A political blog I read brought up the mainstream comedy / drama film "Rambling Rose" as an example of the double standard around depictions of adult/child sex when it's a grown woman with an underaged boy, as compared to vice-versa.
The film is somewhat notorious for a sex scene between Laura Dern, then 24, playing 19, and Lukas Haas, then 14, playing 13, and looking more like 12. Dern's character doesn't seduce Haas's - he is shown as eagerly instigating it while she is puzzled and skeptical that he'd even know what to do.
(Possible TRIGGERS: Haas prolongedly gropes Dern's breasts - for real, though mostly hidden by a blanket. He then simulates fingering her while she very realistically simulates orgasm).
Now.... with real people in real life, in and of itself, I don't think such interactions, if desired at the time and not regretted / pathological later, count as abuse - though they do contribute to the "lucky dog" cultural conceit.
But what makes the whole matter vastly more creepy is the attitude of the filmmakers. Because this isn't a boy with a woman, it's a boy ACTOR:
When director Martha Coolidge made the offbeat comedy-drama Rambling Rose, the production company had a lot of questions about how she was going to handle a key scene with a 14-year-old boy in bed with a sexually ablaze woman of 19. Executives at Carolco, the movie company, worried about how much of the intimacy between these characters would be shown.
Tending on the side of discreet suggestion, Coolidge handles that moment of forbidden contact between actors Laura Dern and Lukas Haas with delicacy and wisdom. The filmgoer knows exactly what is going on from the actors` facial expressions, protests, moans and covert actions...
The innocence of Haas, 14, was a prime concern of the filmmakers, though Coolidge adds, ``He`s a pretty sophisticated boy, though not an experienced young man. But he`s a smart guy who has been to a lot of movies. Lukas was sort of the perfect age to play the part of Buddy. It was important not to have a child, because the scene would have been unpleasant. It was also important not to have a man, because the scene would have meant something else.``
Capitalizing on the actor`s curiosity about sex, Coolidge says, ``Lukas knows that acting is living. He has made 25 movies. His great gift in Rambling Rose is that he shared something important, his first experience with sex, with the audience. Yet the whole scene is an illusion, except when he touches Laura`s breasts.``
Now that... THAT is creepy. That strikes me as sexual exploitation - specifically wanting the performance of the onscreen boy to be more passionate or wherever because it really was Haas's first time getting to second base, and the viewers are "sharing that" with him. That just reads all kinds of wrong. Haas later said in an interview that while in a way he was proud to be seen as not just an innocent little boy anymore, the scene had been very difficult to shoot and he'd just wanted to get it over with.
And when you think of what a boy feels the first time he's doing that, but now with him knowing he's being watched and filmed and judged, expected to control himself and go only from A to B and no further - show himself liking it but not TOO MUCH, and remaining poised and hitting his lines... yeah, I'll just bet he wanted the whole thing done with.
Am I over analyzing this or was this legitimately Hollywood crossing a line?
(Compare to the film "Milk Money," where young boys pay for a hooker and giggle a lot but are never once shown touching her.)