The title is a reference to the duration of the relationship between self-absorbed yuppie Wall Street shark John (Mickey Rourke) and smart, divorced Soho art gallery owner Elizabeth (Kim Basinger).
Elizabeth is looking for true love, while John is searching for . . . well, for something involving blindfolds, ice cubes, chocolate syrup, and rolling around on peanut shells!
There’s not a lot of plot propelling this film. It’s mostly a bunch of sweaty, gymnastic interludes between Basinger and Mickey Rourke, shot in sultry late-afternoon light (for moodiness and intrigue).
If it weren’t for the presence of Basinger and Rourke 9½ Weeks would probably have been exposed as a tawdry sex fantasy rather than the artsy experiment in human sexuality that some critics considered it.
Having said that, the film does feature the best sex scene involving food ever. Sadly, in the real world whenever a hungry couple fancy a saucy re-enactment of the famous scene, all their refrigerator contains is cheese slices and some leftover pizza.
Elizabeth becomes a victim of her own sexual masochism. John cooks her meals, feeds her, bathes her, dresses her, and allows her to see her friends from the outside only during the day. At night, she’s his sexual prisoner, while the soundtrack plays Slave to Love.
When the allotted nine and a half weeks are up, she finally comes to realise that John has been using her (We could have told her that twenty minutes into the film!).
By the time he forces her to watch him make love to a Puerto Rican prostitute and give herself to strangers in a Times Square porno peep show, you begin to wonder how she’s managed to stay out of Bellevue so long.
This film provided Rourke one of his most notorious roles (which prompted further ventures into erotic-noir), and positioned Basinger as a sexual icon and budding star.
Rourke returned for the inferior 1997 sequel (Another 9½ Weeks (Love in Paris)), Basinger didn’t – which says a lot about their differing career trajectories after this film.
William de Acutis