'Love': Netflix Movie Trends As TikTok Users React to Unsimulated Sex Scene

When Gaspar Noe's Love was first released in 2015, it was met with mostly negative reviews and a worldwide box office gross of under $900,000. Now, however, the movie has shot to number six in the overall U.S. Netflix charts and fourth in the movie rankings, despite having been on the streaming service for over four years.

The main reason for this seems to be two-fold. The first reason why this obscure arthouse movie is doing so well is that it is one of the recommendations that come up when Netflix users search for 365 Dni, the Polish erotic thriller that has made headlines across the globe due to its graphic sex scenes.

In many ways, the sex scenes in Love are even more explicit than those in 365 Dni. While viewers who are enjoying the fast-paced mafia drama of the Polish film are likely to find Love very slow and ponderous, what the movie does have is scenes of unsimulated sex. This includes a shot of a penis that seems to be filmed from the inside of a vagina—something that was particularly eye-popping when you think the movie was released in 3D when it was in theatres.

love netflix movie
'Love' is currently the fourth most-watched movie on Netflix Netflix

The unsimulated sex of Love starts right with the opening shot (pun intended), which sees a character masturbate her male lover to the point of ejaculation, with the camera capturing everything from above. It is this scene, in fact, that is the second reason for the movie's sudden popularity.

This week, users of social media platform TikTok have been setting each other a challenge where they have to watch this opening scene and film their reaction. For example, one reaction video to this masturbation scene sees a woman say: "That's a real penis. How is that allowed on Netflix!" and "how is this a movie?!"

@ashleyelizabethsp

Watch the movie LOVE on @netflix and record your reaction! First scene... 😂😂😂 #fyp #reactions #DontLeaveMe #DontLeaveMe

♬ original sound - ashleyelizabethsp

The shocked reactions from Americans at seeing a real penis in a movie are exactly what director Noe was trying to comment on when he made the movie. He told Variety: "When I went to the promotion of Love in America, I got the most stupid questions. Even good film critics were asking me, 'Why did you need to show a penis in your movie? Why do you need to show the face of the devil?'

"Come on! I have a penis. The guys who were asking me those questions have a penis. Why is it in American culture, the penis is the face of all evil in this world? If your dad didn't have one and didn't use it with your mom, you wouldn't be here."

Speaking to the Irish Examiner about the opening scene of Love, Noe said the opening scene was around 70 percent real semen—although the moment at which it flies directly at the audience was faked.

He said of this scene: "It's more like a joke rather than creating a scandal. I wanted to have fun, to play with the audience."

Actor Karl Glusman, meanwhile, said of filming the movie: "Gaspar had decided to start with a close up of my genitals... I was in the bathroom thinking I should run to the airport and go back to the States."

Love is streaming now on Netflix.