Think 50 shades of gray is sexual? Wait till you watch this 1994 film. British couple Fiona and Nigel go on a cruise to Istanbul to solve their marriage problems and meet American, Oscar and Parisan, Mimi on board.
Oscar is wheelchair bound, while Mimi is much much younger than he and Nigel’s wife. Oscar tells Nigel he can have his wife if he listens to his story.
Oscar meets Mimi on the bus on route 69 (yes, like the sex position). She lost her ticket so Oscar white knights, slips her his and is escorted off the bus by the ticket marshal.
Oscar is a rich playboy in his late 30s who writes in his free time, hoping to someday get published. Immediately after that encounter, a girl asks him to her her with her bra as he describes this encounter on the computer as being “granted a glimpse of heaven then dumped on the sidewalk of rue d’Assas”. Enamoured by her beauty, Oscar is obsessed with finding her–he returns daily to the bus stop by rue d’Assas and eventually gives up.
While roaming the streets in search of his soul mate *cringe*, Oscar, sees a brunette who resembles Mimi and walks into the boutique she works at. He realises that she isn’t Mimi, but asks her out anyway.
Lo and behold, at dinner, Mimi waits their table. Oscar is shocked, excuses himself and asks Mimi out on a date. Mimi agrees and they go out to dinner the next day.
We see Oscar’s oneitis reemerge again when he recounts that he was so nervous that he showed up 30 minutes early. That being said, back in the 1990s, western women were not as damaged as they are now; having some onieits was probably expected and healthy.
They go out and Mimi is smitten by Oscar. She mimics him like a dog, laughs at all his jokes and when they eventually get back to his apartment, she grabs his tie and takes her dress off.
Could this be because she saw him with another woman at the restaurant she worked at?
She starts reading the manuscripts he’s written about his former conquests and asks “Did you really sleep with all these women?”
Oscar brushes this off and what ensues is 3 days of wild monkey sex and “living on nothing but love and stale croissants”
When Oscar shaves with a razor, Mimi asks him why he doesn’t use an electric one. As he is explaining, she interjects with “I know, because you think it makes you look macho.” Like a child, she begs Oscar to let her shave him. Oscar eventually relents and shows her how to. By accident, she cuts him; blood is gushing out. Mimi sucks on the wound; for a split second, Oscar stares in disbelief, but Mimi initiates sex with him. This is the first red flag we see in the movie, and probably the biggest one Oscar ignores. As the film progresses, we see several more red flags Oscar fails to notice. Recounting the early days of their relationship, Oscar tells Nigel that Mimi was a perfect blend of childhood nativity and sexual maturity. This is another red flag: this implies that Mimi was sexualised at a young age, probably before puberty. She had a disposition towards promiscuity. I’m not sure whether Oscar picked up on this back when he first met Mimi, but if he did, he made the mistake of letting her move in.
Beware the stage 5 clinger
Mimi moves in with Oscar and what ensues is a purely sexual relationship. BIG mistake Oscar; never let a fuck buddy move in.
Sex for Oscar is getting too vanilla so he gets Mimi to try BDSM. Eventually, that gets boring as well and they develop a “narcotic dependency on television” to avoid talking to each other. Sex is not a replacement for an emotional bond; a purely sexual relationship is for fuck buddies. Never make someone a girlfriend if all you want is sex.
Occasionally Oscar takes Mimi out but becomes increasingly irritated by her. Sex too becomes a burden. He tries to ditch her several times by verbally degrading her and physically beating her, but she comes back begging to stay. Eventually, Oscar tells her that he cannot be with her, when she asks why, he coldly responds by saying because she exists. She is deeply hurt, but deep down, becomes even more needy for the approval of this older man. Daddy issues?
She leaves and Oscar, while enjoying his new found freedom, goes on a night out and admits missing her. He comes home and finds Mimi sleeping at his front door; she begs him to stay, telling him that he can do whatever he wants, he can beat her, yell at her and have other women, if he lets her stay. There is no mention of Mimi’s parents in the film, but I strongly suspect she has daddy issues.
He agrees and tells Nigel that he only did so because she wanted hell and he would “make it so hot that she would want out” Big mistake–when you have a stage 5 clinger, run the fuck away. Don’t keep her in your harem. Don’t continue banging her. Run.
Mimi cuts her short and takes on the role of a pseudo house wife. Another big red flag. Osar continues degrading her in front of others until one day, Mimi tells him that she’s pregnant. Jesus christ, warp up for god’s sake.
Oscar convinces her to get an abortion. He brings her flowers and tricks her into getting a flight with him out of France. On board, he fakes a seizure and gets off the plane, leaving her on board with no return ticket. This act will eventually come back to haunt him.
He goes back to living the player lifestyle until one day he gets hit by a bus when leaving a club drunk.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Oscar spends several weeks in hospital recovering from the accident. He has a fractured leg which has to be suspended in a certain position until full recovery.
Mimi shows up and pushes him onto the ground, displacing the support for his fractured leg, telling him that she remembered what he did to her. Oscar is rushed to emergency and it is later revealed that he is completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Mimi moves back in to take care of him and begins her revenge. He injects him with dirty needles, talks dirty with her fuck buddies, leaving him to shiver in the bathtub during the winter. She goes out dancing all night and makes fun of Oscar when he wets himself.
The roles are reversed and we see the start of a downward spiral. Oscar’s paralysis has made him increasingly dependent, both physically and emotionally, on Mimi. Mimi starves him of all contact with the outside world and turns away a potential opportunity for Oscar to get published.
On Oscar’s birthday, she gives him a revolver. Shouldn’t have ignored the first red flag oscar, these things come back to bite you.
Eventually, she tells Oscar that the abortion he paid for almost killed her and has left her infertile. She tells him that he, leaving her on board the plane with no return ticket was the last straw for her. A submissive woman can only be submissive for so long before she goes bat shit crazy–there is a limit to how much of an asshole you can be.
Your sexual market value
Oscar tells Nigel that while he was used to being half a man, he hit rock bottom when Mimi fucks a black dancer right in front of him one night.
They get married after that incident, because, according to Oscar, they needed each other. Translation: Mimi succeeded in lowering Oscar’s sexual market value. This was the only way conceivable way she could get him to stay with her. This was the last nail in Oscar’s coffin.
Oscar’s story ends here. Nigel incapacitates his wife with sleeping pills and goes to the new year’s eve party.
Nice guys finish last
Nigel goofily dances with Mimi and tries to kiss her. She rebuffs his attempts; when Nigel asks why, she said that he will never have her because he loves her too much. Tough luck bud, you’ll never get with an alpha widow. Alpha fucks Beta bucks. As bizarre as this is, in Mimi’s eyes, Oscar was more of a man than anyone else ever could be. Mimi perceives Oscar as “the one”. Perhaps Oscar tricked Nigel into chasing Mimi to prove a point? Mimi will always love him regardless of how low he sinks; Mimi will always remember the memories they shared.
I’ll leave you in suspense as to how the movie ends. Hint: it isn’t a happy ending.