Less is More

There’s this moment, if you’ve ever had the unhappy opportunity to sit through Taking Lives, when Angelina Jolie is wearing a robe and it slips open to reveal her upper thigh. I could probably find fifty pictures of Angelina Jolie wearing less than that on the internet in the time it’s taken you to read this paragraph.

But it’s still a moment I find really charged and erotic in ways it’s hard for me to completely understand.

I was reminded of that when we were watching Spy and there’s this moment at the end when Jason Statham takes his arm out from under a sheet and again, it’s just his arm and it’s not like you don’t see his arm in every movie. But *pow*.

I’d like to understand more about what’s going on there. It seems probably like more a poet’s concern than a story-writer’s concern, but it’s still fascinating to me. Are there certain things–a flash of thigh a well-crafted shoulder–certain words, even–though I don’t know what those would be–that short-cut straight to the brain and set off an “Oh, my, wow” response without needing more than just those fleeting glimpses?

3 thoughts on “Less is More

  1. I think this is definitely writing related. It’s only partly the shot: the lighting, the angle. But the rest is about context. What is it about the character, their story to that point, and specifically what is going on around them at that moment that really charges what would otherwise potentially be a generic, see-it-anywhere image?

    You can capture that in words too. Chest hair is, enh, what it is, but a flashed curl at an unbuttoned collar viewed by someone who has been built up to have this repression around their needs but can’t resist this attraction, in the context of that story chest hair suddenly because this charged sexy thing in another way. So it is with your thigh and shoulder above.

  2. Maybe part of it lurks somewhere between desire and fulfillment. When the full Monty is paraded before you, that’s that. You don’t have to imagine or long for it, because there it is. A thigh unexpectedly revealed, or an arm accidentally slid out from beneath the covers; those are triggers for desire.

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