Of Human Bondage

Lusty Lady rates the hardcore action in 9 Songs

If you aren't used to seeing sex on the big screen, in all its natural, nude, and very normal glory, you may squirm during Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs, which just opened at the Angelika. We usually watch porn from the privacy of our homes, but here Matt and Lisa appear larger than life, engaging in blowjobs and cunnilingus, bondage and vibrator-play, with the camera close enough to show all.

Sexually, Matt (Kieran O'Brien) and Lisa (Margo Stilley) are a recognizable, though slightly boring, couple. They debate the need for condoms; they experiment, tease, take baths. We don't know much about them except that they like to fuck—a lot. Sex is how they communicate, and their frenzied greed is realistic.

Unlike in porn, they're not thinking about the camera or viewer, but only about their erotic needs. In that regard, their physical passion probably doesn't differ much from yours. They're so wrapped up in each other that everything else is an afterthought. Early on, Matt licks Lisa's pussy, relishing her naturally hairy bush. Later, she fully claims her sexuality, sucking his cock and writhing against her vibrator with all the youthful vigor of the newly sexual, too ripe with potential to be at all self-conscious.

In the hottest scene (also the longest), Matt ties Lisa to the bed, encouraging her to let go as he blindfolds her. She does so, lustily, hungrily, struggling against her bonds even as she enjoys them. Props to Winterbottom for not going the easy route; we only see his cock entering her in brief glimpses, while most of her arousal and climax are shown on her face. It's the first time the animated, devil-may-care, sometimes coked-up Lisa fully loses herself in the sensation of getting fucked, and we watch her desire build every step of the way.

9 Songs may or may not get you off. There's nothing shocking about it, nothing that will make anyone who decides to see it cover her eyes or exclaim, "I can't believe people actually do that." Viewers may be reminded of their own sex lives—not the wildest or craziest times, not that drunken public threesome or anonymous hookup, but of quiet weekends locked away, lost in an interior, private passion. Yet, perhaps the very normalcy of the fucking, unadorned and often without context, is what the film has to offer. Or perhaps you could make a home video and achieve the same effect.

 
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