MOVIES

What Does Saltburn Mean? The Steamy Movie’s Not-So-Sexy Title, Explained

“When I heard the name Saltburn, it sounded like a sex injury, but a really nice one, like a sort of sting,” Emerald Fennell explained while chatting with “Access Hollywood.” The filmmaker was joined by one of the film’s stars, Rosamund Pike, and they almost immediately explained how “Saltburn” could be used as a reference to a sexual act. “A pleasurable sting … And I think that’s kind of what the film is really, isn’t it?” Fennell mused. “She gave me Saltburn,” Pike joked before the director responded, “Rosamund, are you ok?’ ‘No, she’s got Saltburn!”

As funny as this exchange is, the actual plot of the movie follows a murderous social climber named Oliver (Barry Keoghan) who ingratiates himself into the life and social circle of his extravagantly wealthy crush, Felix (Jacob Elordi), through a mixture of deception, subterfuge, and manipulation.

Considering how “Saltburn” contains at least three shocking, sexually charged scenes, the title that Fennell selected for the movie makes a lot more sense in this sort of context. And though it may not exactly color the titular coast in the United Kingdom in precisely the way that some of its more conservative residents might prefer, the film’s title — and its notoriety — might lead to a boost in tourism to the area.

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