Shame

Shame Image
Metascore
72

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

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 258 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)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jan 20, 2012
    100
    The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 8, 2011
    100
    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
    85
    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
    75
    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
    70
    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
    60
    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
    30
    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: 39 out of 54
  2. Negative: 3 out of 54
  1. 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 ofOne 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. May 25, 2012
    10
    The plot, Fassbender and Mulliganâ
  3. 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. MichaelOne 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" Expand
  4. 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 theIf 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
  5. 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 someThis 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. Jun 14, 2012
    6
    Michael Fassbender is the reason this film had its moments of subtle brillance. I was in awe of the way he is able to construct the feeling ofMichael Fassbender is the reason this film had its moments of subtle brillance. I was in awe of the way he is able to construct the feeling of a scene only by the expression on his face as he tries to make a life of normalcy while fighting his private demons. My main complaint with this film though was the inability to bring the characters out more, I felt disconnected from the cast of this film, which made it hard to feel anything at the end of the film because you dont feel sorry nor happy for anyone. Just a general numbness. I would give this film a 6.4 out of 10, a compelling insight to a man struggling to deal with his own personality. Expand
  7. Apr 6, 2014
    3
    It's not offensive, it's not particularly interesting, it's mainly just boring, and extremely overrated.

    The guy's problem is uninteresting
    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.
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See all 54 User Reviews

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