Spanking the Monkey

Coming of age film with an interesting twist
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For his first feature from 1994, director David O. Russell entitled his film after one taboo subject, which covers a much darker subject matter.

Perhaps he would have scared off his potential audience if he had simply called his film ‘Motherfucker’ instead of using a slang term for masturbation. But this film certainly follows Philip Larkin’s dictum - ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad.’

Sexually frustrated outsider Raymond, played by Jeremy Davies, is forced by his domineering father to look after his sexy mother, Alberta Watson, who has a broken leg, instead of going to Washington to take up a much sought after hospital internship. Meanwhile at home, Raymond has to look after his invalid mum’s needs.

The unusual sexual subtext gives what is an otherwise run-of-the-mill coming of age film an interesting twist, but Russell gives no indication of the invention which made I Love Huckabees such a fantastic film.

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