I guess this qualifies as "be careful what you ask for, you might get it."
A coupla days ago I complained about Lovely & Amazing for having unsympathetic neurotics for its main characters. Tonight I watched The Piano Teacher, which like the other film features some excellent acting and some unsympathetic characters. In this case, though, we move beyond neurosis to near-psychosis (as if I actually know what the clinical definitions are for those terms). Isabelle Huppert is astonishing in the title role, utterly brave and frightening. She plays ... and here I hate to be judgmental ... but she plays a sicko, both a masochist and a bossy control freak who fucks up the lives of others because she hates herself. OK, so I can identify, but a movie about my life wouldn't be very entertaining, either. With its on-screen porn videos, genital and other body mutilation, S&M sex, vomiting, pissing, and pretty much everything else you can think of, the film is a 21st-century sexed-up version of Bergman's The Silence. You hear the title The Piano Teacher and you figure it's boring ... then you find out about all the kinky stuff and maybe you think it'll be good. Sorry, the boring teacher wins out. Huppert is great, though, and the rest of the cast keeps up with her, so if you're in the mood for a movie where a straight-laced prissy spinster type sniffs used tissues in the video booth at the porn shop and then goes home to sleep in the same bed with her mother, I guess this one's for you.