Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 182 Ratings

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  • Summary: Brandon is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon's insular life spirals out of control. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jan 20, 2012
    The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 8, 2011
    A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, "Hunger," this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 1, 2011
    Mulligan is terrific here, and restrained in a way that suggests an actorly generosity unusual for someone so young: Her scenes with Fassbender don't so much say "Look at me" as "Look at him."
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 1, 2011
    Fassbender's portrayal is truly haunting, and when he sobs, dramatically unraveling, it's clear he's imprisoned by his physical urges.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 1, 2011
    Much of the film is banal or pretentious, or both - vacuous vignettes about emptiness. Occasionally, though, those vignettes burst into life and burn with consuming fire.
  6. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 1, 2011
    How can visual pleasure communicate existential misery? It is a real and interesting challenge, and if Shame falls short of meeting it, the seriousness of its effort is hard to deny.
  7. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Dec 1, 2011
    Most of the film feels recycled from sexually explicit art movies dating back at least to "Last Tango in Paris" (1972) and continuing with movies like Patrice Chéreau's "Intimacy" (2001) or Götz Spielmann's "Antares" (2004). With nothing new in its characters, settings, or themes, Shame has little to offer except McQueen's style, which does little to elucidate anything around it.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 45
  2. Negative: 2 out of 45
  1. Dec 3, 2011
    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. Expand
  2. Dec 14, 2011
    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:
  3. Nov 7, 2012
    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. Expand
  4. Jun 22, 2012
    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 a mesmerizing rendition of "New York, New York". As it would be wrong to neglect the impact of the music from Bach. Expand
  5. Jun 9, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. Dec 30, 2011
    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. Expand
  7. Apr 6, 2014
    It's not offensive, it's not particularly interesting, it's mainly just boring, and extremely overrated.

    The guy's problem is uninteresting
    and 90% of the male population has the same urges/done worse. Personally I felt that some of the behaviour/dialogue felt wrong to, perhaps due to the choice of actor (European), e.g. the bar scene and some others. I was not surprised to find out later on that McQueen is a black guy as it would suit a black actor much better.

    I sat through it until the end so I guess it wasn't completely terrible but I sure did feel as if I had wasted my time.

See all 45 User Reviews


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