I mean, there are really countless examples, I find this thought really strange. Sex is a major part of existence, it would be incredibly strange if film never used it to good effect.
I think it's how sex has been used that's the problem, not that it's used at all. To use it to exploit the female body to attract eyeballs is one thing, but I think as society changes, its use has become more thoughtful.
I saw two films at the theater today.The Traitor
A good organized crime/true crime film as seen through the perspective of a potentially unreliable boss (or mere soldier) Tommaso Buscetta, who flips and turns witness for the state against La Cosa Nostra. Essentially, I think the acting and some of the court drama is good, but it gets a little tiresome and carries some pretty standard wise guy tropes (mythologizing asshole criminals, irreverent wise guy humor) and it never really challenges you. It's fun, and yet nothing special. It's fine.The Assistant
It's funny, if I were to award stars to films - way too big of a commitment for me - I'd have bumped this up a star just for the reaction of the old men in the audience after. Just for some good context: Where I see a lot of the "art" or "independent" films where I'm at, I travel to one of the older theaters in the Harkins chain where a lot of elderly people, who usually have a bit of money, go, especially on a Saturday morning or early afternoon. I'm accustomed to some murmuring in this theater because it seems a lot of people don't know what they are getting into when they come to see some of these films, but the turnout is generally good. This particular theater had a good 50+ to see The Assistant, and at the end, you heard the following, in angry old men voices:I don't get it!What was that even about?That stunk!
And I'm just like, yeah, you old lecherous dudes with good retirement savings, that was YOU!
Doesn't mean I thought the film was great, but it was very good. I had a hard time buying the setting. That's a pretty drab office for a successful film executive. I used to tag along with my dad to his very middling, very unexciting business office when I was little, in the early 90's, and it kicked this office's ass like ten times over. I didn't buy that Jane "messed up" multiple times, including going to HR on this patently awful exec, and lasted the day. She witnessed a lot of messed up stuff, but then you hear the HR director spit back at her the nature of her accusations, and you know that doesn't end up well for her. Now, I love all the little clues, the creation of a toxic work environment led by an exec that is clearly - but not clearly enough? - abusing his power in return for much sexual gratification. It's timely, it's apt, and the screenplay, with all the little slights and abuses, makes for a well-paced and intriguing film. Having the exec behind the curtain, only hearing his voice occasionally on the phone, makes him seem all the more monstrous, and beyond that it's a good artistic touch that keeps the film from seeming too heavy handed. And Julia Garner is excellent, totally believable, trying to keep her poker face though you know she's dying a thousand deaths inside. I'm glad they gave her the moment with her father on the phone to fill out her character and take her beyond "abused assistant", too.
I'd say this is the first film of the year I really think is worthy of a lot of discussion.