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Remembering cinema’s most charming rom-com: The Silence Of The Lambs

Many of the most horrifying parts of The Silence Of The Lambs are in its quiet sexual insinuations, particularly the way Clarice Starling is eyed by other men and the flirtatious repartee she builds with Hannibal Lecter. While many horror movies derive their power by investigating the interplay between violence and sex, a trailer edit of Jonathan Demme’s 1991 classic dices and reassembles the movie into a rom-com so convincing, it seems like it could’ve actually been the movie.

Of course, you have to cut out Buffalo Bill and a whole bunch of people being eaten, but much of the set-up of the original movie works perfectly here. Jodie Foster’s a spunky ingenue tasked with her biggest challenge, getting into the mind of a grumpy, almost avuncular figure who seems to see through her polished exterior to the real woman underneath. Despite all the odds, professional and personal, the two break through to a new understanding of each other—and themselves. It almost works as an alternate reading of the film, like one of those “describe a movie poorly” jokes making the round lately.

That one of the greatest monsters in cinematic history could just as easily be a lovable curmudgeon played by Hugh Grant probably says something trenchant about the way Hollywood packages its conventional male-female romantic stories. But it also underlines just how devastatingly subversive The Silence Of The Lambs still is.

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