Although Brandon's sex addiction is the catalyst for the narrative, those explicit scenes (of which there are many) are not titillating or erotic, they are absolutely awful to watch because he is not doing it for pleasure, but as an extension of his inability to feel or develop any sort relationship; sex is intimacy to him and it is a daily need. Even though it is slow-paced and melancholic, exploring a taboo subject with frank detail and realism, the film works better as an analysis of emotional detachment, which is challenged by the arrival of Brandon's equally troubled sister Sissy. We are not told of their background, but considering how damaged they both are and their opposing borderline personalities, it is clear that whatever childhood they had, it was not decent or relatively normal. Brandon is repulsed by Sissy's need for affection and intimacy, without which she self-destructs. It is a dark and moving film at times, but fatally cold by its open ending, which proceeds Brandon's breakdown and realisation of his love for Sissy to have meant nothing. It works, definitely, but is far more interesting to look at than it is to explore in a deeper sense with multiple viewings.