"Every once in awhile I like a little dose of film noir. Throw in a dark setting with some creepy characters and I'm good to go. But FEMALE PERVERSIONS fell short of the genre: it was just plain weird. Let's face it, if I wish to be confronted by surreal, one-dimensional people with absolutely no clue I can go to a professional wrestling match. Or go visit my attorney, take your pick. Yet this flick is even more meaningless than Dewey, Cheatum & Howe (my lawyer's firm), and its subsequent perversions are more demeaning than they are perverted.What's with the lead character in this movie? Tilda Swinton, a most fragile-looking beauty, is miscast in the lead role as a successful, aggressive attorney up for a judgeship by the Governor. She looks like a porcelain doll, and as we get to know her we find she's as unstable as the book shelf I put up the other day in my living room. She's plagued by some demented fantasies. . .or illusions. . .that supposedly have been repressed since her childhood, and for whatever reason she's into razor blades. Her boyfriend gets miffed so she has an affair with a woman. Why? She likes M&M candy. Why? Her fantasies include an overweight woman covered in mud. Why? She sleeps in a hammock. Why? She takes a bath with her sister. Why? She drives a really ugly Turbo converter. Why, oh why?Don't ask me. I don't know. Or care. Incidentally, Amy Madigan and Frances Fisher head a supporting cast of equally troubled souls. If there is some feminist symbolism to be culled from FEMALE PERVERSIONS it's lost on me; all I saw was a montage of mumbo jumbo. So what to do about my appetite for film noir? Ah, yes: a Three Stooges movie. That should do it.
COVERING NEW TERRITORY
Christopher May | Australia | 05/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Female Perversions' is a difficult film to enjoy. It's confronting, cold, claustrophobic and on the whole disconcerting. But if you're the kind of viewer who enjoys being challenged, and appreciates films that don't pander to the lowest common denominator, then you'll love this. At last a film that reveals how patriarchy operates! Not simply by pitting women against men, but by pitting women against each other. Tough questions of intimacy between women are raised and explored in all sorts of ways: between sisters, between lovers, between a mother and a daughter.The presence of Tilda Swinton in any film is enough of a recommendation for me - if you're not already a fan, then this could be the film to convert you. She manages to guide the viewer into some pretty dark territory - oftentimes very surreal - but it's a compassionate and uncompromising performance.I wouldn't say this film is for everyone, nor does it qualify as 'light entertainment'. But I do think this is an important film that both men and women will appreciate. But be warned, if ever a film had a adult themes, it's this one: the adult world is revealed in all its ambivalent glory here, so keep this vid for after the kids have gone to bed."
A Film with an Agenda
hannah1350n | 05/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite a heavy Freudian hand, this movie generates its own discourse when it tackles feminine sexuality head-on. This is not a movie about gender so much as it is a movie about the principles of pleasure and guilt.The heroine treads the line carefully; her duality is the focus for much of the film's most angst-ridden scenes. While she uses her feminity with ephemeral ease during in court, to get out of a parking ticket, and to seduce her various lovers, she also rejects the images of feminity that seem to pursue her subconscious. She hands her lover a razor in one scene, only to read later that pubic hair is considered a symbol of woman's power.Her love-affair with the principles of power has alienated her from a perceived feminine identity, but has also given her the clarity of thought that redeems not only her life, but that of a weird young girl troubled by her impending womanhood.There is nothing oblique about this film; it is blatant in its cultural references and exact in its portrayal of pleasure and power as tools of identity. This is not a movie about female empowerment, but rather an exploration of how society has made those two words discongruous at the very root. Female Perversions ends up being as troubling and thought-provoking as any film I've enjoyed."
John Cobb | Austin, TX | 02/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The idea that a career driven woman finds herself disconnected from emotions, vacant in today's society, is the subject of at least one daytime television program daily. The presentation of Evelyn Stevens (Tilda Swinton, of Orlando fame) in Female Perversions, is not the sugar-coated world of The View, but a carefully crafted life-study (accurate to the minute details). Evelyn is an attractive woman, she believes herself a beautiful one. She inappropriately wonders through a shop while trying on a revealing piece of underwear, but the only one available is a disinterested octogenarian. She is a competent attorney, yet she represents herself as a premier legal strategist. Her credit card is rejected while making the simplest of purchases, she drive's a SAAB 900 Turbo-the whole thing is perfect.Further insight to Evelyn's internal monsters are seen though the film's portrayal of her sister, Madelyn-the good soul to Evelyn's evil one. She has chosen a more bohemian existence, and calms her internal monsters through adventures in kleptomania.Let's recap: Driven woman, faux life, dysfunctional family, bad credit cards, soon to be made a judge (with no one to tell, and no one who cares). There is only one place left for her to go.To a deeply invested lesbian encounter. Where else can she go? Her entire life as it stands is moments from implosion. The realization that the new lawyer entering her firm (her `replacement') is prettier (Paulina Porizkova, no less), smarter, and likely more stable further pushes Evelyn to the inevitable.Wonderfully cast with Amy Madigan (as the sister), Karen Sillas (as the Doctor/Lesbian love interest), and Clancy Brown (as the boyfriend) in a rarely seen beefcake role. Throw in Frances Fisher and Laila Robins for good measure.Must for all art film fans. Highly recommended for the more mainstream tastes who like a small distraction now and then."
Tilda Swinton is the simply the best
Mikus Aurellius | 02/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would have to disagree with some of the other review comments made earlier. Tilda is great for the role and played it well. Her ability to weave in a sense of believability, eroticism, sensual distress, neurotic behaviour, and breath-taking beauty ties the movie together like no other actress could have done.