No sex in Slumdog


I got a movie gift card for Christmas so we saw Slumdog Millionaire. It hit me like a Mack truck. I also learned a thing or two about India off the tourist track. I grew in admiration for a female friend of mine who is a missionary in the slums of Uttar Pradesh. And now I know that the Hindu god Rama holds a bow and arrow in her hand, in case I ever get asked on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Something I learned that didn't strike me till after I got back home is that director Danny Boyle managed to make a film with no sex scenes in it-and it worked just fine. If ever there was a movie that called for sex scenes, it's Slumdog. There is plausibility at every stage of the story-from the anti-Muslim raid during Salim and Jamal's childhood, to gangster Maman's orphanage, to the tourist-hustling period at the Taj Mahal.

I cannot tell you how edified I am. Before, I could have almost bought the lie that in some movies you just have to show a sex scene if sexuality is "integral" to the action, if it is necessary to make the story realistic, if to not do so would be to portray an airbrushed view of reality. But I see now that subtle suggestion can be powerful and sufficient, with no loss whatsoever to the power or authenticity of the director's vision.

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And one is not left with a permanent hangover of images that can never be expunged from the mind, and which the devil is happy to use as trap doors to your soul.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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