While many streamers lusted over Normal People and Bridgerton in 2020, the underground horny hit for true heads was a mysterious foreign film called 365 Days.
Seemingly by word of mouth alone, the Polish film (previously titled 365 dni) crept to Netflix's Top 10 and stayed there for quite a while in 2020.
Per Variety, Netflix has greenlit not one but two sequels to 365 Days that are now in production—and notes that the streamer will likely be more involved with the sequels now that they are being commissioned, as opposed to the original 365 Days, which was an acquisition.
The film is based on the first of three erotic novels by Blanka Lipińska. Michele Morrone and Anna-Maria Sieklucka are both returning as Massimo and Laura, the lovers at the center of the film. Magdalena Lamparska and Otar Saralidze are also returning as Olga and Dominico, respectively.
Joining the cast for the sequels is model Simone Susinna. He is playing a character named Nacho, who in the books is a rival for Laura's affections. (Cue a lot of bad "what do you call a man that's not yours" jokes.)
If you missed the first one, or purposefully avoided it, 365 Days is about a man who kidnaps a woman and gives her one year to fall in love with him.
There was a good amount of backlash to the film's depiction of sexual violence, and the assertion from many critics that it eroticizes rape culture, manipulation, and Stockholm syndrome. That did not stop Netflix from promoting the film on its platform, nor did it stop them from going ahead with two sequels.
This isn't a new phenomenon, unfortunately. The film and the book trilogy that inspired it is oft compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, which was also subject to criticism for the way it portrays BDSM play and relationship power dynamics, but that didn't stop it from achieving massive success and multiple sequels.
The inspiration for Fifty Shades, Twilight, also faced scrutiny for fantasizing problematic behaviors in a relationship.
One can only hope that a benefit to Netflix's involvement in the second and third installment can be kinky and not vanilla without romanticizing abuse—which is entirely possible, as romance and erotica writers will line up around the block to tell you. The suspension of disbelief doesn't have to overlap with the suspension of consent.
On the production side, pessimistically, this seems like an indication that Netflix as a studio cares more about its Top 10 stats than reviews, reception, or even the message they're sending to our living rooms.
365 Days was also nominated for multiple Razzie awards. On the other hand... that's not necessarily a bad thing in every case.
Those among us who care more about audience scores than critical scores might find a silver lining here. Maybe.
What do you think?