I’ve lived a relatively sheltered life. My parents were very careful about what I watched as a child and generally adhered to MPAA movie ratings. This is ultimately probably a good thing. But it also means that instead of slowly becoming desensitized to onscreen sex and gore over many years, I kind of just threw myself into it once I had more say in what I watched. And a bit more preparation probably would’ve been helpful before watching Requiem for a Dream in order to celebrate my movie-watching liberation.
That said, I’m up for most movies. I don’t think I’m especially squeamish, and I like it when filmmakers challenge the audience. But there are still a few movies out there that I’m hesitant to watch, even though they feature some of my favourite actors. And 127 Hours (opening today in limited release), which has caused a slew of fainting at screenings, is one of these films. I’m excited for it, and I’m definitely planning to watch it (but perhaps on the small screen, where I can pass out in the privacy of my own home, if need be). But I’m sure it won’t always be an easy experience. So in honour of this, I’m listing 10 films that I’m still too afraid to watch. I’m curious about all of them, and with the talent involved, maybe this will inspire me to finally bite the bullet and give them a try.
(Names in brackets are the actors that draw me to the project)
Hunger (Michael Fassbender)
From first-time director Steve McQueen, 2008’s Hunger tells the story of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands (played by Michael Fassbender, who earned raves for his gritty performance). The film itself (which recently got a Criterion re-release) is said to be meditative, grim, and unflinchingly realistic. Not a fun time at the movies, but probably very worthwhile.
Mysterious Skin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
After hearing so much about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s searing performance, I watched the first few minutes on YouTube. The film starts with flashbacks to the young boys being lured by a supposedly trusted little league coach. I hope to revisit the film soon (and I suspect that first part may be the most disturbing portion of the movie), but onscreen child abuse is always gruelling.
Hard Candy (Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson)
I’m always very nervous towards films about pedophilia, because that subject is often used simply for shock value. However, I’ve heard great things about this film, and I like both of the lead actors quite a bit. And the idea of the victim turning the tables on her captor is interesting.
Antichrist (Charlotte Gainsbourg)
Gainsbourg has impressed me in I’m Not Here and The Science of Sleep, but to be honest, I’m in no hurry to see this film.
The Killer Inside Me (Casey Affleck)
I love me some Casey Affleck, and it looks like he’s chillingly great here. The big controversy is the violence against women displayed on screen. It only got a 14A rating in Canada, though (as opposed to our “R” equivalent of 18A), so it must not be that bad…right?
Leap Year (Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott)
I’m just scared that it will make me hate Matthew Goode.
Funny Games (Michael Pitt, Naomi Watts)
American Psycho (Christian Bale)
Both films are slick satire, and I’m all for some sharp social commentary. I’m a bit weary of the brutality, but I’m not one of those people who’s ignorant enough to think that films like these and Fight Club (which I loved) are advocating senseless violence.
Savage Grace (Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne)
I’ve read some details about the plot, and honestly, it just sounds fucked up. Incest isn’t my jam. But Eddie Redmayne is. What to do?
Se7en (Brad Pitt)
Director David Fincher doesn’t pull his punches (see the lakeside killing in Zodiac). And a film revolving around a killer who is inspired by the seven deadly sins has all sorts of potential to disturb.