Lady Chatterley’s Lover Parent Guide
With flat characters and a predictable story, all that's left is non-stop sexual content, which is lethally boring.
Parent Movie Review
When Connie (Emma Corrin) married Clifford Chatterley (Matthew Duckett), she anticipated a life of ease. She’d had the good luck to fall in love with a baronet possessed of ample land and significant income, making her Lady Chatterley upon their marriage. Life rarely remains untroubled or easy and Clifford winds up paralyzed from the waist down due to an injury sustained in the Great War. He increasingly relies on Connie for care, and as his demands increase, so too does the emotional distance between them.
There is an even greater complication: Clifford wants an heir to his title and estate, but he is now impotent. He encourages Connie to find a reputable man to sire a child for them, on the condition that he never wants to know who it is. Luckily for Connie, she doesn’t have to look far: Clifford’s own gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors (Jack O’Connell) is far kinder than Clifford ever was, and Connie falls hard. Now she just has to keep the secret, because if it gets out that the Baronet’s wife has been having an affair with a servant, the gossip could ruin both Connie’s and Oliver’s lives.
The original novel of the same title by D.H. Lawrence was notorious, being banned repeatedly for its graphic sexual content and (for the time) unimaginable use of profanity. The book was the subject of many censorship trials and bans around the world, and was only properly released in an un-censored edition in the early 1960’s. Despite majoring in English Literature, I never got around to reading it, so I can’t speak to the novel’s merits. The film, on the other hand, seems to be almost entirely without them.
Let’s address the naked elephant in the room here. There is, as you might expect, rather a lot of sex and nudity. Whether the happy adulterous couple is shagging in the woods, huts, ponds, fields, or if you can imagine such a thing, in beds, they certainly keep themselves busy. These scenes are quite graphic, and there are other scenes of graphic nudity just to keep you on your toes. In spite of this non-stop skin parade, the film is lethally boring from start to finish. The characters are fairly simple and the story is unrelentingly predictable, so the only consistent source of tension in the film is supposed to be the sex, which is a miserable failure as a substitute for a decent plot.
Maybe I’ve just been desensitized to the film, since it seems like every other romantic drama that comes out these days is some sort of forbidden love story across socioeconomic class lines, but Lady Chatterley just doesn’t bring much to the conversation apart from an ongoing fascination with the cast’s skin. I mean, if you’re desperate from some period erotica, and Bridgerton just isn’t cutting the mustard, I suppose this is a reasonable next step. For two-hours of my life, though, I’d rather just take a nap. The insides of my eyelids are more interesting than this, even without non-stop sex en plein air.
Directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. Starring Emma Corrin, Jack O'Connell, Faye Marsay. Running time: 126 minutes. Theatrical release December 2, 2022. Updated December 2, 2022
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Rating & Content Info
Why is Lady Chatterley’s Lover rated R? Lady Chatterley’s Lover is rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and some language.
Sexual Content: There are no fewer than seven scenes of graphic sexual content, and many more off graphic nudity, both male and female. A woman’s breasts are clearly seen on several occasions, sometimes for prolonged periods. There are scenes where male and female genitals are visible. I won’t describe the specifics on a family website, but lets just say that there is a certain amount of variety in the sexual situations on screen.
Profanity: There are six sexual expletives and occasional use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially.
Page last updated December 2, 2022
Lady Chatterley’s Lover Parents' Guide
Why was Lawrence’s original novel so controversial? What does it say about class in England in the early 20th century? Is that message still relevant? What other themes do you think this story addresses? Why was divorce so difficult to obtain historically? How would this story be different if it took place today?