- Fuck (2005) movie review: Featuring assorted U.S. celebrities from the realms of film, music, literature, adult entertainment, etc., Steve Anderson’s conventionally packaged, occasionally perceptive, and moderately entertaining documentary uses the titular word to tackle the thorny issue of free speech in the United States.
Fuck documentary review: U.S. celebrities of various stripes discuss the reasoning for & the power of ‘offensive’ language
Birds do it, but don’t sing it. Bees do it, but don’t buzz it. Humans do it, but should they be allowed to say it?
Although centered on one of the most offensive, most convenient, and most widely used words in the English language, Steve Anderson’s documentary Fuck is an occasionally perceptive – even if narrow in scope and conventionally put together – examination of freedom of speech in the United States.
So, should the concept of freedom of speech, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, also be applied to “offensive speech” – whether written, oral, or visual?
And what exactly distinguishes “offensive” (but protected) speech from obscene (and therefore unprotected) speech? Arbitrary and oftentimes contradictory mores and customs? Personal and/or sociopolitical prejudices? Generalized social hypocrisy?
Fuck doesn’t provide in-depth answers to any of these questions. But along the way, you’ll see and hear numerous talking heads discuss the history, the symbolic value, and the myriad meanings and grammatical forms of the documentary’s multifaceted titular word – in addition to related issues in which sex and sexuality inevitably play a crucial role.
Among the interviewees are television producer Steven Bochco; filmmaker Kevin Smith; former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee; adult film stars Tera Patrick and Ron Jeremy; singers Alanis Morissette and Pat Boone; and recently deceased author Hunter S. Thompson, to whom the documentary is dedicated.
Among those seen in archive footage as examples of perceived attacks on American society and its morals are the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. We also learn that Robert Altman’s 1970 smash hit MASH marked the first time the word was uttered in a U.S.-made, big-studio motion picture.
Pat Boone warning
Now, if the word fuck offends you, you might want to stay away from Anderson’s documentary, as it’s used freely throughout.
And a warning to fans of the April Love and Bernardine star: After watching Fuck, you’ll never see – or say – Pat Boone the same way again.
Director: Steve Anderson.
Interviewees: Steven Bochco. Pat Boone. Ben Bradlee. Janeane Garofalo. Ron Jeremy. Alanis Morissette. Tera Patrick. Kevin Smith. Drew Carey. Billy Connolly. Chuck D. Ice-T. Alan Keyes. Sam Donaldson. Dave Marsh. Evan Seinfeld. Hunter S. Thompson. Bill Maher.
“Fuck Documentary” endnotes
Fuck movie poster: THINKFilm.
“Fuck Documentary: Should ‘Offensive’ Language Be Protected?” last updated in September 2021.