Free the Nipple DVD Review

     Actors: Lina Esco, Lola Kirke, Casey LaBow
  • Director: Lina Esco
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: June 9, 2015
  • Run Time: 79 minutes



            I took pages of notes watching this movie, marking down all of the particular lines and scenes that irritated me. I could list them all, but I think it is more effective to simply say that this movie changed my stance on the whole “Free the Nipple” campaign which inspired the film. While I was on the fence before, having to endure this dull and contrived hipster film and hearing plenty of bad dialogue and ill-logic in defense of the issue, I can now say that I am absolutely against the cause. This movie is responsible for that, as well as having people like Lena Dunham and unfortunate celebrity offspring Scout Willis and Miley Cyrus as the cause’s advocates. But the worst offense of the film is blatant hypocrisy within the drifting message of the cause. 


            The inspiration for the cause is partially seen to come from a violent attack during a screening of the latest Batman film at a theater in Colorado. They change the name of the city for no understandable reason, but the correlation with real-world events is quite clear. The argument that the characters continue to drive into their message, along with equality, is that American media celebrates violence while shunning sexuality as shameful. While this may be a true statement, you can’t claim that you are fighting a cause to end censorship only to point out something you think should be censored. If you believe there should be more freedom in media’s portrayal of women’s breasts, that same freedom can’t be taken away from the filmmakers you feel are too violent. Censorship can’t be based on personal preferences, and this ridiculous argument poisons any good points that the film’s protagonists may have.


            Another thing that is destroys any chance of this film being effective is the characters involved in the cause. A struggling writer named With (Lina Esco) loses her job after insisting on writing an article about a group of girls streaking topless as a social message about the inequality of public nudity for women compared to men. Liv (Lola Kirke) really should be fighting the police for continually arresting her, because it is actually legal for women to be topless in New York. That would mean that Liv actually had clear direction, but really just seems to enjoy making a big scene so that she can feel like a rebel. Her immediate crush on With, despite the stupid-as-shit name, drags the film down with sequences of weird ulterior motives as Liv attempts to convince the writer to join in and become part of the story. A lot of it just feels like Liv’s creepy advances to see With’s breasts, which is confirmed by an awkward and never resolved kiss between the friends in the third act.


            The arguments are flawed, the characters are obnoxious and entitled, and the acting is often barely passable, but the worst offense of this disaster message film is that it is boring. A movie about exposing breasts should not be dull. Most of the running-time is not filled with breasts, but scenes of whiny rejects from the show “Girls” attempting to file paperwork and deal with permits.


    Making the entire project even more vomit-inducing is the postscript which tells us where all of the activists are now. Nearly every single one of them is an actress. This makes me feel like all of these non-celebrities just wanted to become famous the same way that Miley Cyrus and Lena Dunham have; by exposing more skin than talent. Sometimes less is more. This can be true of clothing, but it is most certainly true of this film. Even with a mere 79-minute running-time, I could have used less.


            The DVD special features only include a trailer. I actually wish there was a featurette, because a documentary would have been infinitely more interesting than watching this poorly made movie.


    Entertainment Value: 3/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10

    Historical Significance:  3/10

    Special Features: 1/10

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