The Movie Binge

Lady Chatterley


Movie sex: bleargh. You know, women sleeping with their bras on, people giggling as they dive under crisp white sheets, people going "UHH" instead of making the sounds you know they must actually make, that stupid Grey's Anatomy entwined-feet shot, all of it. Total bleargh. Only here we have the lovers of Lady Chatterley (or, en the literal Francais, "Lady Chatterley and the Man of Wood," yuk-yuk) doing it not one, not two, but SIX TIMES, and each time, I'm gonna say right here, it was completely hot and in all the right places. He's on top and she's thrilled, she's on top and everyone's thrilled, he's leading, she's leading, they're by the fire, they're al fresco, they're completely in love, they're completely not sure. The sex itself is all filmed with particular attention to the lovers' faces, and maybe I'm just airing my own personal kinks, oops, but, hell if watching people get off isn't a superior form of entertainment.

You can take a second to fan yourselves. The French, right?

Truly, thank goodness for the hot movie sex, 'cause otherwise me and Mme. Chatterley mighta broke up long ago. First of all, this moving picture adaptation of the second draft of the D.H. Lawrence story most banned everywhere is about two hours and forty-five minutes long. You know what else is two hours and forty-five minutes long? Me doing a million other things with my life. The nap of the guy a couple rows behind me. Etcetera. The slow burn is not always a bad way to tell a story, and I'll admit, there are advantages to watching the transformation of Mme. and the Woodsman ripple out slowly. Only what fills the spaces in between isn't all that engaging or insightful. The laconic camerawork seems content to linger for years upon years of flowers and branches and, I don't know, vales. Dales. Valleys. Keep your eye on the screen and you might think for a second the projectionist has gone fallen asleep and left his Nature Scenes screensaver on. You see Parkin is a poor gamekeeper and Mme. Chatterley is a bored-ass wealthy lady with a Jake Barnes-in-a-wheelchair husband so of course their love is like nature, right? Does this make you want to stab yourself Y/N? How about if I tell you that their emotional climax (yuk-yuk) takes place in the midst of a rainstorm, how about now?

Unfortunately, that's not the end of the metaphor gun, as director and co-screenwriter Pascale Ferran also sees fit to fumble with the hook-and-eye closure of Class Issues' bra. It's fun for a second in the way that it's always fun to briefly consider, say, the relationship between Demi Moore and that guy from that show, but soon enough you're like, "well, I guess that's role reversal for you! Too bad about the rest of the world!" and you move on while more sexy miners from the town undress Mme. Chat with their virile working-class eyes.

More engaging is the b-story relationship between Mme. Chatterley and the cripply Mister. While Marina Hands works on staring out windows and arranging flowers with her neck properly extended, Hippolyte Girardot rocks a bummer of a role to make you give a good damn about a man's battle with his motorized wheelchair, a hill, and his eye-rolling wife. By the time the film wraps itself up (abruptly, and nearly devoid of all expected tragedies) you sort of wouldn't mind going to live with this dreamy cuckold for awhile. The sex might not be as good, but at least he's got the decency not to waste your time.