Female Perversions

Female Perversions is a 1996 erotic drama film directed by Susan Streitfeld (in her feature directorial debut), based on the 1991 book Female Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary by American psychoanalyst Louise J. Kaplan. It stars Tilda Swinton, Amy Madigan, Karen Sillas, Frances Fisher, Laila Robins, Paulina Porizkova, and Clancy Brown. Aspects of female psychology, particularly the more morbid, are explored through the interactions of the characters and through their fantasies.

Female Perversions
Female Perversions film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySusan Streitfeld
Screenplay by
Based onFemale Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary
by Louise J. Kaplan
Produced byMindy Affrime
CinematographyTeresa Medina
Edited by
  • Curtiss Clayton
  • Leo Trombetta
Music byDebbie Wiseman
  • Trans Atlantic Entertainment
  • ARD Degeto Film
  • Starhaus Filmproduktion
Distributed byOctober Films
Release date
  • 22 January 1996 (1996-01-22) (Sundance)
  • 21 November 1996 (1996-11-21) (Germany)
  • 25 April 1997 (1997-04-25) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes
  • United States
  • Germany
Box office$926,954[1]


Eve Stephens, a successful trial attorney in Los Angeles, is close to the high point of her career, which is being appointed as a judge. Her private life is less successful, however. She has occasional intense sex, sometimes with a male geologist John and sometimes with a female psychiatrist Renee, but the relationships lack warmth or commitment on her part. She is troubled by erotic nightmares and by flashbacks to the lives of her parents, centering on her unfeeling father and the suspicious death of her mother.

Both her professional and personal lives start unravelling when her intelligent but disturbed sister Maddie, who lives in a desert cabin, is arrested for repeated shoplifting. In the end, the two sisters begin to recognise the malignant influence of their parents on their lives and the unsatisfactory responses they unconsciously adopted, one seeking compensation in stealing and the other in sex.



The film was rated 3.5 out of 4 stars by Roger Ebert,[2] 4 out of 5 stars by The Austin Chronicle[3] and 3 out of 5 stars by Empire magazine.[4] Entertainment Weekly gave it a C grade.[5]


  1. ^ "Female Perversions (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Review by Roger Ebert, accessed February 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Review by The Austin Chronicle, accessed February 15, 2021.
  4. ^ Review by Empire, accessed February 15, 2021.
  5. ^ Review by Entertainment Weekly, accessed February 15, 2021.

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