Spanking the Monkey

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Original title Spanking the Monkey
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1994
Director David O. Russell
script David O. Russell
production Dean Silvers
music David Carbonara
camera Michael Mayers
cut Pamela Martin

Spanking the Monkey is a 1994 American film directed by David O. Russell . It is a family drama with black humor and deals with the issue of incest . The main role was played by Jeremy Davies .


Raymond Aibelli is a pubescent student with good prospects for his future. But his life is getting more and more complicated. He cannot start his internship because his dominant father assigns him to look after his sick mother. The attractive but depressed Susan is unable to walk in bed with a complicated broken leg. Ray becomes her nurse and takes care of her needs. He puts cream on his mother's feet. He carries her to the toilet and the bathroom, whereby the lack of privacy and unfamiliar physical contact creates an emotionally confusing closeness. Ray tries on the toilet masturbation to operate, but the dog is bothering him. His acquaintance with a young girl is problematic because of her clumsy advances. Nobody understands him, neither his friends nor his parents, who are unhappy with one another. The father travels as a representative of video cassettes and is not very particular about marital fidelity. Ray and his mother are in a boisterous mood from alcohol and have sex with each other, the representation of the actual act being left to the imagination. The father has his own troubles. He confronts Ray with the fait accompli that he can no longer pay for his son to study. Therefore, he should also work as a representative for a year to earn money. Unlike his mother, Ray is plagued by guilt. He tries to kill himself and eventually jumps off a high cliff. He survived and hitchhiked away to escape the constant tutelage of his parents and the dysfunctional interpersonal relationships.


Critics described the film as provocative and extremely entertaining .

"Outrageous" - David Ansen, Newsweek

"Provocative ... highly entertaining!" - Bill Hoffmann, New York Post

“A comic genius, unmasked; Oedipal angst in suburbia. ” - Andrew Sarris , The New York Observer


Background information

There were 25 days of shooting in New York in August 1993. The budget for the independent film was approximately $ 80,000.

The English film title is a slang term for masturbation.

Faye Dunaway was supposed to take on the role of mother. She turned it down because she thought the role would not be good for her then twelve-year-old son.

The film has been available in English on DVD in the US since December 2005. It has no subtitles but a comment by David O. Russell. The run length is approx. 100 minutes. The film is not rated in the USA .

Director David O. Russell makes a cameo. In one of the first scenes in the film, when Raymond gets off the bus, he can be seen as one of the passengers in the background.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c DVD cover

Web links