Is it just me, or do this year’s Best Picture films feel like the most sexless bunch of films in ages? The big romance of the group, La La Land, feels like the most chaste romance you could make without putting the characters in a plastic bubble. Manchester By The Sea certainly talks about sex, but doesn’t have any real nudity. Hell or High Water is probably the most sexual of the films because it has a brief scene of out of focus sex in the background. Even Moonlight, which deals explicitly with one’s sexuality and how it relates to the outside world, limits its sex scenes to no-nudity affairs.
We all know that sexuality in America means the risk of being slapped with either an R or even the dreaded NC-17 ratings. One one hand, those ratings automatically mean that the movie has a limit to its box office; to wit, the only 2 R-rated movies to crack $100m are Deadpool and Bad Moms. On the other, limiting the depictions of sexuality in feature films is denying a whole element of humanity from being featured in adult driven cinema. What’s a romance without consummation? A friendship? It almost feels like our grappling with puritanical morality is leading to immature depictions of life.
Now, I’m not saying that every movie has to be Shortbus or Stranger By The Lake with full on queer-themed unsimulated sex happening on screen. Those movies are important for how they depict sexuality as a matter-of-fact element of life, but not every movie needs to be as explicit and graphic as these two films. Romantic and unromantic sexuality exist in a variety of formats, and we could be doing better at including them in our films.
What films in 2016 really turned your crank? Do you think sexuality is important to cinema? Do you think that it is extraneous to the story at hand? Does nudity count as sexuality/ What about American Honey? Is that depiction of sexuatlity perfectly fine? Do you have any favorite moments from 2016?