THE HEAT WAVE IN BODY HEAT
Updated: Mar 12
Counting down those summer days where an A.C. unit and a video streaming service comes in handy.
Lawrence Kasdan wrote & directed this 1981 sexy thriller seemingly inspired by the Film Noir classic "Double Indemnity".
William Hurt plays Nance, a lawyer with a sex addiction who runs into Kathleen Turner’s Matty Walker, the object of his desire, on one fateful, sticky night.
He approaches her adamantly as she brushes off his advancements with open arms. The game advances further as he offers her a snow cone that melts just as fast as the first lick.
What follows is an odyssey into a male’s devotion toward the female body, the lengths in which he’ll keep it and the price he pays for worshiping it.
Kasdan’s screenplay aims high, the overtly flirtatious dialogue coming across as mere foreplay compared to the actions he’ll take later as the heat overcomes him metaphorically and physically. One absolutely outrageous scene that comes to mind plays as an orgasmic climax - Nance, raging with desire, stalks around Matty’s home like a wild animal, eyes her in the foyer, and retrieves a patio chair to hurl into the door window.
As she stands inside, asking for it, one sees the glint in her eye, the power of the spider to the fly. The beast takes her and makes love right there on the cold floor.
Nance, in his primal naïveté, has been played like a fiddle.
The most defining aspect, outside of the power dynamics on display, is the film’s use of time, place and temperature. The heatwave is not only the theme; it becomes its own character. Every scene reminds you with overbearing humidity that you can drop dead of exposure at any time.
It is this knowledge that Matty, with cunning manipulation, forges her sword of fire for Nance to willingly plunge into his own soul.
For her it's a means to an end. For him, it is the end.
Watch Body Heat on Hulu