Go to contents

Middle-aged Man and Woman Bored of Life Turns to “Desperate Sex”

Middle-aged Man and Woman Bored of Life Turns to “Desperate Sex”

Posted October. 28, 2003 23:13,   


The movie “Intimacy” showed a different kind of sex, and it is weirdly ordinary. The filth under the man’s fingernails and where the woman knocking at his door runs right into the bathroom, pees, and flushes, symbolized the middle age boredom.

There are quite a few movies where love blooms out of relationships that does not even allow one to ask the other’s name but just encounter sex such as “Nine and a Half Weeks,” “Pornographic Affair,” “Better than Sex,” etc. The movie “Intimacy” differs from those films in that middle-aged people’s sex is all blunt and naked but not “pornographic,” even if it contains scenes of wearing condoms or doing oral sex without any filter (domestic versions blurred these scenes).

Jay, played by Mark Rylance, a divorcee who lives alone as a bartender, has a woman, played by Kerry Fox, who visited him every Wednesday afternoon. They always hide behind the net of anonymity, have passionate sex, and part from each other right afterwards. One day, overwhelmed by curiosity about the woman, Jay found out who she really was after following her home. The woman was an unknown stage actress named Claire and was a normal housewife with a husband and child. Jay approached the husband and asked about the woman. Claire became confused after finding out what Jay had done.

The movie has its appeal because the two lovers are honest to their desires rather than being attracted to each other’s charms. The couple does not enjoy the sex – no playing around or techniques and it never exceeds thirty seconds either. The woman’s stomach has folds of flesh, skin without radiance, and breasts hanging down. Because of their boring life, the sex has become desperate.

“People always drink the same thing but like to be asked what to drink,” as Jay says. They might want to believe that “the living is different even though it is the same all the time.” After being found out by her husband, Claire has the nerves to pour out complaints about the boredom of her daily life to her husband. This unexpected action along with the end-of-the-century and powerless background music by Tindersticks, shows that the movie has penetrated right through the “Everyday Affair.”

Winner of three notable awards from the 2001 Berlin Film Festival including Best Movie (Golden Bear), Best Actress (Silver Bear). This film releases on October 31. For audiences over 18 years old.

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com