Cary Elwes’ most controversial movie, The Crush, is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Films like Kevin Spacey’s American Beauty and Lolita both depict older men with inappropriate obsessions about younger girls, but one film depicts the reverse. Cary Elwes’ The Crush became famous for its controversial depiction of a young girl obsessed with an older man. Starring Cary Elwes and Alicia Silverstone, The Crush is now available to stream on Amazon.
The Crush stars Cary Elwes and Alicia Silverstone in her breakout role. Elwes stars as a young journalist named Nick Eliot who becomes the object of obsession of a 14-year-old girl named Adrian (Silverstone). When Adrian’s obsession shifts from a schoolyard crush to something more nefarious, her relentless hounding starts to impact Nick’s relationships and overall well-being.
Directed by Alan Shapiro, The Crush is considered controversial because of its depiction of an underage person’s sexual obsession with an adult. Many critics believe that the film’s portrayal of the obsession between Cary Elwes and Alicia Silverstone was exploitative, normalized inappropriate relationships between minors and adults, and encouraged pedophilia.
The relationship dynamics in The Crush are interesting in that they are a shift in what is often portrayed in these kinds of inappropriate relationships. Films like the aforementioned Lolita and American Beauty depicted older men pursuing younger women. The Crush flipped this script and had Silverstone’s Adrian pursuing Cary Elwes’ older character Nick.
Although a shift in the expected relationship dynamics, The Crush still portrays Adrian as a violent, malicious sexual predator who continues her pursuit of Nick even despite his repeated rejections. Adrian is given strong sexual and violent desires that are usually attributed to older male characters in movies where the dynamic is reversed. Cast members like Cary Elwes himself have since expressed discomfort with this element of the movie, especially given that the real-life Alicia Silverstone was only 16 at the time of filming.
Another controversial element of Cary Elwes’ The Crush involves director and screenwriter Alan Shapiro. Shapiro was actually sued by a Los Angeles family that alleged that the film was based on their daughter and their experiences when Shapiro was a tenant in their guest house in 1982. While promoting the film, Shapiro had mentioned that the screenplay was based on an experience that he’d had, and there are indeed a number of similarities between the film and real life.
Similarities between the film and reality are that Silverstone’s character shared their daughter’s first name Darian (later changed to Adrian in later releases) and that Elwes’ character also rents a guest house from Darian’s parents. This eventually was settled outside of court, and led Shapiro to change the name of Alicia Silverstone’s character in the film after its release. After working with Cary Elwes and Alicia Silverstone on The Crush, Shapiro went on to direct the drama Flipper starring another teenager who would soon become a Hollywood icon, Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring fame.
The Crush debuted in theatres on April 2, 1993. Although critics lauded Alicia Silverstone’s performance, they were more lukewarm on Cary Elwes, and divided about the controversial plot and thematic elements that the movie explores. Despite the controversy, The Crush performed relatively well at the box office, grossing over $13 million.
Alicia Silverstone’s performance in The Crush alongside Cary Elwes was critically acclaimed and was even more impressive given it was her film debut. Silverstone went on to film what would be her career-defining role as Cher Horowitz in 1995’s Clueless just a couple of years later. She also made appearances in films like Batman & Robin, Blast from the Past, and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Cary Elwes has a diverse filmography that spans over three decades. Before The Crush, Elwes rose to fame with his starring role as Westley in the 1987 classic The Princess Bride and as the titular Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. After The Crush, Elwes would go on to appear in films like Liar Liar and Saw, and make appearances on several television shows like The X-Files, Psych, and Stranger Things.
Cary Elwes’ role in The Crush remains one of the more controversial that he’s taken on because of its depiction of an inappropriate and exploitative obsession between a minor and an adult. The film sparked numerous conversations about the role of the media, television, and film in promoting the hypersexualization of young girls, and how it impacts young girl viewers and society as a whole. For those interested in the controversy, it is available to stream on Amazon.