Navigating 21st century love á la “Her” and “Nymphomaniac”.

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Sex, love, and Hollywood have had a longstanding affair – one that could easily be described as codependent. Movies tend to be very good at constructing ideal romances, providing relationship advice, or sexual fantasies that are pretty much unattainable in the real world. Throughout history, the depiction of sexuality has been controversial in Hollywood films. Depicting interracial love and female sexuality isn’t as rare as it once was, but none-the-less, it took some daring directors to use the medium to push cultural boundaries.

Film, like many forms of art, impacts cultural norms and leads the way for new trends. This is obviously a two-way street, so observing how Hollywood depicts provocative subjects can often be an indicator of where social standards are at and where they’re going next.

During the past year, a number of big name films were produced that have been challenging dominant ideas of love and sexuality. Depicting new forms of intimacy, “Her” and “Nymphomaniac” are radical portrayals of historically tabooed affairs. From bodiless love to purely corporeal exploits, the films differ dramatically, yet both offer new perspectives on relationships and what “love” means in the 21st century.