Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
365 Days has had a lot of hype and controversy since its release on Netflix. Some love it for its erotic scenes, some hate it for its glamorization of abuse. But how problematic is the film and is it worth it for its steamier moments?
First off, we need to acknowledge that, like a lot of Netflix Originals, 365 Days is poorly written. It’s wild and unexpected in a way that surpasses exciting and gripping into the realm of being unrealistic and eye-roll inducing. As an erotic film based on a novel (by Blanka Lipińska), featuring some BDSM and a dominant male character preying on a more submissive female, it is comparable to Fifty Shades of Gray. The plot is quite boring and at times a little hard to follow. The dialogue is unconvincing. It seems like a chore to have to endure the dry moments in the film to get to the juicy, erotic scenes that everyone’s talking about on social media. The infamous boat scene is very hot and steamy, but unfortunately that is where the film peaks and the rest of it just can’t live up to that iconic moment. The scene has a “wow” factor that is not present in any of the other sex scenes in the film.
In a film primarily about sex, it’s important to address the issues that are bothering a lot of people. Namely – kidnapping and sexual assault. These are topics that I struggle to look past in order to enjoy the film. It is extremely problematic that Massimo kidnaps Laura in an attempt to force her to fall in love with him, while forcibly choking her, touching her without her consent and handling her roughly. It feels very uncomfortable. This discomfort does ease a little when she begins to develop feelings for him and makes it clear that she wants a sexual relationship. I think that’s why the boat scene hits better than the beginning of the film; it’s clear that the sex between Massimo and Laura is actually consensual and enjoyable for her as well as for his pleasure.
Changing pace abruptly from the steamy sex that fills a lot of the film, the dramatic ending is an interesting twist. When Laura is shockingly killed, a space is opened up for a potential sequel. Also, since it’s based on the first of a trilogy of novels, it’s highly likely that there will be more to follow within a franchise. I’m interested to see how many people will want to watch a second 365 Days film. Although those who have been raving about it will be ecstatic if a second one is made, lots of people have been disappointed by the movie’s shortcomings and may not be interested in a sequel at all. I probably won’t watch the sequel if it does come out. To me, the first film can be neatly summed up as: okay. But I don’t think I’m invested enough in the story to bother seeing more.
There is undeniably quite a lot wrong with 365 Days. It deals with some problematic topics and, to some extent, does glamorize, romanticise and sexualise abuse. That being said, I can see why it’s got so much attention, with its daring sex scenes and obviously attractive lead characters. It’s pretty much broken the Internet – or at least TikTok. Hopefully it won’t be long until Netflix unleash another craze to wipe this one out a bit!
– Bridie Adams