Leaving Las Vegas  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 romantic drama film about a relationship between a suicidal alcoholic and a prostitute from Las Vegas, starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, respectively. The film was directed and written by Mike Figgis, based on a semi-autobiographical novel by John O'Brien. Two weeks after the production of the film had started, O'Brien committed suicide. A halt of the project was considered, but work on the film was continued as a memorial of sorts.


Ben Sanderson is a Hollywood screenwriter whose alcoholism costs him his job, family, and friends. With nothing left to live for, and a sizable severance check from his boss, he heads to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. One early morning, he drives drunkenly from his Los Angeles home down to the Las Vegas Strip; he nearly hits a woman, Sera, on the crosswalk. She chastises him and walks away.

Sera is a prostitute working for an abusive Latvian pimp, Yuri Butsov. Polish mobsters are after Yuri, so he ends his relationship with Sera in fear that the Poles may hurt her. On his second day in Las Vegas, Ben goes looking for Sera, introduces himself and offers her $500 to come to his room for an hour. Sera agrees, but Ben does not want sex. Instead, they talk and develop a rapport; Sera invites Ben to move into her apartment. Ben instructs Sera never to ask him to stop drinking. Sera asks Ben not to criticize her occupation, and he agrees.

At first, the pair are happy, but soon become frustrated with the other's behavior. Sera begs Ben to see a doctor, which makes him furious. While Sera is out working, Ben goes to a casino and returns with another prostitute. Sera returns to find them in her bed and throws Ben out. Shortly afterward, Sera is approached by three college students at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. She initially rejects their offer by stating that she only "dates" one at a time, but eventually acquiesces when she is offered an increased price. When she enters their hotel room, the students change the deal and demand anal sex, which she refuses. When she attempts to leave, they violently gang-rape her.

The next morning, Sera is spotted by her landlady returning home bruised and is evicted. Sera receives a call from Ben, who is on his deathbed. Sera visits Ben, and the two make love. He dies shortly thereafter. Later, Sera explains to her therapist that she accepted Ben for who he was and loved him.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Leaving Las Vegas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools