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Shame Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Orgasm addict seeks whatever. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Not a great date movie. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that's as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The biggest surprise in Shame is how distanced, passionless, and merely skin-deep the director's attention is - how little he cares about the subject of his own movie.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Much of the film is banal or pretentious, or both - vacuous vignettes about emptiness. Occasionally, though, those vignettes burst into life and burn with consuming fire.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Fassbender's portrayal is truly haunting, and when he sobs, dramatically unraveling, it's clear he's imprisoned by his physical urges.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Shame reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Powerful drama about sex addiction is NOT for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the NC-17-rated Shame is all about sex addiction, and the movie is filled with nudity, destructive sexual behavior, strong simulated sex scenes, and innuendo. Some of the sex scenes play out a big roughly; there's also violence in the form of a bar fight (not entirely shown) and a bloody suicide attempt. Expect pretty frequent swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), plenty of drinking, and one scene in which the main character snorts cocaine.

  • Families can talk about the movie's sexual content. What is sex addiction? Can it be treated? What are the real-life consequences of this kind of problem?
  • Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding relationships and sex, particularly when it comes to staying safe.
  • Where and how does the title Shame come into play?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie is mainly about sexual addiction and stays intently focused on that particular world. Although the main character begins to realize that he has a problem and takes baby steps toward solving it, the ending remains ambiguous.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main character has a sexual addiction. As a result, he acts selfishly and treats others without care or respect. He does seem to realize that he has a problem, but he doesn't ask for help.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A character attempts suicide and is seen covered in blood. The main character gets into a fistfight in a bar after trying to pick up someone else's girlfriend. The fight itself isn't really shown, but the character's face is bloodied afterward.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Both male and female full-frontal nudity. Several graphic sex scenes, with thrusting, sound effects, and nudity, though much of the actual sex occurs off-screen and is mainly suggested. Some of the sex scenes play out roughly and with a kind of simmering anger. The main character has several partners, including prostitutes, women he picks up, and a man in a gay sex club. He watches porn on his computer (pornographic images are briefly shown) and compulsively masturbates. A secondary, married character cheats on his wife. Very strong sexual innuendo.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent use of strong words including "f--k," "screw," "s--t," "t-ts," "d--k," "p---y," "a--hole," "bitch," "hell," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), and more.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Characters are seen drinking Red Bull more than once. A container of Trader Joe's orange juice is visible.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters seem to drink just about every night in bars, restaurants, and at home. The main character enjoys martinis, wine, and beer. Only the secondary characters appear to get drunk. The main character snorts cocaine in one scene.