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9½ weeks – the movie that woke imagination

Updated: Sep 28, 2019

Featured in Issue 2, Masquerade Magazine –

by Chris Jones

Over the years there have been many films that touch on the subject of seduction. In my mind there’s only one film that completely epitomises the idea of Fantasy & Seduction. That film is the excellent ‘9½ Weeks’.

Let’s go back to the mid 1980s. Our movie screens back then were full of the typical ‘Rocky-Arnie-Rambo’ style clones, the endless stream of teen movies like ‘Porkys’, and the nearest thing we had to anything seductive were the old ‘Emmanuelle’ films starring Sylvia Kristel.

So in February 1986, just when another ‘Mad Max’ film had took its toll at the box office and the ‘Back to the Future’ franchise had yet to dominate, out of the blue came 9½ Weeks. Starring a young and definitely more handsome Micky Rourke (John) and the Hollywood starlet of the day Kim Basinger (Elizabeth), 9½ Weeks took us on a journey of pure imagination and sexual intrigue; a journey that we had never seen on our movie screens before.

Directed by British-born Adrian Lyne who had previously worked on ‘Flashdance’, the movie documents the short and destructive sexual relationship between Elizabeth and John. She, an art gallery worker, he a wealthy Wall Street exec with a penchant for the non ‘vanilla’ (conventional ideas of sex) side of life.

The relationship starts after Elizabeth’s divorce from her ex-husband. She yearns for something new and exciting and that excitement comes in the form of John whom she happens upon in a downtown flea market. He shows her an alternative view of life and introduces her to a new level of sexual arousal, something that was missing from her life.

She quickly falls under John’s spell and together they begin to explore his erotic tendencies.  She becomes more and more willing to indulge his strange requests but before long it spirals into raunchier and more risque sex. The levels the couple go to test the boundaries of their lust intensify dramatically, until John pushes the envelope a little too far and introduces a third party in the form of a Spanish prostitute to a blindfolded Elizabeth in a downtrodden motel room. 

This proves to be the turning point for her, she has to get out now before she becomes totally immersed in his world. She longs for a more emotional involvement and realises John is unable or unwilling to give her that. 

Where, in my opinion, this film is light years ahead of its rivals is the fact that other films may have had one or two saucy moments, but 9½ Weeks was a complete trip into seduction and fantasy. Sure, we may have had Sharon Stone and William Baldwins dinner table scene from ‘Sliver’, not to mention Madonna’s highly charged wax scene from ‘Body of Evidence’ but all in all, nothing could rival the scope and imagination of 9½ Weeks.

Who can remember the Joe Cocker classic ‘You can leave your hat on’ playing while Elizabeth seductively slips out of her clothes in an attempt to show John that she is content to be on his alternative, imaginative but somewhat controlling wavelength. And let’s not forget the projector scene where Elizabeth finally lets go completely and experiences for herself a whole new level of satisfaction.

If you were to ask the women I knew who saw 9½ Weeks when it was released, they will tell the impact that film had on their sex life. All of a sudden there was a sense of imagination in the bedroom, a naughtier, darker kind of pleasure to be had. 

I myself, can still remember the first time I tried the ice cube trick, and the response it got. I also remember thinking of all the possible uses for a fridge full of food. Unfortunately I missed out on the thrill of throwing money across the floor for my partner to crawl on all fours and pick up with her teeth, as it didn’t have the same impact with one pound coins (hey, I was young and broke!) 

Many husbands and boyfriends all over, now had a ‘manual’ for seducing their woman and it seemed to work pretty well.

I honestly don’t think there has been a complete film to rival 9½ Weeks in the last 20 years. It stands up just as strong today in the genre as it did all those years ago. Since then there have been plenty of movies moments that have caught our attention, but a ‘complete journey into the world of Fantasy & Seduction’ – I dont think so!

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