Spanking the Monkey

Year: 1994
Production Co: Buckeye Films
Director: David O Russell
Writer: David O Russell
Cast: Jeremy Davies, Alberta Watson

David O Russell's Sundance-flavoured calling card, notable much more for its subject matter than for the plot or execution, a topic that would suit he likes of Todd Solondz.

Jeremy Davies is Ray, at home taking care of his MILF-like mother (Watson) while she recovers from a broken leg. His family doesn't seem by any means screwed up no matter how things turn out. Susan's husband is cheating on her and mostly absent for much of her convalescence, leaving Ray to nurse her back to health.

For whatever reason they end up sleeping together (she's a fairly sexual woman, her son is giving her the tender care she craves from a husband, they're both borderline bipolar, he's an emotional retard as evidenced in his burgeoning relationship with his more age-appropriate love interest - probably a combination of the above).

I don't remember much about the resolution or outcome, but it was a slow, languid movie that approached its taboo centerpiece in a starkly matter of fact way like it would a character driving to work. I also don't remember if the look his mother gave him over her shoulder - bedroom eyes a woman would make to a lover, never her offspring - made me uncomfortable, but I think the trick is to imagine it's your own mother and your younger self on screen.

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