9½ Weeks (1986)

9½ Weeks (1986)

Taglines: They broke every rules.

The title refers to the duration of the relationship between self-absorbed Wall Street shark Mickey Rourke and divorced art gallery owner Kim Basinger. Kim is looking for true love, while Mickey is searching for…gosh knows what. His notions of lovemaking include blindfolds, ice cubes, chocolate syrup, and rolling around on spent peanut shells.

When the alotted 9 1/2 weeks are up, Kim has finally come to realize that Rourke has been using her. We could have told her that twenty minutes into the film. One of the definitive works in the Mickey Rourke ouevre, 9 1/2 Weeks is deliciously awful, and as such will probably endure as a Camp Classic for the next hundred years. The film is available in both R-rated and unrated versions; either way, it’s a hoot.

9½ Weeks (originally titled Nine ½ Weeks) is a 1986 American erotic romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne with a screenplay by Sarah Kernochan, Zalman King, and Patricia Louisanna Knop. The film is based on the 1978 memoir of the same name by Austrian-American author Ingeborg Day. It stars Kim Basinger as Elizabeth McGraw and Mickey Rourke as John Gray. McGraw is a New York City art gallery employee who has a brief yet intense affair with a mysterious Wall Street broker. The film was completed in 1984, but not released until February 1986.

9½ Weeks (1986)

About the Story

The title of the film refers to the duration of a relationship between Wall Street arbitrageur John Gray and divorced SoHo art gallery employee Elizabeth McGraw. John initiates and controls the various experimental sexual practices of this volatile relationship to push Elizabeth’s boundaries. In doing so, Elizabeth experiences a gradual downward spiral toward emotional breakdown.

Elizabeth first sees John in New York City where she grocery shops and again at a street market where she decides against buying an expensive scarf. John wins her heart when he eventually produces that scarf. They start dating, and Elizabeth is increasingly subjected to John’s behavioral peculiarities; he blindfolds Elizabeth, who is at first reluctant to comply with his sexual fantasy demands. Yet she sees him as loving and playful. He gives her an expensive gold watch, and instructs her to use it to think about him at noon. She takes this imperative even further by masturbating at her workplace at the designated time. However, he ultimately confuses Elizabeth by his reluctance to meet her friends despite the intimacy of their sexual relations.

Elizabeth’s confusion about John increases when he leaves her alone at his apartment. She examines his closet until she discovers a photograph of him with another woman. John asks her if she went through his stuff, declaring that he will punish her. Their ensuing altercation escalates into sexual assault until she blissfully concedes to his struggle to overpower her. Their sexual intensity grows as they start having sex in public places.

9½ Weeks (1986) - Kim Basinger

Elizabeth’s heightened need for psychosexual stimulation drives her to stalk John to his office and to obey his injunction to cross-dress herself for a rendezvous. On leaving the establishment, two men hurl a homophobic slur when they mistake John and Elizabeth for a gay couple. A fight ensues. Elizabeth picks up a knife from one of the attackers and stabs one of them in the buttocks and both attackers flee. After the fight, Elizabeth reveals a wet tank-top and has sex onsite with John with intensely visceral passion. Following this encounter, John’s sexual games acquire sadomasochistic elements.

Rather than satisfying or empowering Elizabeth, such experiences intensify her emotional vulnerability. While meeting at a hotel room, John blindfolds her. A prostitute starts caressing Elizabeth as John observes them. The prostitute removes Elizabeth’s blindfold and starts working on John. Elizabeth violently intervenes, and flees the hotel, with John pursuing her. They run until they find themselves in an adult entertainment venue. Moments later, John and Elizabeth gravitate towards each other, finding themselves interlocked in each other’s seemingly inescapable embrace.

9½ Weeks Movie Poster (1986)

9½ Weeks (1986)

Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Margaret Whitton, David Margulies, Christine Baranski, Karen Young, William De Acutis
Screenplay by: Patricia Louisianna Knop
Production Design by: Ken Davis
Cinematography by: Peter Biziou
Film Editing by: Caroline Biggerstaff, Ed Hansen, Tom Rolf, Mark Winitsky
Costume Design by: Bobbie Read
Set Decoration by: Christian Kelly
Art Direction by: Linda Conaway-Parsloe
Music by: Jack Nitzsche
Distributed by: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: February 21, 1986