Body Heat sort of reminded me of a good version of Wild Things; between taking place in Florida, having sexy ladies, murder, and twist endings, it makes me think that the people who made Wild Things probably pitched it as “Like Body Heat, but campy and with twenty-somethings playing high schoolers!”
But anyway, we all know Body Heat is super sexy. It was made when Kathleen Turner and William Hurt (and Mickey Rourke, for that matter, though he doesn’t have any sexy scenes) were at the height of their sexiness. I mean, Kathleen Turner is just insanely hot. But then, so is William Hurt. So that’s pretty great.
Body Heat is also a really good example of how much context matters in a movie. There’s a relatively famous scene where Ned (William Hurt) is at Matty (Kathleen Turner)’s house, where she has turned him down, but not before kissing him and going back into the house. He stands by his car for a few moments before going back up to her front door, where he can see Matty standing in the foyer, waiting for him. The front door is locked, and all of the other doors are locked, but they keep looking at each other and Matty clearly wants him to come in. So, he throws a lawn chair through a window, which only barely makes Matty flinch, and he climbs in where they have sex on the floor. It’s both hot and cool in that classic movie way. But what’s interesting is if you imagine that same scene happening in, say, a Tyler Perry movie. It would be horrifying. It’s not as if Ned rapes Matty, it’s clearly consensual, but in a different movie, a man throwing a chair through a window to get inside the house where a woman is alone so he can have sex with her would be super scary. And it would be super scary in real life. I wanted Chris to kiss me pretty badly when we were still just friends, but if he had left my apartment only to turn around and break through the window to climb in and kiss me . . . well things would have been a lot different. But that’s just evidence of good filmmaking. Writer/director Lawrence Kasdan has created a universe for Body Heat where something like Ned breaking into Matty’s house not only is okay, but makes sense.
The pacing of Body Heat is also pretty great, as well as the set design, which made me feel really hot while watching it. Everyone in the movie is always sweating, there’s always a haze of cigarette smoke, people are fanning themselves, rubbing themselves with ice, pointing fans at themselves. I was honestly feeling overheated while watching it. But that was also because I was nervous, another point for Body Heat. I was nervous because Ned and Matty’s murder plot started to unravel, and the more clear it became that they were not going to get away with it, the more nervous I became. Making the audience root for murderers isn’t always easy, but it is in this case. This also further proved to me that I would never be able to commit murder. Not that I thought I could before I saw this movie, but I was getting so nervous just watching Body Heat that the thought of being in a situation remotely similar made me feel sick to my stomach. I would have cracked the second 1981-Ted Danson started to suspect something.
I had actually watched this in high school but had completely forgotten until we started watching it. It’s pretty obvious that I rented this just solely on the fact that I must have known there was nudity and that it was sexy but it’s actually a pretty badass movie! The story is interesting and the actors are great. The only thing I didn’t really like was how bright it was. There are scenes in a diner where you can barely look at the screen it’s so bright.