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The Story Of O: Untold Pleasures (DVD)

50 Shades Of Grey has a lot to answer for

Disc Specs

Starring Danielle CiardiNeil DicksonMax ParrishMichelle Ruben Disc Cover
Directed By Phil Leirness Certificate 18
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Visuals 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time 94 mins
UK Release Date February 4, 2013
Genre Drama
Our Rating
User Rating

I'd be willing to bet that if it weren't for 50 Shades Of Grey, this 2002 movie ‘inspired' by Dominique Aury's ‘classic' novel wouldn't have got a new DVD release (sorry for all the quote marks, but it's the sort of film that demands them). This isn't the 1975 European movie that many saw as pushing the boundaries of eroticism in film, instead it's a 2002 American Version that looks and plays out like late night TV softcore porn.

The peculiarly named O is a photographer with a penchant for painting women blue and snapping them in the nude. Through her boyfriend she gets mixed up with a man called Stephen, who makes a deal with O that she must submit to his will, doing whatever he has set-up – sex with strangers, a female friend, etc.. This begins to awaken a new side to O, who seems to enjoy masochism far more than she expected, however she may have underestimated quite how much Stephen likes to dominate and may need to rearrange their deal.

The Story Of O: Untold Pleasures seems slightly trapped between wanting to fulfil men's desires for titillation and softcore thrills and not making the whole thing nastily misogynistic. It's not like it tries to be a feminist exploration of a woman's sexuality – it just shies away from making the whole thing about how great it would be for men if women did exactly what they were told all the time and submitted to their sexual will 24/7.

It's one of those movies where women are constantly in various states of nudity, with men doing all sorts of things to them – normally S&M related – but the camera constantly shies away from even the hint of the sight of a penis. This is partly due to commercial considerations in America (where nothing is more terrifying than a willy, apparently) but it also underlines how this is a movie about a woman's erotic awakening made for the groin-pleasures of men. Even the lesbian moments end up with an oddly homophobic tinge, with O's female partner getting increasingly possessive and Stephen demanding proof that she doesn't really like women that way.

It doesn't help that the acting is dodgy at best, and the script is structured hideously. For example, O becomes increasingly keen on helping a young woman, but we don't meet this protégé until after halfway through. O barely seems to know her and yet the entire film hinges on her desire to save this girl. Indeed the actual plot is handled in such a perfunctory way it hardly seems bothering with. They might as well have fired up the hideous music for 90 minutes of only vaguely arousing sex scenes, as that's what this is really all about.

If you're the sort of person who's terrified of real porn and can only take something pretty mild, then perhaps this is for you, but everyone else should just avoid.

Overall Verdict: Softcore porn dressed up as a movie. 50 Shades might have made people more interested in women getting involved in S&M, but The Story Of O: Untold Pleasures is badly made dross that's not even that sexy.

Special Features:

Reviewer: Tim Isaac

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