The truth about that bear attack from ‘The Revenant’

12.01.15 2 years ago

Let's be clear about something: no, a bear does not rape Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Revenant.”

Some days, I find myself wondering how certain people are even part of the ongoing conversation about film based on how alarmingly stupid they are, and how much trouble they have deciphering even the easiest of movies. It's not my job to police the internet or to correct every bit of misinformation that's out there, but when you see something truly wrong starting to take hold and spread, it seems like there is a responsibility to speak up and make sure the correct information is on the record somewhere.

For example… no, a bear does not rape Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Revenant.”

Let's look at why I am sure that is not the case. First, I've seen the movie. And while I am still under embargo for a review, I don't think it's a problem for me to say that I have a genuine phobia of bears, and that scene is pretty much permanently seared onto my rods and cones because of how remarkably staged and shot it is. Based on the true story of Hugh Glass and the novel by Michael Punke, one of the key incidents is indeed a horrifying attack on Glass (played by Di Caprio) by a mother bear who believes her cubs are in danger.

Did you catch the key part of that description? It's a mother bear. So when Roger Friedman and the Drudge Report talk about dry humping and bear rape, they are not only wrong, they are insane. In no way whatsoever is any part of the sequence about dry humping or bear rape. Doesn't happen. There's no way to misread the scene that way, either. They are simply wrong. Factually, unambiguously, wildly wrong.

The sequence is astonishing because it feels effortlessly and completely real, and I hope I'm going to be able to talk to the people who put the scene together about how they pulled it off, but I'm reasonably sure that if that conversation happens, I'm not going to bring up bear rape that didn't happen. Now, the bear most assuredly f**ks up Di Caprio's character, but that's not the same thing.

If this was just a case of one outlet getting one detail wrong, that would be easy to ignore, but now that other outlets (starting with The Daily Mail, whose motto is “Facts? Who needs them?”) are picking the story up, it's worth taking a moment to say that there are many traumatic and violent things that happen onscreen in “The Revenant.”

But, no… no. Absolutely not. A bear does not rape Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Revenant.” No matter how many stupid people tell you otherwise.

In the meantime, I think a friend on Twitter got it right when they brought up a movie poster from a few years ago that really brings this entire horrifying conversation into focus:

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“The Revenant” is in theaters Christmas Day.

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