Spanking the Monkey

Director: David O. Russell
Screenwriters: David O. Russell

Institute History


David O. Russell's debut, Spanking the Monkey, is a notably mature family drama that marches into uncharted territory with a meticulous, yet earnest, examination of sexual tensions. Unlike many stories about abuse that harp on the voyeuristic and pit characters who seem good or evil against each other, this film IS an honest and astute character study that makes us Question stereotypical judgments about family life.

Having just completed his freshman year at Mil Ray, portrayed unself-consciously by the talented young Jeremy Davies, discovers he will have to forfeit hrs prestigious internship at the surgeon general's office to spend the summer taking care of his mother Ray's heartless father leaves him at the airport with his mother's prescriptions, a single tank of gas and a toothbrush to clean the dog's Infected gums. So the summer begins, leaving Ray little to look forward to except bathing, feeding and nurturing his mother, who has ended up in bed with a compound fractured leg suffered In a fall while she was trying to kill herself. Ray's only hope for excitement is walking the dog, and one day he meetsToni, a neighborhood high-school student. Ray and Toni start meeting, but eventually awkward sex leads to volatile accusations and recriminations Meanwhile Ray's mother becomes jealous and leads him into an even more tangled web of sexual Innuendo,

One of the most remarkable things about this film is that although the story deals With the most intimate situations. the performances are brutally honest and wonderfully Innocent. Both Ray and Toni (Carlo Gallo) are completely believable, true to both age and experience. Also Unique is Russell's choice to create characters who are smart and attractive, yet unpredictably disturbed Alberta Watson is captivating as Ray's mother, alternately a model parent and a desperate Wife.

Friday Jan 21 4:40 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III

Sunday Jan 23 12:30 pm
Park City Library Center

Wednesday Jan 26 1lt.20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Saturday Jan 29 9:30 am
Prospector Square Theatre


— Catherine Schulman

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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