User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 221 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 221
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  1. Dec 30, 2011
    7
    Shame: I thought it started off well, studying the main character's sexual addiction. However, as the movie went on, it lost steam. Carey Mulligan's character was distracting and I thought it hurt the movie overall. Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligen did give very daring performance.
  2. Apr 17, 2013
    10
    I like dark movies. But saying that "Shame" is dark doesn't make justice to it. I loved "Shame" because it's poetically dark and not just that. It is poetically dark in the right way, the Baudelaire way. And Sissy is "La fleur du mal" with a scent too strong for Brandon. After all, she is his sister. It can't get simpler than that. And that is just disturbing! Intimate, personal andI like dark movies. But saying that "Shame" is dark doesn't make justice to it. I loved "Shame" because it's poetically dark and not just that. It is poetically dark in the right way, the Baudelaire way. And Sissy is "La fleur du mal" with a scent too strong for Brandon. After all, she is his sister. It can't get simpler than that. And that is just disturbing! Intimate, personal and hopeless decent into the deep darkness of men's weak hearth. Expand
  3. Jan 13, 2012
    10
    From time to time a movie arrives in cinemas that will leave such an impression that no matter what you do, itâ
  4. Dec 3, 2011
    10
    One of the most thought provoking films regarding a subject not often talked about. Fassbender gives a truly tortured performance worthy of at least an Oscar nomination.
  5. Dec 4, 2011
    10
    I will not say that this is the best movie I ever seen, but damn, it's pretty close. Amazing acting, directing, am sure that it will be strong contender at the Academy Awards, at least for acting.
  6. Jan 20, 2012
    10
    If Michael Fassbender is not winning an Oscar for his mezmerizing and pitch perfect act in Shame, then everyone's going blind. Ebery psychiatrist should watch this before retirement.
  7. Jun 22, 2012
    8
    Hunger is an uncompromising drama in which Fassbender bears body and soul in film difficult to watch yet impossible to turn away from. It is only the second collaboration with McQueen, but considering the first one (Hunger) was also equally harrowing, I suspect and hope of more to come. But, it would wrong not to mention Mulligan who delivers yet another unflinching performance, and aHunger is an uncompromising drama in which Fassbender bears body and soul in film difficult to watch yet impossible to turn away from. It is only the second collaboration with McQueen, but considering the first one (Hunger) was also equally harrowing, I suspect and hope of more to come. But, it would wrong not to mention Mulligan who delivers yet another unflinching performance, and a mesmerizing rendition of "New York, New York". As it would be wrong to neglect the impact of the music from Bach. Expand
  8. Apr 23, 2012
    10
    extraordinary film, Steve McQueen played with history as it had to be, every angle, every detail perfect. I imprisoned in his beauty from the first scene, nude natural, wild, exciting. Fassbender brother, you ought to be nominated for an Oscar; Mulligan majestic, spectacular entire cast. Installation, spectacular music! amazing photography.
  9. Apr 17, 2012
    8
    If you're going to push the envelope then push it don't just move it around on the coffee table and then pretend you've opened it and read the contents. Had the writer explored just a bit more the relationship between Brandon and Sissy. There's more too these two than meets the eye. Siblings with that type of comfort level with each other's nudity wreaks of some behavior that is trulyIf you're going to push the envelope then push it don't just move it around on the coffee table and then pretend you've opened it and read the contents. Had the writer explored just a bit more the relationship between Brandon and Sissy. There's more too these two than meets the eye. Siblings with that type of comfort level with each other's nudity wreaks of some behavior that is truly the cause of where these two have found themselves. The direction by Steve Mc Queen is taut and taunt. He's not revealed a lot about his two protoganists that would let us understand how they got here but he has explored and revealed how they've ended up. The final scene leaves more questions than it answers. Mulligan is satisfying in the role of Sissy but she's not given a great deal to work with. The winner here is Fassbender who is amazing but at times painful to watch. The sex addiction is truly explored and even though it's a bit difficult to relate too you empathize a bit with Brandon because he just seems better than what he's become and he knows it. Not a great film because there are holes in this screenplay. The music was appropriate and the cinematography underscored the total concept. Gritty and worth watching Fassbender. The expression of emotions that paint his face during scenes are some of the best language not spoken in cinema. Expand
  10. Dec 24, 2011
    9
    Probably one of the best films I've seen this year. What can I say that most already know; Fassbender is having a really awesome year and this year shows it. This is actually the first I've heard of Steve McQueen the director and I gotta say he's given me a good first impression. The shots and acting overall (along with Mulligan) were great, but the only gripe I had was that some shotsProbably one of the best films I've seen this year. What can I say that most already know; Fassbender is having a really awesome year and this year shows it. This is actually the first I've heard of Steve McQueen the director and I gotta say he's given me a good first impression. The shots and acting overall (along with Mulligan) were great, but the only gripe I had was that some shots dragged on too long, but still looked great nontheless. Expand
  11. Feb 25, 2012
    9
    A truly powerful film that succeeds with it's dramatic effect because of two outstanding areas. These areas are the acting of Michael Fassbender and the audio visual experience Steve Mcquean creates. If the direction wasnt so good the film would be boring and a drag. If the acting werent so good there would have been the same problem. Overall a powerhouse dramatic effect that is difficultA truly powerful film that succeeds with it's dramatic effect because of two outstanding areas. These areas are the acting of Michael Fassbender and the audio visual experience Steve Mcquean creates. If the direction wasnt so good the film would be boring and a drag. If the acting werent so good there would have been the same problem. Overall a powerhouse dramatic effect that is difficult to watch but you just cant stop watching it. Just like Ebert I don't believe I could see it twice. Expand
  12. Dec 14, 2011
    10
    Fassbander and Mulligan are raw and naked and bare - both physically and emotionally - in this movie and it makes for a compelling experience:

    Full review:

    http://luhathoughts.blogspot.com/2011/12/its-shame.html
  13. Dec 30, 2011
    10
    Brilliantly and beautifully filmed. Perfect cinematography for the subject --- capturing its essence. the acting is superb and the directing is seamless and close to perfection.
  14. Jun 6, 2012
    9
    Finally a film could knock down HUGO (2011) and a leading male performance could overcome THE ARTISTâ
  15. Mar 29, 2012
    10
    Strong film really, Shame hit me. The story is can be simple but the direction is amazing, have much interesting ideas, and the development is amazing, the cast is really awesome, Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan wow, awesome cast. I don't have most words to say, Shame is fantastic and strong.
  16. Apr 22, 2012
    9
    Very good story. Many guys have a private dark side that no one knows about and this movie cleverly brings that to the big screen. Its a little hard core for some but it is well directed and Michael Fassbender is excellent in it. Definitely worth the watch.
  17. May 17, 2012
    9
    Shame is brutally honest. It doesn't leave out anything essential yet leaves an unsaid fog around the characters. It's graphically obvious yet highly suggestive. The characters are simple yet complex, and when watching the movie it seems as if Fassbender and Mulligan couldn't have portrayed their dark sibling relationship and shaky family chemistry better. I relate to both, and they keepShame is brutally honest. It doesn't leave out anything essential yet leaves an unsaid fog around the characters. It's graphically obvious yet highly suggestive. The characters are simple yet complex, and when watching the movie it seems as if Fassbender and Mulligan couldn't have portrayed their dark sibling relationship and shaky family chemistry better. I relate to both, and they keep on lingering, even the morning after watching the movie. Somehow, the soundtrack also had a great impact on me. For me, it created an instant sentimentality to the characters of the movie. Expand
  18. May 25, 2012
    10
    The plot, Fassbender and Mulliganâ
  19. Nov 7, 2012
    10
    Although it is bracing and does a decent job of showcasing the dark side of man, the film, Shame, is not as good as Fassbender is here, which is too say it is not great.
  20. Jan 21, 2012
    7
    Director Steve McQueen started as a cinema artist and that shows in his commercial work. There are extended takes & minimal dialogue (hence, slow pacing) and episodes that add up to an impression (as opposed to a storyline). Michael Fassbinder plays a New York stud, who's obsessed with sex and afraid of intimacy. As a result, there two primary types of scenes: sex (including randomDirector Steve McQueen started as a cinema artist and that shows in his commercial work. There are extended takes & minimal dialogue (hence, slow pacing) and episodes that add up to an impression (as opposed to a storyline). Michael Fassbinder plays a New York stud, who's obsessed with sex and afraid of intimacy. As a result, there two primary types of scenes: sex (including random pickups, masturbation & full-frontal nudity) and struggle (rueful staring and disaffected relationships). It's compelling on several levels, but too cerebral to be powerful. The most shameful thing is that the distributors had the conviction to release it in NC-17 (with all the attendant barriers) and it's not worth the risk. Expand
  21. Oct 9, 2012
    8
    Shame is a very realistic and deeply harrowing tale of sex addiction, loneliness and inferred psychological abuse. Despite all of it's predatory sex and nudity, Shame is probably one of the least erotic films you'll ever see. Micheal Fassbender delivers another mesmerizing turn and the rest of the cast are on top form too. Excellent, thought provoking stuff.
  22. Jun 26, 2012
    8
    Viewer discretion is advised. It
  23. Apr 29, 2012
    9
    Why Shame is so special? Controversy? Michael Fassbender full frontal or explicit sex scene? Anyway, Shame is poignant movie about sex addiction and about how you dealing with it. Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan stellar performance also boost the drama. And don't forget the powerful score, I know why Ebert maybe even couldn't be able to see it twice.
  24. JMc
    Feb 10, 2012
    7
    Now, don't get me wrong. I quite enjoyed Shame (with the exception of the absurd sequence where Carey Mulligan performs in a posh nightclub. What was it, Mediocrity Night?) While the film does address some of the doubtless vexing aspects of sex addiction (needing to be in the office loos having a quick wank while you should be in a meeting; a sudden desire to bang an expensive prostituteNow, don't get me wrong. I quite enjoyed Shame (with the exception of the absurd sequence where Carey Mulligan performs in a posh nightclub. What was it, Mediocrity Night?) While the film does address some of the doubtless vexing aspects of sex addiction (needing to be in the office loos having a quick wank while you should be in a meeting; a sudden desire to bang an expensive prostitute against a floor-to-ceiling hotel-room window), it doesn't tell us about two of the most obvious daily problems these poor folk must encounter. (a) The movie never shows us if Fassbender's character wears CONDOMS. This guy should take out shares in Durex! (b) SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS. Heavens, having your sister stay over may be inconvenient, but contracting -- and spreading -- the clap, genital herpes, chlamydia, crabs and all the rest must be even more so. How's that winsome married lady on the train going to explain THAT to her husband? Expand
  25. Mar 29, 2013
    9
    Shame deals with the unorthodox and the sometimes embarrassing nature of sexual addiction, and Michael Fassbender puts in an emotionally driven and edgy performance as the man in question.
    Brandon (Fassbender) leads a very routine life, waking up, masturbating, watching porn at work and at home, sometimes just staring endlessly at the screen.
    His routine is broken with the arrival of his
    Shame deals with the unorthodox and the sometimes embarrassing nature of sexual addiction, and Michael Fassbender puts in an emotionally driven and edgy performance as the man in question.
    Brandon (Fassbender) leads a very routine life, waking up, masturbating, watching porn at work and at home, sometimes just staring endlessly at the screen.
    His routine is broken with the arrival of his equally as damaged sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan) who wades in on Brandon's life unexpectedly which interferes with his mindset, causing an eventual downward spiral. She is very invasive of what he considers his personal space.
    it is clear as the film goes on that Brandon himself perhaps have difficulty talking to women unless he is being intimate with them, he is almost a recluse in his reluctance to speak thoroughly or freely to anyone, choosing instead to spend large amounts of time staring blankly into nothing.
    The film certainly doesn't hold back in its attempt to put across the problems and abusive nature that sex addicts can bring upon themselves, with very explicit content that will surely turn many off, but this is all pivotal to the message being conveyed in these characters, so why should they hold back?
    Michael Fassbender continues to surprise and entertain in this leading role, and this will undoubtedly gain him recognition in more ways than one. He powerfully depicts a damaged yet heartfelt man who simply doesn't seem to know any other way of life. He is tortured in every decision he makes, yet continues to lead this life, simply because it is like a drug.
    Carrie Mulligan also delivers a memorable performance as Sissy, ditching an almost good girl image to delve into the dark world of realism, the chemistry between herself and Fassbender is convincingly sombre as warring siblings, not knowing each other deepest secrets, but aware of each others way of life.
    With its reliance on extended scenes of emotional depth, director Steve McQueen mirrors certain scenes from his earlier film with Fassbender, Hunger, to further explore the characters and make said scenes more involving and appreciative.
    Not everyone will enjoy this film, but Shame certainly leaves a powerful, gritty and rugged impression on the mind, and it is difficult not to look away, mesmerising.
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  26. Apr 9, 2012
    7
    Good movie but not as good as it may sound from the reviews.it's like they wanted to make a movie about sex addiction but they just didn't know how, so they filled it with ridiculous scenes (like that slow and boring rendition of New York, New York ), a lot of sex (which is fine) and made it quite monotonous.and I didn't notice much sexual tension between Brandon and Sissy (as some reviewsGood movie but not as good as it may sound from the reviews.it's like they wanted to make a movie about sex addiction but they just didn't know how, so they filled it with ridiculous scenes (like that slow and boring rendition of New York, New York ), a lot of sex (which is fine) and made it quite monotonous.and I didn't notice much sexual tension between Brandon and Sissy (as some reviews suggested). to make a long story short this could have been much better movie. Expand
  27. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    A powerful look at addiction--with powerhouse performances from Fassbender and Mulligan. Steve McQueen proves to be one of the finest directors of his generation.
  28. Jun 9, 2013
    8
    This is a tasteful fearless movie that gives its subject matter justice. Performances are exceptional. This movie might be too much for some people, but to those who see it as art will understand how powerful this film truly is.
  29. Jan 30, 2015
    7
    Shame is a great example of a movie I wanted to love, but could only like. Despite strong performances from Fassbender and Mulligan and a promising premise, there are a number of smaller mistakes that ultimately detract from the overall movie. The film does a fairly good job of fleshing out Fassbender's character Brandon, but is not nearly as successful in explaining the relationshipShame is a great example of a movie I wanted to love, but could only like. Despite strong performances from Fassbender and Mulligan and a promising premise, there are a number of smaller mistakes that ultimately detract from the overall movie. The film does a fairly good job of fleshing out Fassbender's character Brandon, but is not nearly as successful in explaining the relationship between Brandon and his sister Sissy, played by Mulligan. Consequently, Sissy's arrival ends up more as a way of showing how closed off Brandon is as a result of his sex addiction rather than providing an actual, nuanced relationship. Additionally, there are a couple confusing flash-forwards; the first is not explained until later and is the most odd, while the latter is quite effective once you begin to understand what is happening.
    Ultimately, the movie is occasionally quite moving, but it just doesn't achieve that level of success throughout. During one of Brandon's binges, for example, at the zenith of his pleasure you see from his change of expression that he is really at the nadir of his anguish, an absolute slave to his addiction. But this fantastic scene is then followed up by another underwhelming one involving Sissy, illustrating the ebb and flow of success throughout the film. You can tell that McQueen wanted both a character study of man whose life is dominated by his sex addition as well as a gripping sibling relationship between two flawed characters, but in the end it seems that he bit off more than he could chew.
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  30. Aug 18, 2012
    8
    This film is not for people who like happy-happy/feel good movies. Fassbender plays a tormented wanker (in both senses) who does whores and watches tonnes of porn but on the other hand fails to connect to humans (and his dependent sister) on an emotional level. That being said, Fassbender does an exellent job and shows that he can play superheroes as well as real profound roles. CareyThis film is not for people who like happy-happy/feel good movies. Fassbender plays a tormented wanker (in both senses) who does whores and watches tonnes of porn but on the other hand fails to connect to humans (and his dependent sister) on an emotional level. That being said, Fassbender does an exellent job and shows that he can play superheroes as well as real profound roles. Carey Mulligan also has a great supporting role and does some singing as it turns out she has an beautifull voice. A well made reflection on the darker side of the human condition. Expand
  31. Feb 24, 2014
    8
    Steve McQueen's second film is just as hard-edged and brutally honest as his outstanding debut Hunger and his phenomenal follow-up 12 Years a Slave, but in an entirely different way. In Shame, the British auteur explores a topic hardly ever discussed in the film industry, sexual addiction, and uses it as a means to create a brilliant character study with artistic visuals. With very fewSteve McQueen's second film is just as hard-edged and brutally honest as his outstanding debut Hunger and his phenomenal follow-up 12 Years a Slave, but in an entirely different way. In Shame, the British auteur explores a topic hardly ever discussed in the film industry, sexual addiction, and uses it as a means to create a brilliant character study with artistic visuals. With very few things actually happening, Shame surely feels the longest of all of Steve McQueen’s films and, just as with Hunger and 12 Years a Slave, it’s probably going to take me quite some time to watch it again. However, the film brings up a lot of interesting things to think about and is the most honest and dignified approach to the subject I could think of, thus making it something very worthy of checking out. Expand
  32. Jan 27, 2013
    8
    "Shame" examines the nature of need, and how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. "Shame" leaves us to internalize our thoughts, asking us to paint our own cinematic details in the gaps, and with the dark feeling that something black and heartless has been communicated most powerfully. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a good-looking, young man in his early 30's, who lives"Shame" examines the nature of need, and how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. "Shame" leaves us to internalize our thoughts, asking us to paint our own cinematic details in the gaps, and with the dark feeling that something black and heartless has been communicated most powerfully. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a good-looking, young man in his early 30's, who lives alone in a sterile condo in Manhattan. He works in a cubicle with a computer. Never mind what his company does. It makes no difference to him. Sometimes in the evening, he and his boss, David (James Badge Dale), go out to drink in singles bars. David is a outgoing and throwing out pick-up lines. Brandon just sits there, his face impassive, knowing he doesn't have to. He shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. The film's opening shot shows Brandon awake in the morning, staring immobile into space. He could be a man prepared to commit suicide. He gets out of bed, goes into the shower and masturbates. It will be the first of his many orgasms, solitary and with company, that day. He never reveals emotion. He lives like a man compelled to follow an inevitable course, and his life is a living hell. He is cold to everyone he encounters; prostitutes, co-workers, to strangers. On the subway, he trades eye contact with a woman who may be flirting with. He boldly maintains eye contact, but he doesn't smile. His is a dreadful life. His shame is masked in privacy. He wants no witnesses to his hookers, his pornography, his masturbation.
    The introduction of Sissy (Carey Mulligan), Brandon's sister, injects spontaneity and life into this-up to this point-an almost emotionally desolate film. She is as passionate and uninhibited as he is the opposite. This encounter resurfaces stirring memories of their shared painful past, and Brandon's insular life and addiction begin to spiral out of control. She needs him desperately and that frightens him most. She works sometimes as a cabaret singer, and in one scene, she performs a fantastic rendition of "New York, New York" in close-up. This close-up also shows pain and grief of both, a truly beautiful moment captured. McQueen's camera gives us a mix of the highly-stylized and the stark, with frequent long takes giving the actors the narrative space to embellish scenes with depth. Fassbender for one, is often captured looking unseeingly at the ground, failing to register the world before him. It can get to be overwhelming and burdensome for some as the movie, as well as Brandon's addiction, progresses. But Michael Fassbender's powerful, gut-wrenching performance and Steve McQueen behind the camera is what makes this so extraordinary.
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  33. Jul 8, 2013
    9
    I'd like to let it be known that Shame is an obscene movie. It's quite gross, but what else could you expect going into an NC-17 film about sex addiction. That complaint aside, it's a compelling almost-masterpiece and if you have the stomach, watch it. A fantastic performance from Michael Fassbender.
  34. Nov 6, 2013
    9
    A phenomenally dark and interesting look at the dark, desire driven side of man.
    Fassbender performs, but Mulligan shines, and the chemistry between the two is deliciously unsettling throughout.
    A fantastic film, and my personal favourite of McQueen's directive outings.
  35. Jul 5, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Steve McQueen has upped his game after Hunger. Brandon (Fassbender) is apparently very efficient in his workplace, and appears to have an ordered life, when in reality he is a sex-addict. He is seen falling apart with the arrival of his sister Sissy (Mulligan), another troubled person whom he sees as more than a disruption to his routine. There are many sex-scenes far too many, in my opinion, but as you would expect none are erotic (nor did they aim to be). Besides Sissy, no one knows of Brandon's "shame", something that should strike us as odd but doesn't. This is because Brandon, as "pleasant" as he is around others, is in fact distant. He is unable to let himself make emotional connections without them tearing him apart (a fact that is made evident in the film not only by Sissy's presence, but also by his attempt to engage with a co-worker for whom he obviously has feelings for). The character Brandon would have been unbearable to watch if it wasn't for Michael Fassbender's portrayal of him how on earth was this performance not up for an Oscar? Really, how? McQueen strikes a remarkable balance between the two extremes On the one hand, one uses sex for carnal pleasure, because he is disconnected (Brandon), for whatever reason, and cannot (or refuses to) allow themselves to be emotionally available, and the other (Sissy) is so desperate to feel any connection that they use sex as a means to feel "loved". The amazing portrayals from both actors have you believing what Sissy states they are not bad people, they just come from a bad place. We, the audience, never find out what this "bad place" is, nor do we need to know the emphasis is on how the characters have been affected. Brandon and Sissy can be anyone around us. They both fall deeper into the grips of their own dependencies as the film progresses. This isn't an easy watch, but it is worth seeing. Expand
  36. May 23, 2014
    9
    One of McQueen's best efforts before the amzaing 12 Years A Slave. It's just such an emotional look at the downside of humanity. Michael Fassbender is just so good at living with the character of Brandon and Carrey Mulligan impresses me like always when she graced our screens with "An Education"
  37. May 14, 2014
    9
    A powerful addiction drama that's both emotionally riveting and coldly minimalistic. It's characters are not necessarily likeable but compelling and sympathetic nonetheless.
  38. Oct 29, 2014
    8
    Muhteşem bir filmdi, Özellikle büyük şehirlerde yaşayıp kalabalıklar içinde kaybolan insanların bu denli yalnız kalmalarını eleştirel bir biçimde sunan McQueen övgüyü sonuna kadar hak ediyor...
  39. Aug 6, 2014
    9
    Shame is the mixture of melancholy and human spirit; it gives a strong statement on how human emotions malfunction sometimes which could lead to self destruction.
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 15, 2012
    50
    Shame smears the lines between daring and taunting, and art versus indulgence. When it ends there's the urge to take a shower, and not a cold one.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 3, 2012
    63
    It's easy to be interested in the characters' lives -- as tragic as they are -- but it's not nearly as easy to become emotionally invested in them.
  3. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jan 20, 2012
    100
    The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.