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Rate It X (1986)

A portrait of the various forms of male sexism existing in contemporary American society.


Paula De Koenigsberg (as Paula de Koenigsberg), Lucy Winer


Claudette Charbonneau (idea)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Lucy Winer Lucy Winer ... Herself / Interviewer


A portrait of the various forms of male sexism existing in contemporary American society.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

22 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Laguna Beach, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Channel Four See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


References Real People (1979) See more »


Rate It X
(theme song)
Lyrics and Music by Elizabeth Swados
Vocals by William Parry
Piano, Synthesizer, Accoustic Guitar, Toys by Jeff Waxman
Accoustic Guitar, Harmonica by Marc Ribot
Bass by Seth Glassman
Drums by David Sawyer
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User Reviews

Worthless schlockumentary
31 January 2003 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

'Rate It X' is a documentary of very slight entertainment value and no educational value. I get the impression that the film-makers said to each other: 'Let's make a low-budget movie, because we can't afford to do anything bigger. Let's make it about sex, so it will be sure to get distribution. And let's make it a documentary, so we can pretend we're making an educational movie to enlighten people, instead of a cheap piece of exploitational schlock.' The film-makers keep trying to convince us that this movie has something deeply important to say about the sex industry, but all it does is snigger at people who express their sexual interests. (Or who make money by indulging other people's sexual interests.) Also, the film-makers seem to be implying that Americans are fixated on sex, more so than other cultures ... when in fact the only difference is that Americans have the time and money to indulge their sexual tastes, whilst people in other cultures aren't always so fortunate.

This movie features on-camera interviews with a few random people on the periphery of the sex industry, including an erotic baker (who makes cakes shaped like pudenda and gonads) and Ugly George, a guy who walks around with a vidcam asking attractive women to take their clothes off. The film-makers clearly want us to laugh at these people, but there's nothing funny happening here.

The anti-male prejudice of the two (female) film-makers is blatant. All the men in this film are depicted as perverted or pathetic, or both, whilst the women here are universally treated as victims of male exploitation. The film-makers neglect to mention that the sex industry is the only one in which female employees are consistently paid more than males.

Even the format of this documentary is offensive. Co-director Lucy Winer conducts on-camera interviews without actually appearing on-camera: all we see of her is one hand in a dainty white glove, fastidiously holding a microphone at arm's length at the edge of the camera frame while the rest of her body is offscreen, trying to keep as far away from the interviewee as possible. It's clear that Winer and her collaborator Paula De Koenigsberg have nothing but contempt for the subjects they interview here.

Worse luck, the soundtrack is polluted by a title song: 'Rate It X', a vaguely country-western ditty written by the grossly untalented Liz Swados.

If the film-makers had been honest, they could have used this film to raise some intelligent questions about their subject. For instance: why is erotica considered positive and affirming and empowering when it's intended to arouse women, but treated as filthy and perverted when it's intended to arouse men? You won't encounter any intelligent questions or honest answers anywhere in 'Rate It X'. I'll rate this useless movie one point out of 10.

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