After its premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Gaspar Noé’s ‘Love’ was labeled as one of the most NSFW films of the decade and rightfully so. Although apart from its sex scenes, there is a lot more to take in from the movie, its envelope-pushing sex scenes almost make up half of its runtime. Over the years, since its release, the film’s bold and highly sexual approach has been questioned by viewers and critics alike. But only when you actually watch the film and understand the context of its seemingly pretentious sex scenes, you realize that there’s a lot more authenticity to them than they’re being credited for. Here we have ranked all the best sex scenes in Love and have also explained their significance in context with the film’s overarching plot.
9. The Gratuitous Opening Scene
To say that ‘Love’ is “quite explicit” would be a bit of an understatement. From the opening scene itself, the film gives you a glimpse of all the sex scenes that lie ahead. Because of its lack of context, the opening scene is a complete shocker and catches you off-guard. And since you know almost nothing about Murphy and Electra’s relationships at this point, you question what you’re about to watch next. While many viewers, at the film’s shocking onset, will be turned off (no pun intended) by the first scene itself, others will be curious to know what differentiates it from mainstream porn.
8. The Beginning of Murphy’s Regret
In the present timeline of the movie, Murphy wakes up next to Omi and is filled with regret. During these moments, he keeps harkening back to the initial phases of his relationships with Electra when they were deeply in love. The moments when they even talked about having a baby together. In the present, Murphy loves his son but hates the fact that Omi is his son’s mother. This is when he recalls a time when he made “tender love” to Electra. Compared to most other sex scenes in the film, this one is brief but its significance comes from what happens right after. After making love, Electra tells him that having sex while being under the influence of opium is the best feeling ever. In the present, Murphy recalls that day and swallows an opium pill, hoping that he would, for once, be able to have Electra “inside him.”
7. The Consequence
The film’s most consequential sex scene in which Murphy has sex with Omi is featured twice throughout its runtime. The first time, without any relevant backstories, the film shows how Omi got pregnant with Murphy’s child in the first place. There is absolutely nothing titillating about this scene and it only lasts for a few moments when it is initially featured. But, as revealed later, it turns out to be the tipping point of Murphy’s relationship with Electra.
6. Murphy’s Dream
Midway through the film’s runtime, there’s a series of sex scenes that show how dreamy Murphy’s relationship was with Electra. During these scenes, Murphy not only makes love to Electra but also lives his dream of being a filmmaker. Almost like a character of his own movie, he films the Electra in those spells of intimacy. But little does he realize that all of it is about to change very soon.
5. Murphy’s Contradiction
Murphy constantly takes his relationship with Electra for granted and sleeps with other women when he gets the opportunity. When Electra figures out what he has been up to, just to get back at him, she lies about sleeping with her ex, who is a married artist. Murphy isn’t able to handle this too well, and in the back of his head, he keeps getting visions of his girlfriend having sex with the artist. The film depicts these scenes with a very unsightly and menacing tone that is an instant turn off for a viewer. But this has been done intentionally just to show exactly what the unpleasant visions in Murphy’s head look like.
4. The Threesome
Electra and Murphy try to spice up their sex life and set out to explore their deepest desires. Although they don’t realize, it’s this careless notion that sets them on a dark path. After talking about having a threesome, the two of them lure their pretty, blonde neighbor Omi and invite her home. With beautiful piano music in the backdrop—barely noticeable because of what’s going on in the scene—the trio initiates a threesome. In the moment, this scene just seems like a salacious of showing how Electra and Murphy are trying to make the best of their youth without worrying about what their decisions will lead up to in the future. But this also represents the hypocritical notions that the couple holds. It was Electra’s idea to explore this “threesome fantasy” in the first place, and yet, she feels betrayed when Murphy later cheats on her with Omi.
3. A Darker Time
Even after going through several trials and tribulations because of their own careless behavior, Murphy and Electra still choose to stick around with another. During these moments, the movie features a series of sex scenes where Murphy and Electra make passionate love. However, in contrast to the initial scenes, these are complemented with a darker tone that shows how they’re still not on the right path. This sequence also features John Frusciante’s “Murderers” in its backdrop, which further intensifies all the reckless passion that it reeks of.
2. Going Above and Beyond
What once started off as an exploration of their deepest desires now turns into something much darker. Electra and Murphy head to a sex club downtown, and just to keep their sex life more interesting, they try to get intimate with other people. While Electra easily mingles with the bleak, hypnotizing environment of the club, Murphy doesn’t take it too well and gets Electra out of there. Electra then suggests that maybe they should try having a threesome with a trans woman. This, too, scares the living hell out of Murphy, and with what follows, the couple wonders if they’ll ever be the same again.
1. The First Time
The most significant and purposefully sensual sex scene of the film is the one where Electra and Murphy make love for the first time. Although naive and oblivious to what lies ahead, the two of them feel connected to one another. But when Murphy looks back at this day and remembers how everything was so pure and simple, he is filled with regret. The segments of this sex scene are distributed throughout the film’s runtime. At first, it is featured only as a memory of Electra that Murphy still cherishes. Then later, during his ayahuasca trip, Murphy again recalls the same moment but hates himself for taking things for granted. And finally, in the closing comments of the movie, Murphy again thinks of the time when he first made love with Electra and accepts that he’ll never be able to relive that moment.
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