelihood of these incidents is greatly reduced. .

Not feel hard Not the only movie released this week. The stars at noon, the latest (mostly) English-speaking project from respected French filmmaker Claire Denis, is quietly moving into digital services. Margaret Qualley (Domestic worker) plays a journalist and prostitute trapped in Nicaragua; Joe Alwyn plays an intelligence agent she falls in love with. It would be a mistake to assume that some of the film’s indulgent sex scenes were the only reason the release was buried in the UK: The stars at noon It is slow paced and has many themes. But it is also a film by a major European filmmaker that won the Grand Prix at Cannes, starring two young English-speaking actors who are rising to fame. The lack of a theatrical release here is frustrating – and you have to wonder if the dizzying eroticism has anything to do with it.

Lawrence in ‘No Difficult Emotions’

(Sony Image Release)

While movie theaters are now often as serene as churches, you can find some sultry respite on the smaller screen. As mainstream cinema shunned sex, television proved more receptive to it. Think of the excess of horns of Happinessor dark, sometimes violent sex of Game of Thrones. (Although little talk about Idol, the better.) Perhaps this has something to do with the way two media are consumed: since age ratings are more difficult to enforce in a family context, profanity doesn’t provide the same financial impediment. for theatrical release. Or maybe people are just more comfortable watching simulated sex scenes in the privacy of their own living rooms, as opposed to a dark movie theater where you can sit among people with God. know – the pastor, the pervert or the giggling teenager.

Look Not feel hard Being a hit movie would be very encouraging: the film industry needs more comedies like this. But don’t pretend it’s trying to say anything real about sex. The point is – in Hollywood at least – no one else.

‘No Hard Feelings’ is out in theaters


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