Sleeping with Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire
For true cinemaphiles and gender critics, there may be no better book at that intersection than David Thomson’s latest work, Sleeping With Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire.
Thomson’s career of nearly fifty years has offered him unique peeks behind Hollywood’s curtain of filmmaking. It is from that perspective that he writes of the oppression of women, the latent and blatant homosexuality in some of cinemas most celebrated films, and of the inherent desire that shapes all of these renderings. The book, sectioned thematically, takes on the tropes of some of the film industry’s most strident genres including westerns and horror films.
While all of his observations seem founded and astute, there is a bit of a disconnect at times in how the material is presented. The leap, in one chapter, from Cold Mountain to Bonnie and Clyde to From Here to Eternity can be jarring for those who do not have extensive knowledge of the films he references and connects. If you are seeking a book that attempts to explain and explore our fascination with desire on film, and the way the movies define what it is we actually want versus what we think we want, Thomson’s book is a good fit for you.
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