Polish drama 365 Days is by no means harmless erotica and a petition to have it removed from Netflix is rightfully gaining some serious traction.
What’s the fuss about 365 Days
It is rare for a relatively low-key release to get so much hype so quickly.
After a theatrical run in Poland, 365 Days caught fire on Netflix, appearing on the Top 10 most-watched titles in the United States and the UK amongst many other countries.
The secret to movie’s success is its extreme nudity and graphic and realistic sex scenes. It is as close to a porn film as a film that you can watch (relatively) respectably gets.
Critics and viewers have stated that it ‘makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like a PG’.
One thing is for sure, people aren’t watching it for its deft cinematography and dialogue. In fact, it has received 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
So where’s the problem?
The problem, and it is a significant one, lies in the plot.
It tells the story of a woman (Laura) who is kidnapped and imprisoned by a Mafia boss (Massimo) who gives her 365 days to fall in love with him.
They then spend many, many scenes having sex in many, many different ways.
Viewers have quite rightly pointed out that this seems to glorify sexual abuse. It certainly presents a tone-deaf assessment of the nature of consent.
While Laura does fall in love with Massimo, that certainly doesn’t make any of it okay.
For a start, has nobody heard of Stockholm Syndrome? It’s a very real psychological response where a victim of abuse begins to identify and bond with their abuser.
That’s not mention a throw-away scene in which Massimo effectively forces a flight attendant to give him a blow job without any consent. She performs the act and then smiles. And that is all okay, we move on.
And, given the cultural power that Netflix has, surely promoting a movie in which the main character kidnaps a young woman and holds her against her will for sexual purposes is wildly irresponsible?
The true danger of 365 Days comes in the fact that a show on Netflix has an implicit stamp of approval and respectability for impressionable teenagers.
This isn’t a late night foray into a world of porn sites, this is arguably the world’s most recognisable content platform telling us this kind of sexual activity is not problematic.
A petition is gathering support
A petition on Change.org has already gathered over 65,000 signatures demanding that Netflix remove 365 Days.
It’s doubtful that the weight of numbers will be enough, in fact there is even a sequel in production that was delayed by covid-19 (at least it has some bright sides).
However, we can only hope that Netflix listens to the uproar and does the decent thing and pulls the plug on a rare lapse in judgement.
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