Occasionally, a movie comes along that takes all accepted facts about a given event, era, lifestyle or historical figure and throws them out the window. Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor comes to mind.
And now we've got 50 Shades Darker, and its laughable depictions of the wide and wonderful world of kink. Because nevermind that the entire film is based on narrative tropes from the 1950s, the storyline isn’t provocative in the least, and the multimillionaire protagonist drives an upper-middle class Audi R8 Spyder. We ain't buying that, and neither would he.
What really irks is the flick’s problematic (and wildly innacurate) portrayal of BDSM, where emotional bargaining qualifies as consent and fetishism parallels not with pleasure, but pathology. And as if that wasn’t all enough to make one throw actual rotten tomatoes at the screen, the sex is really mundane. The second in a trilogy, it’s perhaps the only time you’ll hear me say “We really don’t need to go a third time.”
So save yourself from the damp washcloth that is 50 Shades and enjoy these 21 films that got BDSM right.
A dom-sub tale for the times.
Nymphomaniac Vol. I
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Nymphomaniac Vol. II
The second step is using the problem as the solution, apparently.
When the submissive is still in control, you're getting it right.
You know the scene.
9 ½ Weeks
Basinger pushed more limits than 50 Shades with her pinky finger 30 years ago.
Twisted and involving a married couple very into BDSM.
A Dangerous Method
A sado-masochistic period piece.
Involves a professional French dominatrix.
Belle Du Jour
A bored housewife decides to become a prostitute in this awesomely mature exploration of BDSM.
In the Realm of the Senses
Released in 1976 and sensored for many years thereafter. A former prostitute turns maid and gets involved with her employer.
Featuring a murderess who is into killing her prey during sex.
Crimes of Passion
A woman moonlights as a call girl with an array of clients with varying desires. More trashy than artsy.
Flower and Snake
The Japanese wear their kink on their sleeve.
Experimental and unapologetic.
The Story of O
A 1975 cult classic and exactly what it sounds like. Expect blatant BDSM, from blindfolding to whipping.
The Night Porter
Controversial for more than just its sexual explicitness.
Venus in Fur
Directed by Polanski and dark as hell.
Brace yourself for dominance, humiliation and, surprisingly, an excellent score.
An uncomfortable look into violent fetishism.