Okay, this is a slippery SSL Review here, folks. I can say that Only God Forgives is clearly eligible for an SSL Review. It certainly has a depiction or discussion of female sexual release or female masturbation, so that's why we're here. The tricky part, though, is what to make of it. In this type of review I'm really just trying to asses the impact and significance of said depiction/discussion on our cultural understanding of physical female sexual response.
However, this movie is not straightforward, and critiquing the culture impact of the scenes from within the context of the movie is also not straightforward. So, let me just describe the scenes. They are both basically the same, just at different times in the movie. Julian (Ryan Gosling - who has a pretty good Orgasm Equality History) is seated and he watches Mai (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam), a fully dressed woman, doing what one could only assume is masturbating herself under her skirt. We don't see much of what's going on below the waist, but from arm movement/placement we could, ya know, reasonably assume she is masturbating. It looks as realistic as one could expect. She is putting on a little bit of a show with the whole tilted back open lipped I'm-clearly-pleasuring-myself facial expression, but it's not over the top. I wouldn't call it pornish or anything. The hand seems as if it's making circles on the clit/vulva area, which is certainly a realistic way one might masturbate - I mean it doesn't look like she's doing any of the not-so-orgasmic-but too-often-depicted-ladybation-movements we sometimes see in movies like ramming anything in and out of her vagina, so it's a good, realistic depiction.
|Julian (Ryan Gosling) and Mai (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam) - not one of the scenes I'm describing btw|
You might be saying, "Hey Trish, why's this so hard to SSL Review? It's a depiction of Ryan Gosling in a hot suit paying (we assume since it's pretty clear in the movie that she's a prostitute) a lady to masturbate while he watches and doesn't touch (she actually ties his hands to the chair in the first scene)."
And I'd have to say, "You're right, my friend. This is actually the perfect scenario - a man (a hot one too) valuing genuine, realistic, and independent pursuit of sexual release in a woman. I mean that's great. Plus, it's my perfect prostitution job. I could be way into that, but, like I said, the movie ain't so clear cut." There's perspective switches and cuts between reality and fantasy. In fact it's open to interpretation what parts of these scenes are even really happening. There's also issues with the larger context of these two character's relationship - there's a bit of a power dynamic which could taint how you see these scenes. Plus, the movie is super "artsy" and violent and somewhat confusing depending on how you look at it, so I think this lady-bation scene could feel very different to different viewers, and I don't want to get too deep into that.
So, here's my final SSL Review conclusion. While acknowledging all the complications involved with the movie's context, I willingly take these scenes at face value and hereby declare that they are realistic depictions of how a female might physically masturbates, and that's more than most movies who either ignore it (more so than male masturbation) or depict it in an unrealistic way, so I give it 4 out of 5 vulvas!
P.S. I actually really liked this movie. It's of a certain taste, but if you like to try out varied styles of cinema, I'd give it a chance. There's some crazy shit in this, and it was so strangely pretty...