Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, one can sense the sexually comedic edge that is added. This particular film can be analyzed from many different perspectives but I have chosen to critique it from an aesthetic point of view, as well as ethical and psychoanalytic critiques. Since this was one of Woody Allen’s first films, his fourth to be exact, the film seemed to be lacking aesthetically.
However, although the film did not include special effects, unique camera angles, or exceptional lighting, all of these simple attributes somehow made it that much more interesting. The simplicity of it all made it work. Analyzing this film from an ethical standpoint one may argue that several of the questions that are asked in the film appear inappropriate or unethical. Although every one of the vignettes is built around sex and its implications, it is narrated with such a caustic and bitter approach that it almost seems difficult to avoid laughing and or smiling at least once.
One of the questions that are brought up during the film that one may see as risque can include, “Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm? ” This question was displayed as a parody of stylish Italian films of the 60’s in which a slick playboy, Woody Allen, discovers his wife can climax only when they make love in public places. Some may argue that this question crosses a certain line of what is considered taboo, or a question that one may be “afraid to ask”, also seen in the title of the work.
Psychoanalytically this film is quite interesting. What makes this film a sexual comedy/spoof is the origin in which it came from. The film is based off of a reference guide by the physiologist, Dr. David Rueben. One can only imagine the controversy that came about during this time because of the social mocking that is presumed to have taken place. The film touches upon specific chapters from the original book with a made up synopsis of short films that take a concept and make light of each state of affairs.
The film is entirely made up of sexual perversions, although it is not technically erotic, Allen has taken some of the most popular clinical treatments of sexual fetishes and has placed them into extremely unusual situations. For example, when the question, “What is sodomy? ” arises one would never expect the short film of Gene Wilder falling in love with a sheep to have any relation. Allen was able to take such a serious subject in the psychological field and truly turn it into a quirky, sarcastic, and full-bodied film.
Although this was a low budget film, with little experience under its belt it still seemed to reach the success ladder. This film was able to challenge social norms as well as psychologically. Allen successfully made light of serious sexual questions that we are indeed afraid to ask. Aesthetically this film may never be recognized in a positive way, but as far as challenging societal norms, this film definitely takes the cake.