Naked Acts (1997) from ICMS

While browsing Amazon I stumbled upon a movie called "Naked Acts" (1997). The title sounded promising, I looked it up in the IMDb and decided to go for it. Now let's see what it is all about.
Well, first of all I would like to say that this independent film with an an all black cast, which takes place in New York's black community, should be compulsory viewing for all actresses who refuse to do nude scenes. Because that's exactly what this film is dealing with and does so in a manner that celeb nudity lovers can approve.

The main character in the movie is CC (Cicely), a young actress who landed her first film role in an art movie. There is only one small hiccup, however. The script requires her to take her clothes off. And that is something CC definitely won't do because basically she feels very uncomfortable about her body, so much so that she even keeps her clothes on in bed making love to her boyfriend/director. The film spends a great deal explaining why she feels that way about her body. It is because her mother starred in blaxploitation flicks and didn't have much time for her daughter who was sexually abused as a teenager by her manager, something she never told her mother. She then gained weight to become unattractive and now she just has lost 57 pounds and is still feeling insecure about herself. To keep slim she drinks 10 to 12 glasses of water a day, and that is, according to her boyfriend, a lot of pissin' but she knows every public toilet in Manhattan, so that's not an issue. The film makers chose this premise as a reason for her shyness but you could easily replace it by religious or moral objections.


  • Jake-ann Jones, as Cicely, goes full frontal.
  • Sandy Wilson is topless for a short moment
  • Renee Cox as the photographer-friend shows breasts and buns in the sauna and is full frontal in a selfportrait hanging on the wall in her studio.
  • There is also a quick side topless glimpse of Patricia DeArcy as Lydia Love, the blaxploitation queen and CC's mother, in one of her films on video. 
Now why should every actress who refuses to do nude scenes view this, you might ask. Because as the film meanders along - there are quite a number of dead moments in this flick - CC finally sees the light. First she's told that giving her everything in a film role on an emotional level can expose her a lot more than when she simply takes her clothes off. Second, she finally acknowledges that not all nudity is exploitation as she previously had believed because of her mother's past. She finally sees that nudity can also be a form of art or a way to tell or develop a story in a movie. So what does she do ? She goes to a friend's photo studio and photographs herself in the nude, with the intention of giving the pictures to her mother, to pardon herself because she despised her mother and hadn't spoken to her in 4 years. No, I am not making this up, it's all in this film.
The movie deals with an interesting theme but the script is too thin to really make it something special. I've got the impression that they somehow fell short of ideas as to why nude scenes should be done and in order not to make a short, they had the story meander way too much into the direction of CC's reasons why she felt so uncomfortable about her body. It would have been more interesting if they had also developed the reasons for the nudity some more. The lighting and the camera work are adequate but nothing special. The actors, mostly one time performers, all put in decent performances but I'm afraid it's not award winning stuff either.  The DVD has quite a lot of drop-outs for a movie that is only 5 years old. And before I forget to mention it, as a bonus there's also a 5 question quiz about the film. I somehow managed to answer all questions correctly, but got no reward for it at all, like maybe a nude photograph of the lead actress. What a stupid bonus that is, I did all that thinking for nothing ;-)
This is the end of my review of this mostly unknown film. I haven't checked it out thoroughly, but this could possibly be the lengthiest review ever written about it :-)  

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 53/100


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. The IMDb rates this one 6.8 (with only 9 votes however).
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, C-. The movie explores an interesting theme and manages to hold one's attention, despite the aforementioned dead moments.

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