Thursday, 1 November 2012

Bond, villain






I hope you don't mind my husband butting in on our conversation (that is not my husband above, that of course is Daniel Craig).

My husband, Giles Coren, will only be with us for a moment. He's just got a few words to say. It's a piece that was supposed to go in The Times on Saturday, you see - only they wouldn't run it. It was about James Bond and there's been too much Bond, they said, someone else is doing something on something or other. So write something else, yeah Giles? Well my husband is an accommodating sort of chap so he said okay then - but it's such a good piece it deserves to be read and Tweeted and to bust out from behind the paywall will make him so very chipper.

I promise this won't be a regular thing.

Coming soon: a recipe!!!



BOND, VILLAIN
(The piece they tried to ban. Warning! This contains plot spoilers...)

by Giles Coren
 
There is a moment in the new James Bond film so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick. If you have not seen the film and fear a spoiler, then look away now. Or cancel your tickets and do something less horrible instead. Like pull all your fingernails out.

In short, there is a young woman in this film whom Bond correctly identifies (in his smug, smart-arse way) as a sex-worker who was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers. She is now a brutalised and unwilling gangster’s moll. She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond, merely of being incredibly scared and unhappy. So he creeps uninvited into her hotel shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored.

That is vile enough. And totally out of keeping, I’d have thought, with Daniel Craig’s Bond. But it gets much worse when she is later tied up with a glass of whisky on her head in a hilarious William Tell spoof, and shot dead in a game devised by the baddie. We knew already knew the baddie was bad, so there was no plot developing element here. It was merely disgusting, exploitative, 1970s-style death-porn (like when Roger Moore torpedoed the beautiful girl in the helicopter in The Spy Who Loved Me and then joked about it – a scene from which it has taken me 35 years to recover).

The ‘new’ Bond’s immediate response to the killing of a tragic, abused, indentured slave woman is to say, “waste of good scotch” (this must be the ‘humour’ Daniel Craig said he was keen to put back into the role) and then kill everyone. He could have done it three minutes before and saved her. But that wouldn’t have been as funny, I guess.

That Macallan (the whisky brand on her head) presumably paid to be involved in the scene, as part of the film’s much-touted product placement programme, is utterly baffling to me.

Personally, I am ashamed, as a journalist, of the five star ratings this film garnered across the board from sheep-like critics afraid or unable to look through the hype, to its rotten soul.

I am ashamed, as a man, that women are still compelled in the 21st century to watch movies in which the three female outcomes are:

1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;

2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and

3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.

And I am ashamed, as a British person, that this film will be mistaken abroad for an example of prevailing values here. It is a sick, reactionary, depressing film and its director, Sam Mendes, should be ashamed of himself, all the way to the bank.

312 comments:

  1. I first read a Bond back in 59/60 and was a bit unsure even then that I approved; loved it of cours. Then Connery did it on celluloid and I was hooked. For about four films. Then... well it seems I may have been ahead of the curve for a change. Bloody well said - even more eloquent of our age is that you can't get it published.

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  2. Well said sir. I have not and would not watch the film. Good for you for having the strength of character to show your decent morals. Shame on the paper form not having the same.

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    1. It's a bond film. It isn't a social commentary, people are far too sensitive nowadays. Getting all hot under the collar over a fictional work? wow...

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    2. Because fiction is in no way reflective of our cultural values...

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  3. Completely agree. You didn't mention it's also a crap film.

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    1. Completely disagree - it is one of the best Bond films ever...reading is article makes me believe he did not even watch it himself...

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    2. Crap film? It's one of the most highly acclaimed Bond films of all time and both user-reviews and critics alike have given it very good reviews - 8.3 on IMDB and 85% on Metacritic (an average of 11 critic reviews). Doesn't get much better than that. The author is juse clearly over-sensitive to Bond's traditional sexism which is really meant to be laughed at, not frowned upon and taken literally.

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    3. Yes, it really is a crap film! Went with three friends for a 'fun' evening and wished I'd stayed in sorting out my sock drawer. Admittedly, the chase at the start is silly but exciting, however it's all downhill after that .... and it's a very long hill. We appreciate that Bond is fantasy, so why is this one so miserable and lacking in the lightness of style which once made them enjoyable screen romps. I agree entirely with Giles' comments about the portrayal of women, to add insult to injury (literally), M can't even shoot straight!

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    4. You obviously have no life, or any ability to use your imagination, get away from your poxy life and chill out, watch the film and soak it up and take it for what it is.. A very VERY good and gritty film!

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    5. Sexism is never funny.

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    6. oh yeah? Why are men like British Rail toilets? They're either vacant, engaged, or full of crap!

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    7. Sexism is sometimes funny. Depends on the context.

      Need a hand getting off your high horse?

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  4. What do you mean - "She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond"..isn't everyone? Whether male, female animal or vegetable? Isn't that the whole premise of these silly films~?

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  5. Bond films are sexist, but long gone are the days when men in suits slapped female co workers on the bum and quipped 'good job dear'. Bond is by character a male chauvinistic bastard that drinks martini's and shags his way through a crisis. I can't imagine a bond that drinks watercress smoothies and cries listening to Enya can you? No. It's James Bond.

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    1. Long gone are the days when ...insert abusive behaviour here... The problem with that argument, is that it doesn't matter if those days are long gone, because the days of men sexually abusing women and girls at an incredible level (1 in 4) are not long gone. They're here, they're now and we're living it. So popular culture glorifying it, is shit.

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    2. Long gone? I think not.

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  6. Yes, well put. Shame on the Times for not running this.

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    1. Why? It is badly written and gives away the whole plot. Spoiler alert or not, a newspaper like the times is not going to run something like this in the opening week of a film.

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  7. I am so pleased that someone else agrees that Skyfall is surprisingly chauvanistic, even more pleased that following the link on your Tweet led me to your wife's blog as the food looks amazing.

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  8. Oh that's right - this is why I used to love reading your husband's stuff.

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  9. Thank goodness for this post!

    I figured that I should watch at least one Bond film in the cinema in my lifetime, and there's been such a hype over this one that I decided to just go and watch it (also, the boyfriend suggested it and I didn't have any better ideas). I expected a brainless action film if nothing else... but I hadn't expected to be insulted in so many levels. It got to the point where I was even impressed by how it was all done. (The Media Studies graduate in me was bursting with glee at the rant that I could write after the film - only to realise that I would be kicked for spoilers.)

    Apart from those 3 female outcomes, I also want to point out that the 4th significant woman - the minister at the enquiry as played by Helen McCrory – is portrayed as a total snarky ranting bitch who is then put in her place by Ralph Fiennes when he essentially tells her to shut up and let Judi Dench speak.

    Also, there's the whole exoticising of Asia again. Komodo dragons in Macau? But hey, Bond's in the "exotic Far East", of course it's like this.

    On top of that, the psychopathic bad guy has to be the camp gay one (who, as a friend pointed out, also appears to have Julian Assange haircut).

    One of the themes of Skyfall appeared to be to fight the corner of tradition and "old-fashioned" ideals – it's a pity that they also seem to want to hold on to anarchic stereotypes and prejudices.

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    1. Helen McCory character is an egotistical politician. The scene was meant to be a enquiry into M and MI6's activities but the scene showed a typical politician at such an event - loving the sound of their own voice. It was a excellent commentary on some of our political leaders. Fiennes steps in and points out what the hearing is actually meant to be about. That is not sexist...

      I also suspect that some camp gay people can be evil - its not an attack on gay people....

      Please try to remember ...it is a film not real life...

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    2. Well said NJT, Kirsten, get a grip will you..
      Great 'FILM'

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    3. "Also, there's the whole exoticising of Asia again. Komodo dragons in Macau? But hey, Bond's in the "exotic Far East", of course it's like this."

      He's in a casino which has given itself an appealing air of oriental exoticism in order to make money. This doesn't make the film Orientalist: don't you think it's likely that places like that exist, in the same way that some British pubs go out of their way to make themselves more recognisably pub-like, in order to appeal to tourists?

      And why shouldn't a psychopathic character be gay? This is James Bond, after all; these films have always been super-camp. Bardem's character was in the first place sinister in a overtly sexual way that was new for Bond bad-guys, while at the same time riffing on the films' recognisable campness.

      Female outcomes: Judi Dench's fate in the film is hardly demeaning to women: on the contrary, she dies nobly, doing a job, with stereotypically British stoicism. Normally the characters dying like that in films are men, aren't they?

      Coren might have a point about the former-prostitute character, in that it was bad of Bond to have sex with her after somehow divining her traumatic sexual past. But then again, this is Bond, who's basically an arsehole when it comes to women. But I'm not sure that it would have made sense, in terms of Bond's character, for him to kill the guards before seeing her shot. Firstly, he had the element of surprise afterwards; secondly, he was still v. low on confidence in his beating-people-up-and-being-a-badass skills at this point in the film. Perhaps he needed to be a bit desperate in order to recover his mojo.

      Bond's always been a casually sexist character who exhibits a certain callousness towards the people who end up dead because of him. I don't think this film was shocking enough to justify Coren's outrage on those grounds. Compared to - say - this summer's Batman film, a film totally devoid of warmth, wit or charm, and fascist in both its aesthetic and its moral, this seemed reassuringly old-fashioned.

      All of which is a roundabout way of saying I don't see what all the fuss is about.

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  10. Long gone eh Adam? Try being a woman.

    Well said Mr Coren, and thank you to Esther for hosting.

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    1. I have tried, but unfortunately testosterone gets in the way

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  11. Adam Garratt makes a good point: Bond is a male chauvinistic bastard. Bond films ought to depict a sexist bordeline alki who goes around killing people, shagging everyone and blowing things up. In iteslf this wouldn't be a problem, but the question is: why do multinational corporations fall over each other to back it? And why is it promoted as a pillar of quintessential 'Britishness' (see Olympics)?

    It's like Tony Montana promoting Stella Artois in an upcoming Scarface remake: a screen character with questionable morals is one thing, but a big multinational endorsing those morals is another!

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  12. Brilliant article, well said Giles Coren. I've only got one point of disagreement: this film will not be "mistaken" as being representative of prevailing values here: it IS representative of prevailing values. Misogyny is out and proud, rape jokes are funny, feeling sick about brutishness is uptight and Jimmy Savile was just a one-off pervert, what he did was unrelated to the society which produced him. Watching mainstream media is profoundly depressing experience most of the time.

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  13. I was so shocked when everyone was lauding this film as amazing, incredible, revolution for the Bond genre when really it's just a throw back to 60's Bond with well outdated 60's values. Disappointing for women, and any supporters of women, equality or anyone who loves or respects their mother, sister, wife, or girlfriend!
    Would love to hear @caitlinmorans opinion on this one too...

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  14. IT IS A MOVIE..!!!!!!!!!

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    1. A movie that once again proves that a great number of men have no compassion towards half the human race, seeing them only as plot points and f**kbags, disposable objects for use.

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  15. Its just a film, an excellent film albiet, but still a film. calm down.

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  16. you think too much into these things. Don't watch the film or stop moaning-no one's forcing you to.

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    1. Why don't you take your own advice? No-one's forcing you to read this blog, are they? Stop moaning and start listening.

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    2. For someone so vehemently up their own backside on the feminist issue, calling yourself 'iamlegs' kind of takes the edge off, don't you think?

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  17. Bond misses the shot, one could argue deliberately, because deep down there is a thought he doesn't want to be the one to kill her. Yes we know silva is bad and likely to kill her anyway, but that is the point, it highlights that bond still didn't shoot her when it would be easy to do so. He also isnt uninvited, nor is it in a hotel room. Its on her boat. You also see that she has 2 empty champagne glasses on the table, with a bottle of champagne, because she's hoping for Bond to arrive.

    Whilst I actually agree with much of what you have said, and you've opened my eyes to a couple of interesting points, but I think you have let your 007 red mist descend and cloud things somewhat.

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  18. Well I had tinkered with the idea of going to see this film mainly because I am an Adele fan, I know bit of a weird reason but now I won't be. I guess that is another reason they did not want to run the piece.

    I haven't watch a Bond film since Man with the Golden Gun which I saw 32 times (I had a Saturday Job at the Cinema)

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  19. Really fab piece Giles and thank you E for sharing. I gave up on Bond when Craig started when I fell asleep in the cinema. Something I have never done before or since. He also looks like the kind of person I'd want to punch in the face if I ever did such dreadful things! I guess we care so much because its one if the last great British icons we have left that we're all supposed to just love.

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  20. I think you are wrong about the pretty girl remaining chaste cos I distinctly remember some purring post-shave *banter* between her and Bondage in casino, on the lines of:
    "..amazing the things you can do with an extra pair of hands."
    "You're telling me!"

    But totally agree that the murder was sickeningly gratuitous. A true hero would have saved her.

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  21. Absolutely right. I have to admit I enjoyed the film as a whole but the Bond/Severine sex disturbed me and her death was awful. I think the 'waste of good Scotch' line was machismo in the face of other men with guns.

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  22. Aye, because Daniel Craig wrote his lines.

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  23. I understand aweful people in movies, I just don't get the idea that you can portray a disgusting human being and call them the 'good guy' or a hero. The point about putting horrible people in art is their horribleness.

    It's when you try to get your viewers on a sociopath's side, without any apparent intention of cognitive dissonance or discomfort at ones reaction, that making such art falls apart morally.

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  24. Finally someone who agrees with me! I'd never seen a Bond film until this weekend when I saw casino royale and quantum of solace. First was ok, fell asleep in the second. Anyway I only watched them because of the build up to this one had been so huge.
    Thought I'd be in for a treat but in truth I was bored, it dragged on and it was far too obsessed with referencing its past.
    I wish I was still ignorant to the Bond phenomenon.

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  25. James Bond is fiction. The real MI6 and MI5 employed Savile to schmooze other high profile perverts including, politicians, diplomats, senior military men, Bishops and Arch Bishops, Business Leaders etc to rape, abuse and even murder institutionalised children so they could be filmed for blackmail purposes in the interests of National Security.
    James Bond in Skyfall shows no signs of this sort of depravity.

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  26. Mr Coran my gratitude to you for your decent morals in putting this article out. I was going with my Daughter to see the movie at the week-end, having read this we will now be visiting Chester for the day. Once again thank you.

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    1. You're actually worse than a murderer.

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    2. Are you for real! Please don't take the opinion of a total pratt as gold. Go with your daughter and see it for yourself. You will most likely enjoy it :)

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  27. Oh get over it Mr and Mrs ..i am a man bashing feminist and i love Bond..ITS ESCAPISM..and a bit of Alpha male FUN remember that!! Daniel Craig can feel me up in the shower uninvited anytime

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  28. This sums up everything I thought when I watched the film. I was angry from the shower scene onwards. The film was one of the most disgustingly misogynistic things I have seen onscreen in a long time.

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  29. I enjoyed the film in a masculine story of way. I also enjoy pornography. Coincidence?

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    1. No coincidence.

      Porn is designed to make you think of women as objects, holes to stick your dick into.

      Bond films are about making men feel powerful as men. 'Masculinity' is proved by showing you are not 'feminine'. Abusing women is an effective way of showing you have no sympathy or compassion for the feminine.

      Bond films and porn are different degrees of the same thing, encouraging you to think of women as receptacles for your abuse and scorn, in order to prove your 'manliness'.

      As a human being, you can do better than that.

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  30. Iron my shirt now and calm down!!

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  31. I can see why The Times wouldn't run it.

    Can't really pass comment until I see the movie and all this is put in context. It's very easy to be taken out of context as I'm sure jolly old Giles knows all too well.

    It may still be a shite film. The last one was so I'm not getting my hopes up. It's probably even as misogynistic as described here, in which case I doubt I'll like it much. But then again that is kind of Bond's MO isn't it? He's hardly likely to appear wearing beads and a Women's Lib T-shirt is he?

    I liked the first Craig outing, but once they got all that repressed angst out of the way and reverted to the shooting and car chasing, it all sort of palled for me.

    Wish someone would make a decent, believable spy thriller again. And I don't mean that ponderous old tosh Tinker, Tailor. It was OK, but I don't know many people who managed to stay awake through the whole movie.

    Hey ho.

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  32. What a load of crap that article is. Give me a Bond film any day of the week.

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  33. Thank you for this Giles and to your lovely wife for hosting it. I've long thought Bond sexist rubbish and I haven't watched one in years.

    I shall share this page on my various pages and hope others do too. This piece deserves an audience. Shame on the Times for pulling it. And shame on Mendes for treating women so dreadfully.

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  34. Everyone takes James Bond so seriously, he is a made up fictional character as real as Mickey Mouse and Batman. A useful cold war propaganda series of movies,designed to make Brits feel important in the world when the Empire was ending and it was losing influence in the post 1945 world. Not surprised that The Times would not publish the article as there seems to have been a concerted attempt in the media to promote Skyfall as faultless, as it now appears that the British Film industry is dependent upon it's success.

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  35. Well said.
    Yes Bond was originally the archetypal chauvinist, but then with the Daniel Craig reboot they seemed to go to some (often convoluted) lengths to make Bond something rather different (and that mission made the otherwise interminable Vesper half of Casino Royale serve a function). But it was all for nowt, clearly.

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  36. It's a film. Not a video for the UK tourist board. Lighten up. Also, Bond was written as a much darker, masoganistic chauvanist. If you want a film that demonstrates equal rights and the values of the good honest Brit, I suggest you give Hollywood a swerve. Skyfall was made to entertain, not educate. Not the least bit suprised the Times didn't run your prudish, review. You watched a modern James Bond film and there was chauvanism and distasteful humour? Whatever next?

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  37. Typo - knew already knew

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  38. In the film I watched... pre-shower moments, she looked pretty disappointed when she was told it was time to leave in the boat. Hadn't she put two champagne glasses out in expectation of Bond's arrival?
    Adam sums it up... it's like "who the hell ever goes to see a movie with Tom Cruise in it?"

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    1. Even if she was interested in Bond's company, why does that automatically imply she wanted to have sex with him?

      Is 'two champagne glasses' the new 'but she was wearing a short skirt?'

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  39. Wow, well written Giles, I haven't seen the film but have read nothing but good reviews. Bond has always been full of sexism and gratuitous violence - but this does sound excessive and unnecessarily horrible.

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  40. I like this article, and enjoyed the questions that it brings to me regarding the film. I don't have answers to all of your points, but I do have points regarding two of them. This means my reply contains slightly more spoilers than your article, so some people may not want to read it. Just a (I hope) helpful warning to those that haven't yet seen it.

    "1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;"

    'M' dying is interesting, as part of the film, I don't think that this is a problem. I really liked Judi Dench as 'M', and am sad that she has left. However nor do I have a huge problem with the new 'M' being male. What sort of a mess would we be in if we could couldn't change the sex of someone in a job? It might have been more interesting to see more candidates for the role, but I'm not sure that this is realistic in terms of the amount that the film can show.
    As such I'm not certain that a charge of sexism can be leveled here, but I do appreciate having to consider it, which I wouldn't have done so much otherwise.

    "3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary."

    I also have to take this one up. Sadly Giles, you've made a fundamental factual error. Moneypenny is not Bond's secretary. This is an important point. She never has been in any of the films. She is the private personal secretary to the head of MI6, which is hardly a lowly post.
    Sadly secretaries are now often underrated. Proper secretarial trained people are extremely highly skilled and trained, and the post of personal private secretary of MI6 is not just going to be given to just anyone.
    Moneypenny is shown throughout the film as being highly capable, Bond's attitude to her might not be great (the constant ribbing starts to grate a little after a while) but that's Bond, and doesn't make the whole film sexist. I'd also like to point out that I don't feel that the job was given as a 'reward' for her actions during the film. In fact, it's explicitly stated that she's been seconded to cover the transition period between the service heads changing, during her suspension from field service having shot Bond (a shot that she was unhappy about taking and was pushed into by 'M'). This implies to me that she has a wide ranging knowledge of the organisation as a whole, a skill that would by highly valued be someone such as the new 'M' who has just started with the service.
    Once again, I'm not sure that the (factually incorrect) point you've made is so much a sexist point, as a failing to appreciate the skills of properly trained secretarial staff.

    I'm not going to disagree that the film is in some ways sexist. To an extent I expect it in a Bond film, and would be far more surprised if it wasn't. I was however fairly pleasantly surprised by how little there was. I find it interesting that other far more mainstream writers have agreed with me (see http://goo.gl/zZp3C for one).

    Over the last few weeks, I've been watching the stories coming out of the Everyday Sexism project (see http://www.everydaysexism.com/ for more details on that). Many of these fill me with horror, some of them make me question things that I see day to day, and some of them make me question where boundaries are and where they should be. I'm flagging it here as I hope that both of you find it as interesting and challenging as I have.

    Thank you for putting this article into the public domain, and allowing us to comment on it, and thank you to Esther, for letting Giles post this here. I would like to say once again how much I enjoyed it (and the comments after it too).

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  41. What a crock of shit article. Bond was always a stone cold killer with a bad taste in drinks and a love of women to a misogynistic level.

    This article mind you is hilarious to the point it is worrying. Worrying that anyone would watch Bond and think... 'wait, is that how the British are' ?? There are more important things to worry about than picking apart the morals of an already ridiculous genre of movie..... I personally believe Texas Chainsaw Massacre give the deep south a bad rep but should we ban it because no one will visit Texas on the pretence they may die at the hands of some cannibal hicks?

    Grow up, grow a pair and think before you write.

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  42. That so wasn't a torpedo.

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  43. Not sure you can accuse women of 21st century of being compelled to watch a film with these three female outcomes. I'm sure none of us had a clue what these outcomes would be until we'd bought the tickets, gone to the cinema and watched the film, by which time ... Too late to veto it!

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    1. "none of us had a clue what these outcomes would be until we'd bought the tickets, gone to the cinema and watched the film, by which time ... Too late"

      And so, that's how we were compelled to watch it. We were compelled through bait-and-switch. We thought we were going in for a bit of fun, and instead got to be retraumatised through watching a 'but she put out two champagne glasses so she must have asked for it" rape scenario.

      It absolutely was compelled.

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  44. I quite agree with this review but would add that what is so disappointing is that this reversion to misgynistic type seems to be a response to criticisms of the last two which were actually so much better than any other bond precisely because they attempted to move Bond on from this kind of twaddle. Yes, he did seduce women who died as a result of being entangled with him, but on both occasions M made him feel it and made us conscious of his failings as a character; in Skyfall there was nothing but a tasteless joke.

    But even for those delighted to see Bond brought back to his lady-killing worst, movie simply doesn't deserve the hype and has plot holes you could drive a vintage Aston Martin through. The villain gets himself caught so that he can escape custody and catch the tube - that's fare dodging taken to a whole new level. A middle-aged Bond keeps a tricked out car that's as old as him and clearly MI6 property in a private garage in London - certainly a new high point in pinching office supplies from work.

    Overall, however, Coren is quite right that the sickest reversion to Ian Fleming type is the celebration of the sexual vulnerability of the emotionally and physically scarred and the endorsement of Bond the borderline rapist. Shame on them all.

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  45. Thank you - so well said..

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  46. Thank you so much for this post. Shame on the Times.

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  47. A good read. Good comments (unusual for the internet) and I'm now aware of your wife's blog, which is full of good stuff (your mate Sue has me hooked on the GBBO, ergo, all things cooking right now).
    I'm sad to say though that I didn't even see the hideousness of the sex-slave murder scene until you pointed it out.
    I am thoroughly ashamed.

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  48. Let's not forget that so called secretary managed to shoot Bond encouraged by M. His love of women may have been temporaily on hold

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  49. Hmm...sort of agree with some of this but disagree with a lot of it too. Last things first, I think it's rather chauvinistic of *you* Giles to go with the notion that being a secretary is somehow demeaning. She's not 'just' a secretary, she's gatekeeper to M, the one person empowered to decide who gets in to see him, who doesn't, to know his exact schedule (probably kept on paper, as all of us who've seen Skyfall know where having your schedule online got the late M). It's an important, powerful, influential role. There's nothing beneath her, or anyone, in being a secretary.

    As for Judi Dench's M dying; well yes Giles, that happens in cinema. She's done eight of them now, there's only so far you can go with any character in a film franchise, and in real life people do move on/retire/die. To describe it as a negative 'female outcome' to me implies that you think that because she's a woman she shouldn't die, should perhaps be allowed to slip elegantly into retirement - or go on forever, being a ball-breaker well into her nineties.

    As for the horror of the shooting scene, and the idea that 'We knew already knew the baddie was bad, so there was no plot developing element here' - well no I disagree. We knew he was quite bad, that he was a nasty and deranged piece of work, but this scene shows us just how mad/bad - that he holds human life in such utter disregard that he would use this damaged girl as a disposable pawn in his sick, sick game. It's a horrible scene, yes, but 'innocent girl dies needlessly in horrible circumstances to illustrate how ruthless and contemptible the baddie is' is a Bond trope going back to the very beginning of the franchise. I find the death of (can't even remember the character's name - bad of me) no more offensive or less agreeable than the gold-painted girl in Goldfinger or more recently, the oily demise of Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace.

    Sorry The Times didn't want to run this but maybe they just thought it was, well, wrong.

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  50. Ok, so the way the 'shower' scene was handled was a bit blunt - but it's not like he kicked down the door to her bedroom and put her over his shoulder. What would you like to happen after she is shot - product placement of a sex slave charity maybe?

    I'm no chauvinist, but frankly if you go to the cinema expecting him to open doors for women and drink mint tea, you've probably never seen a Bond film before. It doesn't condone it, it's just a film.

    As for 'why' big companies fall over themselves to put products in there - it's not rocket science. You think they should put morals over revenue? Good luck with that.

    M - has had a good innings, been brilliant and goes out with style. The fact that they chose to give a female a chance in a hugely 'male' role is forgotten - now she's in she has to stay, and god forbid that any replacement pee's standing up.

    Re: Kirsten - the minister at the investigation is just a reflection of the pedestal that members of Home Affairs Committees seem to put themselves on these days and their love of the apparent power it brings - nothing to do with her being female. Mallory is the one who jumps in to defend her.

    This isn't meant to belittle serious issues like exploitation, but analysing every second of the film trying to find deliberate putting-down of women is just a bit boring.

    It's a film, it's very good, enjoy it.




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  51. Am I only one who thinks that the central point of Bond is that he's a bit of a bastard? You can't have Bond and not have him being a bit of a swine. Kicking Locque off the cliff? "Bitch is dead" and all that?

    Frankly, he's a lot *less* of a bastard than he used to be. Fleming's Bond was far worse. Remember the Spy Who Loved Me - "all women love semi-rape". Or Casino Royale - "because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape."

    Sorry to post anonymously - dangerous territory.

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  52. This is a very interesting and well-argued piece, and I think it's astonishing that The Times refused to print it (easy though it is to imagine the cynical reasons why).

    I'd have to argue the point about Sévérine showing "no interest" in Bond, though. As I recall it, she invites him to her room on the ship and is waiting for him, looks disappointed when he doesn't arrive within the hour, and goes to take a shower. I know it doesn't alter the main thrust of your article much, but I don't think there's any need to exaggerate the evidence.

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  53. Thanks for letting Giles Coren out from behind the paywall and onto your blog Esther. Good piece. I won't be shelling out any money to see it.

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    1. Perhaps you should make up your own mind?

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    2. Perhaps they shouldn't waste their money or time on something so clearly and perniciously misogynist?

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  54. I cant help but feel that the writer here has missed the point entirely with regards to the "waste of good scotch" line. This is not bond trying to be funny. This is someone trying not to show his weak side in the face of an adversary. If he was the evil chauvanist you think him to be, he'd have just shot her in the head himself. With this issue, the OP has, clearly, missed the point entirely.

    The next point about the shower scene, I can understand where you're coming from, but lets not forget that flemming had deeply messed up attitudes to women and as a result so did Bond. He always has been a sexist, womanising creep, thats who bond is. In this case, its simply that the film is closer to the values of the novels than the previous craig films were. Although, lets not forget, that in Quantum of solace, he just walked into Ms Fields bedroom and clearly took advantage of her, in spite of her having shown no interest in doing so. Ditto again with Vesper in Casino Royale. These are not new concepts in a bond film and if they are shocking too you, I'd suggest NOT watching the film, rather than attempting to criticise it for these values.

    I'm not saying they are correct in this day and age, I'm not even saying I approve. But I do understand the context in which they are meant. Something the writer of this article clearly doesn't.

    Go back to watching "The Lion King", it should be more your level.

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  55. Um, at what point are women (or anyone else) "compelled" to watch this movie? I didn't notice armed gunmen outside the cinema forcing anyone inside.

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  56. The reason why the Times did not publish it was because it was absolute rubbish from beginning to end - never read such apalling claptrap in my life.

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  57. Oh dear... I hope Giles goes back to making shows with Sue Perkins, cos that's what he's good at. Leave the movie critique to those better qualified.

    Whilst there is a point in the first part of the article, the second part (death scene) is ridiculously over the top and misses the subtlety of the moment. It is clear that Giles isn't a fan of Bond at all and he obviously went into this film expecting to hate it... and subsequently found a reason to do so. Picking on just one element of the film and denouncing it as a result (after spectacularly missing the point) is crazy... and I can see why it wasn't printed!

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  58. What a load of crap. I am by no means a Bond advocate, having had no interest in the original series of films. However I have taken an interest in the new films, and all this article suggests to me is a highly sensitive and narcissistic ramble.

    Bond is a chauvinistic character, it is his character to be a nuisance to the MI6 by drinking, causing mayhem and sleeping with women on the job. All that matters to the MI6 though is that he gets the job done, the problems arise when he lets these vices get in the way of the task.

    In Casino Royale we see Bond fall in love - a possible sign that he has had enough of being the killing tool that he is, and want a respectful and meaningful escape. The tragedy of this however is that his role does not allow it, and instead clouds his judgement in what is a ruthless occupation resulting in treachery and near failure in his mission. This causes Bond to develop into an even more senseless killer forcing him to put his emotions aside and to do what is necessary (even if it means fatalities).

    This is why he appears remorseless when the girl is killed and backs up his apathy with a quip about the whiskey. And yes he sleeps with her, even though she showed no interest by preparing a dimly lit encounter with champagne. I agree it is sleazy of him to sneak into the shower, but that is exactly who Bond is. I am sorry if he didn't offer her a towel and a cup of tea instead.

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  59. Yes, Adam Garratt, of course the only options for male characters are shagging sex slaves or crying to Enya. Of course. There's nothing at all in between those two poles. You've made me see the light, thank you, I will be giving up feminism forthwith.

    (For what it's worth, on balance I enjoyed the film; but I agree with the post that the presentation and treatment of Severine was egregious.)

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    1. It's a film! Bond is a character in a film! it's not real life, if someone acted like bond in real life then yes it's appalling, but it's a film, a film is meant to be fantasy, a form of escapism, what is wrong with people. I suppose we will all be telling off snow white for enslaving 7 vertically challenged men next!

      Delete
  60. Who wrote the plot and was this aspect in the original script? Surely the writer should be shamed also???

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  61. I now officially love Giles for this and I found some recipes. Win-win.

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  62. Thank you for publishing this, shame on the Times for not doing so.

    I haven't seen the film, but your description is appalling. The abuse of women and young girls should never be entertainment.

    Misogynist portrayals need to be challenged openly and as widely as possible.

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    1. "I haven't seen the film...." So until you do maybe you want to be less judgmental in your opinions?

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  63. Giles, this is ridiculous. Of course, I agree with everything you said. But I also remember reading a comment piece by you a few years ago in which you bemoaned the fact that you had spent most of your time at university trying to get a 'stonkingly good degree' (don't worry, you told us; you managed it), rather then having sex with lots of women. In any case, it was all alright in the end, because after you left uni you tracked down and shagged all of the girls that slipped through your finger tips as an undergrad. The article made ME want to pull out my fingernails, as I imagined how all those young women must have felt. There they were, thinking they were having a real relationship with you, when actually you were just crossing them off on your list. Have a go at fictional characters all you want; you're the REAL silent chauvinistic shagger, Giles. Take a look in the mirror.

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  64. Agree with Giles - Probably THE worst Bond movie, and a poor movie by itself

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  65. Giles' article is very stylishly written and makes you think about Skyfall in a different way.

    But

    a) You can't really make moral judgements or take real life values from a Bond film. It’s effectively a superhero film.
    How Bond behaves bears no more relevance to real life than, say, Batman. But if you’re going to judge him,, then there’s quite a lot in Skyfall that paints Bond as a cold, callous man who is a bit dead inside because of the cumulative pressure of his job.

    b) It’s arguably one of the most feminist Bond movies in that his relationship with M is at its heart. Bardem tries to turn Bond against her by revealing she lied to him but it doesn’t work and their mutual respect and affection is very obvious.
    He kisses her as she dies and she is portrayed a strong women in front of the select committee. New M’s (Fiennes’) respect for old M (Dench) is gradually revealed over the course of the film. She is probably killed because Dench couldn’t / didn’t want to sign up for more Bonds.

    c) I liked the bit where the komodo dragons ate the fat man, like the piranhas in You Only Live Twice.

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  66. Bond IS NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN very nice. Not in the books, not now. He was a male chauvinist, bastard even in the 60's. People are drawn to charming villains. They mistake taciturn silence for strenght and depth. Women lust after the powerful and callous (50 shades anyone?). Men are drawn to the power. Yes it's base. Yes it's horrid. So are we.

    I'll see the film. I'll probably agree with you. And I'll probably enjoy the film, as I've enjoyed the other Craig Bonds. The difference between 'should' and 'is'.

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  67. 1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;

    So a woman had the job, died in line of duty and then her replacement is male. One man, one woman. Errr, isn't that evidence of some concept of egalitarianism?

    2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and

    The character chooses to invite Bond to her boat for an after night out rendez-vouz ... and they have consensual sex.
    A mass murderer, who uses elaborate methods is responsible for her contrived death.

    3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.

    The female ('pretty girl'??? you make her sound like a new puppy) chooses, on the basis of personal experience having tried field work, to take a desk job.

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  68. Thanks for the warning about this horrible film and I will be voting with my feet.

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    1. Susan, why not go and see it yourself and form your own opinion rather then have Giles Coren decide for you?

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  69. Have never watched a Bond film and never will

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  70. I am not surprised this wasn't published as it's mostly nonsense. I actually agree that the girl from the casino was poorly handled in the film and that the 'Waste of scotch' line was terrible no matter what the intention, i.e. a show of machismo or just an attempt at humour.

    However, your argument falls down after that.

    Judi Dench has played M for a long time now and she's been excellent in the role. However, she's 77 years old now and there had to come a point at which the role changed and the World really has gone mad if any job in a fictional series cannot be taken by a man when previously occupied by a woman!

    Plus, as pointed out above, Monneypenny is not Bond's secretary and it's your own views that are perhaps in need of examination if you think being PA to the head of MI6 is demeaning.

    Blimey, what do you think of all the other people, men and women, who are working as PAs?

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  71. Giles: hate to raise this issue on your wife's blog, but if you (like 99% of men) watch porn, then your ranting about this sort of thing is hypocritical. Thanks for making this kind of debate public, however.

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  72. I love it when men try to out-feminist women.

    "I am so upset on your behalf as a man"

    If you look to be offended you will always find something that will offend you. But a woman killed in the line of duty being replaced by a man? So once a woman has a job it can only go to another woman? Like some kind of sexist guild? Surely promotion should be based on merit and not, here you go love, you're a woman, so you'll do.

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  73. Simon Underwood2 November 2012 16:04

    Thanks for spoiling the film without warning. Also, I can't help but laugh at you being "ashamed" of the sexist tone on display.

    Or was that someone else calling someone a woman "a barren old hag" on twitter?

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    1. Giles gave a warning of plot spoilers in the first paragraph, but it's obviously not visible enough so I have added another in the header for others.

      Delete
    2. Well said Simon, also the same man who brought us these gems of unfounded generalisation:

      "What nonsense. Women are far meaner, more brutal, aggressive, small-minded, jealous, petty and venal than any man.
      If women ruled the world ­countries would be invaded because ‘she’s always been jealous of my feet’ and because ‘she looks down on me for going out to work’."
      Millions would die, torture would increase. If women ruled the world there would be carnage.


      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1350829/Sky-sexism-row-Why-right-women-sexist-MEN.html#ixzz2B5R4laet
      Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

      Delete
  74. All of those put off watching the film by reading this article - please don't be.

    Quite apart from the obvious factual errors that Mr Coren has made (thank you MrDrem), it is ridiculous to dress this up as some kind of woman-bashing exercise that throws the franchise back to its roots 50 years ago.

    Given that the entire premise of the plot (SPOILER AHEAD) revolves around a man trying to get revenge on a woman who proved herself twenty times as tough as him several times over, that we finally get to see a female agent in action (as an agent and not some disguised interloper), and that various key figures apart from M (e.g. Helen McCrory as the Minister in charge of the inquiry) are female, it seems ridiculous to focus on the one woman used transparently as a plot device.

    As for the sex worker backstory, I agree this probably could have been a little more sensitively handled...but that's the fault of what I thought was an absolutely creaking script that docked the film at least one star in my rating.

    But my point stands - this is NOT an essentially misogynistic film, and anyone who wasn't already put off Bond by its core misogynistic tropes wouldn't be put off by this.

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  75. 2 -- the young abuse victim INVITES Bond to her cabin on the boat, with room number and all, and shows absolutely no surprise he's there in her shower. She's probably just pleased he survived.

    But I was dismayed he didn't try to save her, or even remark on her setup.

    3) Eve is more than just a pretty girl -- she's a hella fearless driver and an excellent shot and probably a fine agent. She also might very well have shagged James after shaving him -- I was assuming she had.

    M dies,yeah, but neither pointlessly nor poorly. She has finished her work and was, like James, losing her edge.

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  76. Skyfall reminds me of whipped cream on shit.

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  77. I can't help thinking that Giles Coren takes himself a little too seriously ...

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  78. What a load of bollocks.

    Did Giles get a BJ out of this for being so sensitive to your feminine sensibilities? I bet he did.

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    1. I imagine he even got anal. Either that or she let him wear the trousers for a whole day.

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  79. Totally disagree with this review!
    1. This woman pursued Bond in the casino, and yes he did establish that she was involved in sex trade and was vulnerable and feared for her life, but she showed signs of fighting that to try and be an independent woman who wanted to genuinely enjoy male company. I did feel that when Bond entered the shower that a scene may have been cut, but the interaction between the two at the bar did suggest a sexual connection. And because she is engulfed in the sex trade, does that mean that she is not allowed to enjoy the sexual company of a man?
    And as for her death- many a Bond girl has died in a Bond film, and I saw this part of the film as Silva's way to hurt and emasculate Bond, and it shows a Secret Agent reacting to events- remember Bond had not been cleared for active duty by his tests, but was still approved by M, so this delayed reaction is fitting to this- I think, anyway.
    2. M dies and is replaced by a man- so what. Equal opportunities, a woman doesn't have to be replaced by a woman, and this man had a strong presence throughout the film in the same field, and had an understanding of the problems within MI6, as discussed during the film, so it makes sense that he was to be the new M, and had a good work history, being Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee prior to taking role within MI6. Perfectly logical, and does not at all suggest inequality as Giles Coren suggests, with no backing up!
    3. "The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary."- No, this was the directors way of introducing Miss Moneypenny, and that is the whole charm behind the relationship between Miss Moneypenny and Bond in all the Bond stories- had the author of this review done his research into James Bond sufficiently, he would have known this!! I think that explaining Moneypenny to be a former agent, before becoming the secretary to M- NOT Bond as the author incorrectly states in his review- shows her skill and suitability for such a high role within MI6.

    Overall, please do your research in the James Bond stories, before doing an article on one film and showing unresearched, short-sighted views of apparent sexism. I myself see myself as a feminist, but also recognise good film and keeping to the style of story that Bond films and books produce.

    Miss Jenna

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  80. Thank you for sparing me the cost of spending money on a film that will make zillions basically off the further degradation and violence against women. Bond is supposed to be a lover, not another sick misogynist. Shame on the film makers and the actors who participated in this!
    New York City

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    1. you obviously have absolutely no idea who James Bond is or what he represents. James Bond is NOT a lover. He's a sexual deviant, that uses and abuses women in the process of his work. He doesnt form emotional attachments and in most films is happy to discard a woman just as easilly as he found her. This is true to the character as He was written in the books. if you'd read one, you'd know this.

      Delete
    2. You're right.

      However, given this truth, why do we hold this grotesque figure up as a role model and have him dropping the queen off at the olympics, shown as a national "hero" and promoting every product under the sun?

      Don't you find that all a little unsettling and weird?

      Delete
  81. Bottom line is Giles is spot on. Went to see the film last weekend and apart from the several minutes of opening scene which are stunning visually it's pretty tedious and all the things Giles says

    Bond films star Sean Connery or Roger Moore. The "franchise" is 50 years old apparently. Retire it now. It's worn out

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    1. Oh shut up you bellend

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  82. You forgot to mention "GOLDFINGER" and Sean Connery's so-called "romp" in the barn with Honor Blackman . . . in which he comes damn near close to raping her. Blackman has dismissed the scene as nothing. I haven't.

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    1. You do know that Goldfinger isn't real? Honor Blackman wasn't actually raped by Sean Connery, they are actors.

      Delete
  83. "Eve is more than just a pretty girl -- she's a hella fearless driver and an excellent shot and probably a fine agent. She also might very well have shagged James after shaving him -- I was assuming she had."


    The "fine agent, fearless driver and excellent shot" becomes a secretary in the final reel. How in the hell can that be something to cheer about?

    If Bernard Lee or Robert Brown's M had repeated Dench's actions, chances are they would still be alive in the final reel and the audience would be sympathetic or understanding to their handling of Silva. Whereas Dench's M has to be punished for being "cold".

    I don't think Giles Coren was taking himself too seriously. A lot men can't be honest that deep down, they don't really care about the fates of the female characters in this movie and are simply relieved that M is now a man again.

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    1. "The "fine agent, fearless driver and excellent shot" becomes a secretary in the final reel. How in the hell can that be something to cheer about?"

      Another person missing the point, or perhaps just not paying attention. Eve decided that the field "wasnt for her". She hadn't enjoyed her experience, didnt want that life and "CHOSE" a desk job. So she's actually getting exactly what she wants. I can think of no better empowerment for a woman than getting to choose her own destiny.

      as Q would say "do try to pay attention"

      Delete
  84. Agree with Herbs and Hags this film is representative of endemic male hatred and male contempt towards women. Trivialising male sexual violence against women is 'fun' and films such as this one glorify and promote male sexual violence against women.

    Misogyny and endemic male hatred for women is not a real issue is it? No instead it is racism wherein white men utter verbal racial insults against non-white men that is a real societal issue is it not? The usual male-centric excuses and denials abound because male hatred/male contempt for women doesn't exist does it?

    It is all good fun wherein once again 'boys will be boys' and of course Bond is a misogynist so that in itself excuses misogynist director Sam Mendes portraying Bond sexually preying on a young woman and subjecting her to rape. Mendes clearly believes glorifying male sexual violence against women will ensure this film will be very profitable because this is precisely what men want to see - a man subjecting a woman to sadistic male sexual violence because the man is 'bored!' This film normalises male sexual predatory acts committed against women and girls and malestream media is shocked that such a man as male sexual predator Saville was allowed to rape and sexually assault girls for decades! Well, with films such as this one, we shouldn't be surprised that male sexual violence against women is endemic and furthermore is justified by men because apparently such films do not influence or reinforce men's pseudo belief in their right of sexual access to any female.

    Keep repeating misogynistic lies long enough and very swiftly these lies become truths. This is the meaning of our Rape Culture wherein depictions of men sexually preying on women is 'entertainment' and we women shouldn't hold men accountable for their actions because that would upset men and their male myopic view of what does and does not constitute male sexual violence against women.

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  85. What a terrible blog post. What an embarassment. Its a film for Christ's sake.

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  86. You certainly seem to have riled up a lot of whingy men who are eager to protest too much. Well done.

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    1. I'm pretty sure a lot of these comments defending the film and James Bond as a whole are also from women. Sweeping generalisations like this, which base themselves on assumptions, are precisely where poorly researched reviews and comments come from.

      Delete
    2. No. Sweeping generalizations occur when self-pitying men make blinkered apologia for their favorite toys. Last I checked, Bond fanboys are just that.

      Delete
  87. sorry, i might be mistaken but i believe the lady did tell bond to come meet her at her boat that night if he survived her gangster bodyguards. and she didn't say it with words but i got the impression that she was very much interested in him, from her demeanor. also, bond isn't a rapist (he's a bastard and an asshole, sure, i've always hated the way he treats women) so i think she was free to say no when he appeared in her shower. i find your statements quite reaching, to be honest.

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  88. also, i don't know anyone who doesn't believe that the pretty potential-secretary shagged bond right after she shaved him. also, and this is a big also, what right do you have to assume or proclaim that being a secretary is anything less than being a field agent?? she CHOSE the job after being cleared to go back in the field, and in the minds of many, it is no lesser job. i fear you are being ridiculously sexist yourself!

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  89. i also do not understand anyone who's touting james as a hero and anyone who's saying he's not the hero everyone else is saying he is. i think the whole idea of the past few bond movies have been all about how much he hated his life and how much he regrets his life and how he's an asshole and how he struggles to try to do the right thing and how it can never balance up to all the wrong he's done and still does.. weird that anyone would first assume he was a hero and then balk at that assumption he created himself.. :(

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  90. Sw it last night and I am afraid I agree with Mr Coren's judgement. This is unreconstructed Bond - and as with all Bond's the macho brutality is the essence. Women - even those being used in sex by the agent - are always collateral damage to his greater mission. Yes - It is a well made film and the chase sequence at the start is very exciting. It has its moments of thrill and we emerged from the cinema seduced by its razzle dazzle.

    But once that faces a more reflective approach is that the misogyny at its heart reflects the reality that much has not really changed - in the distorted world of Hollywood or the wider world. Feminism is not a battle that has been fought and won, but a required and constant dialectic. You've only to look across the water at the present US election campaign to see how seriously the assumed achievements of feminism are facing renewed challenges by the Republicans.

    I don't accept the critique offered here of the image of the villain. It is perfectly acceptable to have a camp hero or villain. I liked the fact that Bond's response to the suggestion of a homo erotic experience was that "it might be the first time."

    But the orientalism is still irritating.

    John K

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    1. lol@ verbose expressions finished off with 'orientalism'. that's so offensive, why not chuck in japs and slopes too? coren should stick to 'thinking' with his stomach and leave the grown ups to rely on their heads

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  91. Gosh what reactions you have provoked Giles! I wasn't keen to go to see the film anyway as it turns out to be always the same story of people chasing each other, killing, sex, and hidden humour. Not sure I agree with some of the comments that a few men have made above - torture would increase if the world were ruled by women?!? .... Such reactions make me think you are the ones who take themselves a bit too seriously.

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  92. "I believe that the intention of the sequence in which the impossibly beautiful Bérénice Marlohe whimperingly delivers her characters’ harrowing sex slave back story was to arouse a desire in me to pull out a P2K pistol, shoot bullets in to her aggressors groins and enjoy some heavy petting back in her prison-come-yacht, but instead it caused me to think about the very serious topic of sex trafficking." http://thisisnotafilmblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/12/

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  93. More attention seeking from Giles Coren.

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  94. I'm actually very happy to hear someone criticise this film. I'm a massive Bond fan but it has rarely yielded interesting or admirable female parts. The previous Craig films went some way to rectifying this, with some female characters who did more than simper and fall into bed with him, but I fear Skyfall is back to basics & does pointlessly kill off the only good Bond girl left (i.e. M).

    This was one of many detracting features for me and I'm glad that someone has pointed this out. Cheers Giles.

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  95. Since the dawn of Bond, the character has been considered as a sacred monster, a sort of represantation of sexiness et malehood.

    For me, these two scenes with the hooker, for me, are a strong symbol of what they want bond to be now : a guy who is an assassin, a manipulative man and a heartless man. Actually, I do understand the why of these scenes : for bond, the girl does not matter. They'll never matter. They are of no importance. He is the alpha avec he is a killer, a murderer, and a cold blooded man.

    Actually, this scene is sexist because the character is. And they show exactely what they want to show about the character.

    The new bond is mean, bad, cold, violent. He is 007, the man with the licence to kill.

    For me, this scene what the character needed. The whisky scene is not here to show the villain is a villain... It's here to show Bond as he is in this series : a guy who doesn't give a shit about anything else but him, his pleasure, and his mission.

    God for me, this kind of scene is central to the character.

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  96. If I was also shocked by the cruelty and violence of that woman's death, I might disagree with the rest of what you say.
    About Moneypenny and M mainly. The relation between Moneypenny and Bond is and as always been a platonic one, since the books and in the movies. Their conversation make in most movie a perfect example of a british Flirt, completelly old fashionned and absolutelly platonic. This part simply explains how she did get that job as a secretary, by making a mistake on the field (Shooting 007, however chauvinistic he might be, is still a pretty big mistake. You can guess that once you have shot a "fellow spy" you might not be so sure as to get back into field work again.)
    M is a woman in the movies only since 1996 and I am not even sure he ever was in the film. Crying about this would be like crying over John Major replacing Margaret Thatcher as PM).

    Vincent N
    @Shryke2a

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  97. Are you for real!? Why would we take the opinion of this absolute whopper as gold and not go and see the film for ourselves and form our own opinion?! It really annoys and saddens me to read how one of the best Bond films of all time can be twisted by this bellend into some grotesque and horrifying picture that we shouldn't watch! GET A LIFE GILES!! Why so serious?? Films are an escape for our imagination to run wild! Go the pictures and immerse yourself in it as if you're actually part of the story. Switch off that nit picking side of your brain stop analysing every detail and being so negative! Chill out! Have a spliff even, you sound like you could do with one, stop being a bellend all your life, watch it again, and enjoy.. IT'S A FILM!!

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    1. I really don't see how you can watch a film that is entirely geared to insist that you as a woman are a disposable abusable object. Where's the joy in that?
      No escape either! If I wanted to see how our culture really really hates women, i just have to walk down the street, and maybe flick through the Sun or the Daily Male.

      A REAL escapist movie would be one where the female lead runs around doing whatever she wants without censure by friends, bosses, coworkers or random strangers, still gets to be the good guy, and ends up with all the money and all the fame at the end.

      Delete
  98. I quite agree - It was such a pointless storyline, it took me a while to realise she had been shot, to what end? The whole movie was such a waste - devoted to the retirement of a cast member??; why not just have M at the start being knighted or 'Damed' or whatever by one of the royals and have her collect her P45 on her way out be done with it; and where did she get the time to match her jewellery when operatives were being killed all over the place?

    And the baddie just looked laughable with that silly yellow hair; I found the jokes childish and lame.

    This is one bond I will not be watching again.

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  99. 1. This is missing the entire point of the film, as is 3. - it is the story coming full circle - ending up where the Bond films started out 50 years ago - hence the old fashioned padded door, the coat hung on the old hatstand (should really have been a hat tossed onto it), and back then, M was a man....

    Also, Stella Rimmington, Head of MI6, was replaced by a man. Margaret Thatcher was replaced by a man. The Queen will be replaced by a man. It happens.

    2. True, but lots of people died in the film, mostly men. At least this incarnation of Bond isn't as misogynistic as Moore and Connery were. There was certainly a come on from her to Bond - and when Silva's henchman told her they were casting off, she was disappointed he'd not made it - and there's a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses on the table.

    3. Again, it comes full circle - Moneypenny is M's secretary, but here it gives some of her back story - she was a 'field' agent, she can handle a gun and hold her own, she's got balls. She's not the shrinking, simpering spinster the original one was. And she turned down the offer of going back into the field herself.

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  100. I am so glad Giles has said this, I thought perhaps I was the only one who watched the film with a heavy heart because Bond had slipped right back into the misogyny so prevalent in just about every Bond until Casino Royale.
    By the time the film ends its like we've returned to 60's stereotypes of men in charge and women as secretaries. Note: there is absolutely nothing lesser in being a secretary, but rather that it is viewed as a lesser appointment within the context of the film. The much-discussed 50th anniversary Bond has been dragged back into such a depressing place that my enjoyment of Bond has gone. Shame, as the first Craig reboot really lifted the character beyond his previous one-dimensional sexist cinematic outings. Anyway, well done Giles for daring to criticise it.

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  101. It would be a mildly amusing review if it was so factually correct but quite clearly Giles Coren suffers from a lack of attention and from having a rather large chip on his shoulder. I'd suggest he stays away from mainstream cinema.

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    1. Agreed. He's clearly not understood any of the subtle moments in the film, and has blatantly left out vital facts that both explain and excuse many of his points. A very poor review, from someone that clearly went in, expecting to hate it, and found ways to make it happen. Probably by picking his nose like a stuck up child and texting on his phone.

      Giles, try watching the film next time.

      Delete
  102. Is that your wife standing in the kitchen with the apron on Giles? Some things never change.

    Did she mix you a Martini while you commandeered her blog?

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  103. For once in his life Giles Coren writes a piece that I not only agree with but applaud and it's spiked!

    The end of Skyfall is particularly nauseating: Bond's harebrained "trap" has succeeded only in getting M killed, the man who approved it has taken her job and everyone's all smiles and "job well done".

    At least Moneypenny had the right idea, trying to shoot Bond before he got her killed like every other women he promises to protect.

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  104. It's clearly someone's time of the month. You're the kind of woman pleaser that would take his wife's name in marriage. All so you can get a sniff of vagina, good strategy, unfortunately it makes you look like a cunt to other men. Why don't you do yourself a favour and get a sex change to the woman you do clearly long to br.

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  105. Like him or loathe him, Bond is only a character in a bloody film! I can't believe we are having a national (media) debate the social mores of a fictional character?

    Smart move though putting the 'banned' article on your wife's recipe blog. Well, at least it's got her some attention!

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    1. Representation in media reflects societal attitudes. Only an extremely privileged, clueless person who is often represented favorably could fail to understand this.

      Delete
  106. I can't believe I wasted half an hour reading these comments. I hate you all.

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  107. I think i may have an idea as to why this article didn't get published in The Times - not that The Times doesn't publish nonsense, they do - but not complete and utter nonsense, not last time i checked anyway!

    This is Bond! if that scene was vile then for god's sake don't watch or read American Psycho, nor a number of other classics and excellent stories. Bond is a killer, he's not that nice, it's kinda the point! To be honest i was a little bit disappointed at how the Orcs were portrayed in LOTRs, so negative and not a female Orc among them!!! that was 'vile' and not a single female member of the fellowship either (although Legolas had long hair?? just saying)

    you can pick films apart as much as you have time on your hands to do it - you can see 'vile' scenes everywhere (to me, what saville is accused of is 'vile' this - not so much!)

    I'm actually annoyed that i even commented on this - although i did, more fool me! but anyway, i'm off to write a blog about how watching Loose Women will take me thirty years to recover from and how it made me feel worthless and powerless, hmmm, actually, Tomb Raider..........

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  108. Esther,
    I used to like your blog, now, not so much. The whiny-posh bird thing is tedious. I hate to break it to you but most people can't afford a kitchen extension, never mind get to whinge about one. Most people probably think 'Ocado' is some sort of vegetable.
    Apart from your equally privileged friends, I'm not sure who your target audience will be for this book.

    Charlie H





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  109. Over-hyped film which sadly raised expectations to an unrealistic level. The tedium of some dreadful advertising beforehand riding on the back of increasingly dull product placement leads to the thought that this franchise is now too much of a commercial animal for genuine Bond enthusiasts. It was all too close to Batman for comfort.

    And the notion of paying £10 to sit in a cramped seat, close to others munching hamburgers, accompanied by the stench of popcorn and the sound of crinkling crisp and sweet packets is now history for me. I'll watch this sort of low grade stuff on TV, or not at all.

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  110. Spot on Mr Coren, I wish I hadn't gone to see it. It will be successful at the box office out of Bond momentum, but it's awful, and deserves to be buried.

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  111. Good review. The death of M did not make my skin crawl as much as the other two points, but this has definitely been the most anti-women Bond I've seen.

    Bond movies have always been sexist. But I think you can be sexist without being misogynistic. You don't have to hate women to want to shag them. Skyfall is misogyinistic while being un-sexy, which makes it a very creepy film.

    There's something wrong when Bond tells a female colleague "not everyone is made for field work" and repeatedly undermines her confidence until she gives up her ambition to be a field agent. There's something wrong when Bond decides to let a woman be killed, dismisses it all with a (poor) one-liner, and then shows how he would have been capable of getting the situation in control all along.

    Anyway. My own thoughts, somewhat less coherent, are on Flixster, here:

    https://bk.flixster.com/user/8805981/rating/770680844/

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  112. DON'T WORRY

    Moneypenny has some advice here for Bond Girls on how to get to the far side of the movie unscathed: http://www.sluttylemon.com/2012/11/02/survival-tips-for-bond-girls/

    Should cut the attrition rate considerably

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  113. I agree. That scene completely took me out of the movie and was utterly horrifying. It doesn't even make *sense* for Craig's Bond character.

    THe last time he was in a shower with a woman, they were fully clothed and he was comforting her. Whoever wrote that scene in Skyfall is sick.

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  114. Just saying - Bond's quip during the whiskey scene is to show the villain that he hasn't 'got to him' by killing his lover. Can't believe I've had to spell that out.

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  115. I visited the cinema for the first time in ages and found the film entertaining. i didn't want to think about anything deep and meaningful, which is why I chose Bond. If you want to think about it, you are in the wrong place.

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  116. I never really get the 'escapist fantasy' argument. Isn't the point of escapist fantasy that it's fun? And that things are morally simpler than in real life, i.e., good guys win and bad guys lose?

    If you have one bad guy against another bad guy, it seems like it makes it less of an escapist fantasy, not more.

    Or is the point to make it simpler by making Bond worse? I.e., forget trying to 'rehabilitate' him or provide explanations for why he's so aweful to try to get people to sympathize with him, make him bad enough that there's no confusion? So it's just obvious he's basically a bad person?

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    1. Thank you.

      Adam Garrett's comments---and the comments of everyone else (Kayla) whinging that it's "JUST A FILM!!!!!!"---are completely stupid for this reason.

      Firstly, it's stupid to think films don't have an effect on people. There are mountains of evidence showing otherwise.

      But apart from that, what on earth is "escapist" about watching a "hero" treat a sex slave like crap? There's no escape there. That's just what happens in real life. The movie is portraying a horrible real life event and expecting its viewers to think it's fun. If you think abusing human trafficking victims is escapist fun, there's something very wrong with you.

      Delete
  117. "To be honest i was a little bit disappointed at how the Orcs were portrayed in LOTRs, so negative and not a female Orc among them!!! that was 'vile' and not a single female member of the fellowship either "

    That's true, the sexism in children's fantasy and animated shows (toy story, etc) is actually a lot more disturbing in a lot of ways, because it's more quietly insidious, and because kids watch them, who are infinitely more impressionable.

    A lot of 'child-friendly' shows literally have 1 female character for every TWENTY male ones.

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  118. LOVE THIS. I felt the same way throughout the film - that shower scene is practically a rape and the whisky bit is purely disgusting. However, Giles seems to be the first person to agree with me!
    Not usually a fan but I might just start reading Giles' columns.

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  119. Wow. What comments. Amazing how many men assume that an invitation to a boat/house?/flat? summons creeping into a woman's shower. Creeps.

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    1. I think you watched a different film? Or nipped to the loo at a crucial point? Cos inviting Bond to your boat might not be a invitation to bed, but hanging around in a silk and lace robe with a bottle of champagne and two glasses has SHE's PLANNING TO SEDUCE HIM written all over it. In big letters. Instead he shimmies into the shower to seduce her because it adds (1) will he turn up/is he alive? tension (2) it's a bit sexier and (3) he's Bond and therefore is seducer not seducee whenever possible.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, seriously. All these people who blather on about how it's "just a film" are actually revealing their own real-life creepiness when they talk like that.

      Delete
  120. I would like to argue with your three conclusions to the supposedly sexist themes in Skyfall:

    1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;

    2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and

    3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.

    One and three are sexist statements in of themselves. The mentality that the female MUST always prevail over the male and rewarded a higher status is against the feminism that values equality, not a reversal of current gender norms. Female and male are sexes of the same species and therefore should enjoy the same privileges. This means that, for every above-the-board pay rises for women and greater access to education and job opportunities, there is an equalizer in that they play within the same rules as men in all fields.

    Eve did NOT get a job as Bond's secretary- she became Mallory's. And so what if she prefers a desk job over an active field job? It was a choice made by herself, not by any Old Boy's Club or other such gimmicks. A woman can be a strong, respected individual even within circumstances that are deemed stereotypical.

    As for the second point, you expound on how Bond had sex with Severine because he was bored, even knowing that she was a wife of a crime syndicate leader. First, the woman INVITED Bond to her YACHT. This is very important. CONSENT to a sexual act doesn't contextualize everything, but IT DOES establish that it was wanted by the female and in the acting out of the scene, it is evident that there is enjoyment in both parties.

    Second, even before there was any sexual innuendo, Bond offered to help Severine escape. I distinctly remember her warning him, saying that her husband will kill her, but he does not relent. In the end, they are both captured, and Severine apologizes (either because she hasn't warned Bond enough or she had to tell her husband).

    Third, her death wasn't played just so Bond could spout a stupid one-liner. As demonstrated in the sequence after her death, it's shown that Bond has regained his steady hand. This means that he missed on purpose, to try and prolong her life and maybe save her when the cavalry comes. He had to time his actions carefully because his back-up is still flying over, and it's just unfortunate that Silva did what he did.

    What I MAY agree with you with is the unnecessary feel that Severine had. She had a story, but it didn't contribute much to the overall presentation as much as M's expanded personality did. It's a Bond cliche that persists, but compared to the pre-reboot Bonds, this new Bond is heck of a lot less misogynistic and more human.

    In looking at or reading a film or any form in media, we have to look at it as a whole and not fixate on a single point. As a film, the supposedly sexist elements you mentioned did not impede the story or turn the plot logic illogical. Is it misogynistic? No, not really, especially as it doesn't address that issue and if it ever does, it doesn't antagonize the female. And note that while everything produced has to be aware of its social background, it does not necessarily need to address ALL of the issues in it.

    BY THE WAY: I'm saying this as both a woman and a writer who appreciates complexity in unexpected places.

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  121. archaicelyssion.wordpress here.

    I would like to argue your three conclusions to the supposedly sexist themes in Skyfall:

    1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;

    2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and

    3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.

    One and three are sexist statements in of themselves. The mentality that the female MUST always prevail over the male and rewarded a higher status is against the feminism that values equality, not a reversal of current gender norms. Female and male are sexes of the same species and therefore should enjoy the same privileges. This means that, for every above-the-board pay rises for women and greater access to education and job opportunities, there is an equalizer in that they play within the same rules as men in all fields.

    Eve did NOT get a job as Bond’s secretary- she became Mallory’s. And so what if she prefers a desk job over an active field job? It was a choice made by herself, not by any Old Boy’s Club or other such gimmicks. A woman can be a strong, respected individual even within circumstances that are deemed stereotypical.

    As for the second point, you expound on how Bond had sex with Severine because he was bored, even knowing that she was a wife of a crime syndicate leader. First, the woman INVITED Bond to her YACHT. This is very important. CONSENT to a sexual act DOESN'T contextualize everything, but IT DOES establish that it was wanted by the female and in the acting out of the scene, it is evident that there is enjoyment in both parties.

    Second, even before there was any sexual innuendo, Bond offered to help Severine escape. I distinctly remember her warning him, saying that her husband will kill her, but he does not relent. In the end, they are both captured, and Severine apologizes (either because she hasn’t warned Bond enough or she had to tell her husband).

    Third, her death wasn’t played just so Bond could spout a stupid one-liner. As demonstrated in the sequence after her death, it’s shown that Bond has regained his steady hand. This means that he missed on purpose, to try and prolong her life and maybe save her when the cavalry comes. He had to time his actions carefully because his back-up is still flying over, and it’s just unfortunate that Silva did what he did.

    What I MAY agree with this blog with is the unnecessary feel that Severine had. She had a story, but it didn’t contribute much to the overall presentation as much as M’s expanded personality did. It’s a Bond cliche that persists, but compared to the pre-reboot Bonds, this new Bond is heck of a lot less misogynistic and more human.

    In looking at or reading a film or any form in media, we have to look at it as a whole and not fixate on a single point. As a film, the supposedly sexist elements you mentioned did not impede the story or turn the plot logic illogical. Is it misogynistic? No, not really, especially as it doesn’t address that issue and if it ever does, it doesn’t antagonize the female. And note that while everything produced has to be aware of its social background, it does not necessarily need to address ALL of the issues in it.

    BY THE WAY: I’m saying this as both a woman and a writer who appreciates complexity in unexpected places.

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  122. He got into her shower uninvited? Technically I suppose she didn't invite him into the shower, but it's almost as if you're looking to be offended Giles. She previously was waiting for him with two champagne glasses, all dolled up in her slinky skimpy stuff. Looks like she was game to me. And she didn't miss a beat in turning around and embracing Bond neked in said shower. So good try, but no dice Mr (and Mrs?) Coren.

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  123. Fuck off Coren.

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  124. Is this the same Giles Coren that call a huff post journalist a "barren old hag"?
    I suppose at least he can spot the misogyny of fictional characters.
    Paul B

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  125. Are these accusations justified?

    In Goldeneye M replaced a man - was that demeaning to Bernard Lee?

    Moneypenny is a female secretary. It just happens that now she has an interesting back story that explains her by play with Bond. I personally think the suggestion that being a secretary is somehow demeaning Giles, is rather more outdated than the points you attempt to criticise in the film. Imagine if they'd reinvented her as Caucasian, then you'd be able to claim it was racist too.

    For years audiences and critics have been wishing that the films return to the Bond of the books. Bond is an arsehole in the books. Sure, he does cool stuff, but he is an arsehole. Now we get that and you're complaining.

    I interpreted the scene with Severine as tragic - he was willing to sacrifice someone for the good off the mission. Just as he did in the pre title sequence - He leaves the MI6 agent for dead.

    If you want real ugly contemporary sexism, look now further than the representation of men as bumbling imbeciles in nearly ALL advertising.

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  126. This is rich indeed, bearing in mind the image at the top of this article is Giles' wife, saucepan in hand, in a kitchen with an apron on.

    Shame on you! Imagine what the children who see this will think.

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  127. Seriously, did WIZO put something in your lunch last week Giles? It's James Bond FFS. I think it's unbelievable M would not let James stay in her house. How bad is that? She knew James had nowhere to live and yet callous that she is she was prepared to throw him out onto the streets. Silva gave her her just deserts I tell ya.

    See where this could go?

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  128. ITS A BOND MOVIE!!! Not Social commentary. Embrace it for what it is....

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  129. Wow so many comments.

    Was going to post something thoughtful and insightful but nobody will ever read all the way to the end!

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  130. Bond is a killer. a government assasasin. Trying to undertsnad his pschye should start and end there. what sort of person would want to lurk in the shadows. someone a little unhinged. all these saddos turning Bond into a anti feminist commentary can bore off....and iron my shirt whilst you're at it.

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  131. Another person missing the point, or perhaps just not paying attention. Eve decided that the field "wasnt for her". She hadn't enjoyed her experience, didnt want that life and "CHOSE" a desk job. So she's actually getting exactly what she wants. I can think of no better empowerment for a woman than getting to choose her own destiny.


    Bullshit! Bond fans have been bitching about female agents in the franchise's movies for years. They were especially vehement against Halle Berry's role in "DIE ANOTHER DAY". Everytime Bond's leading lady is a spy, the fans - especially the male ones - get their undies in a twist about Bond working with the character.

    And now, EON Productions have decided to ease their egos by having a female spy decide that she is better off as a secretary. The Bond franchise has regressed considerably. EON Productions gave people like you what you've wanted for years . . . and now you're excusing their portrayal of Moneypenny.

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  132. My comments on another blog post 'Spyfail':
    http://www.thekrakenwakes.org/culture/spyfail/
    Bond is cinema filling October half-term entertainment and pure fantasy. I can’t get too worked up about the women in the film (unlike Giles Coren), although I thought it was disappointing that Eve Moneypenny couldn’t take the pressure in the field, deciding she was better suited to a secretarial role (I suppose at least she made that decision). Times have moved on from Sean Connery’s introduction to Pussy Galore. Sadly, I thought that Adele’s theme tune was weak, watery and utterly forgettable. Unlike Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger’ or Lulu pumping out ‘He’s got a powerful weapon’ in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ – Bond music is just as important as Bond cars, gadgets, villains and Bond girls/women – whatever we’re supposed to call them. A completely politically correct Bond won’t appeal to Bond afficionados who will cling onto their box sets and Ian Fleming books.

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  133. Terrible film, my first Bond at the cinema and now likely to be my last. Ridiculously large holes in a pointless plot. I cared nothing for any of the main characters. Boring, uninspiring, mindless drivel that tarnishes being Scottish, British and Humanitarian sensibilities.

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  134. "Moneypenny has some advice here for Bond Girls on how to get to the far side of the movie unscathed: http://www.sluttylemon.com/2012/11/02/survival-tips-for-bond-girls/

    Should cut the attrition rate considerably



    Or if you're lucky to be a telepath, do the Emma Frost routine . . . make him think he's making love to you, when he's really making love to air.

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  135. maybe they should sack Craig and get a woman to play James Bond?

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  136. “All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken. It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.” Ian Fleming - The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)

    Perhaps there's some truth in that.....?

    Cheers for the recipes - your husband talks utter anus by the way....

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  137. It saddens me, but I agree with Mr Coren. Having always been a bit of a Bond fan, brought up with it on TV EVERY Saturday, I was hoping for some slick escapist fun, but I was so disappointed.

    Firstly yes the shower scene made me very uncomfortable, especially after the unexplored 'back-story' that seemed to be thrown in to explain her terror of Bardem's character. As if being in-thrall to a psycho with a bad dye job wasn't bad enough.

    The catty MP who was put down by Mallory - quite frankly gives every educated woman a bad name, or reminds them what 14 year old girls are like at school.

    M's death wasn't in itself the problem. I agree that after several films and the inability for Dench to retire without looking like a failure this had to happen. But what really angered me was the return to the old MI6 set. Miss Moneypenny, back where she belonged, out of the field and safely tucked behind the desk. And guess what? The old boys back in their leather clad, wooden paneled office and dossiers in manila folders for Bond's eyes only - Hoorah we've dispatched with the women, they couldn't hack it, and all's right with the world!

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  138. Brilliant piece, thank you.

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  139. Giles is right. It was the reaction of Bond that was unnecessary and unnatural. Remember 12 year old kids will be seeing this. He allowed her to be killed after promising to save her - then made a very nasty comment which suggested he was more upset by the scotch being wasted than the life of this woman he had just slept with. Horrible! I notice all the comments supporting the film say that Giles should 'grow a pair' etc. films like this need a moral code. They are seen by millions. The irony is that it is being upheld as a 'feminist' work. No. Sorry. Great film other than that misjudged scene.

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  140. The whisky joke is very obviously in poor taste, but it's also justified by context – i.e. it's a (spot-on) pastiche of Fleming's fantasy, which is sexist, racist, imperialist and, yes, reactionary. If you don't like Fleming, don't watch James Bond films. If you haven't read Fleming... well, maybe you should before you decide to sound off about a film based on his work.

    I would say that Giles Coren's joke about gay men and Soho sex workers 'looking for a nosh' on Charing Cross Road, the one he made such a fuss about in his leaked email to a chief sub-editor a couple of years back, was no less reactionary, facile or tasteless. It certainly wasn't funnier.

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  141. Nice piece (Coren couldn't be boring if he tried), but I disagree with most of it.

    Before Dench, M never even stepped out from behind his desk. She was pretty kick ass for several films before dying. There was no sense that she was replaced by a man because a woman couldn't do the job. And it's not like they replaced her with nobody - it was Ralph Fiennes! To insist that another actress had to replace her would have been patronising to women. It seems that Fiennes was cast for the same reason Dench was - because they wanted that actor. In other words, the gender was irrelevant.

    And before Naomi Harris, Moneypenny was portrayed as a glorified receptionist fawning after Bond. Harris on the other hand TURNED BOND down, wielding a cut-throat razor while she confidently rebuffed his advances, and matching him quip for quip in their banter. And it's not that she was crap in the field - in Bond films ALL the other spies fail to come up to his standard. Generally they get killed off! The shot that Harris was ordered to take would have been impossible for anyone.

    During the 'William Tell' game with Sévérine, it was clearly shown before her death that a henchman had a gun right up against Bond's head. Bond had no chance to save her, and the 'waste of scotch' line was a simple distraction.

    The only bit I agree with is that the shower scene was a bit icky. Still, at least he was naked and unarmed when he came on to her - it would have been quite easy for her to have screamed for help, leaving him completely vulnerable.

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  142. Oh please Giles. And you wonder why they didn't want this? Another example of you taking the 'shocked from Surrey' line just to get yourself a bit of exposure.
    You watch a James Bond film and leave shocked at the sexism? I would be shocked if there wasn't any.
    I watched this with my wife by my side and you know what? She didn't recoil in horror! She didn't run screaming from the cinema! In fact she liked the film so much that she said she would go and see it again. Happily!
    But then she isn't some egotistical little twerp who has been denied her vanity piece in a broadsheet for the week, is she?
    Hey, at least your wife's got a few readers on her blog. Although she is pictured in the kitchen, with a pinafore on! I'm shocked! How sexist! This is taking women back to the dark ages! I feel PHYSICALLY SICK!!!!
    Now go and eat something and write some bile about it, for God's sake.

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  143. The first thing to say is that the character of Severine (the young woman in question)is not innocent. When we first see her, she is setting up the murder of someone interested in buy (probably stolen) art. She is quite cold and ruthless about this murder herself.

    Many good posts defending the film and the other points have been made already. The Daniel Craig films have deliberately addressed the way Bond's actions can cause innocent women to die - Solange in Casino Royale, and Fields in QoS. In both, M chastises him for it. But in SkyFall, Severeine is not innocent in the way these women are.

    This would not justify assault on her or laughing at her death, but like others have mentioned, this is not what happens anyway. She invites him to the boat. She doesn't react with surprise when he enters the shower (though I agree there is a weird edit here, suggesting a missing scene). And after she dies Bond's reaction is to enable him to escape.

    It really is quite simple. But if you don't like Bond, and some of the admittedly adult and difficult themes and representations the films contain, no amount of reasoned debate is going to change your opinion. That is fair, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But perhaps, don't watch them in future?

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  144. There is a delicious irony in a review such as this featuring on a cookery blog illustrated by a woman in an apron. If this is not enough to stoke the ire of the hypersensitive feminist brigade I don't know what is. Actually, maybe a feature on the Dyson vacuum cleaner and how it is best used by women.

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  145. Thank you so, so much for writing this Giles. It's so vital men in the public eye stand up against misogyny just as much as women.

    Thank you.

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  146. "Just saying - Bond's quip during the whiskey scene is to show the villain that he hasn't 'got to him' by killing his lover. Can't believe I've had to spell that out."

    Yes, of course that's what he's trying to say, but it's not exactly something to be proud of. He's not saying it's tragic but won't stop him, or that it only strengthens his resolve or anything like that -- he's deliberately choosing words that say 'who cares if she dies'.

    Which doesn't show toughness, it shows sociopathy (either real or feigned - so either he's a sociopath himself of thinks it's somehow admirable to pretend to be one??).

    He just seems like such a disgusting character, one of those characters you're meant to hope dies by the end of the film.

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    1. I'm trying to picture that scene and Bond saying "It's tragic, but it only strengthens my resolve." Doesn't really work does it? By making a joke about it he is taking his grief and shock and turning it into a weapon.

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  147. "Wow. What comments. Amazing how many men assume that an invitation to a boat/house?/flat? summons creeping into a woman's shower. Creeps."

    It's disturbing OTOH to be fair I don't think everyone arguing that really thinks it would mean that in real life. Mostly they seem to be arguing that Bond-world is it's own universe where it DOES mean that.

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  148. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing in any of these scenes, particularly the shower one. When I came home I started searching online for articles about this but couldn't easily find any. How can most people talking about or reporting on this miss it?! Or rather just ignore it? Good Lord, I think I'd rather have the ridiculous smaltz and Benny Hill style treatment of the female characters back than what we've got now. 2012 and Bond saves women from the sex trade but not without first taking sex from them as payment!

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