In many ways, Kate Winslet is a perfect study in contrasts.
After all, her fans know her as a British acting legend of the silver screen. She has headlined one of the most popular films of all time, but she also knows how to be the standout star of any given indie production.
This poised and proper Brit, however, isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with some love scenes that leave audiences squirming. Don’t believe it? Keep reading to discover Kate Winslet’s most controversial love scenes!
Compared to some of Winslet’s larger productions, the 1999 movie Holy Smoke is downright intimate. In it, Winslet plays a young backpacker who falls in with a cult in India. Her parents send a cult deprogrammer played by Harvey Keitel to save her, but she ends up catching major feelings for him.
The end result is some very hot action between Winslet and Keitel. Neither actor holds back here, and Winslet shows she is willing to go the extra mile when she believes in the overall integrity of the movie.
When Kate Winslet starred in Quills, a 2000 movie focusing on the infamous Marquis de Sade, fans initially thought her character and de Sade’s character would be more of an item. Instead, they have a different kind of relationship: she is a humble washerwoman at the Charenton hospital, and an older de Sade, played by Geoffrey Rush, is a resident there who uses her to help smuggle out his writings for publication when he’s not doing his best to creepily flirt.
In terms of more explicit love scenes, we get most of our steaminess from the forbidden relationship Winslet’s character forges with a priest played by Joaquin Phoenix. Given the spicy scenes in question and the general themes of the narrative, this film cemented that Winslet wasn’t afraid to tackle challenging roles head-on.
In some ways, the 2008 movie The Reader is one of Winslet’s most controversial productions. First, the character she plays is a former SS guard, meaning that audiences are asked to root for a literal Nazi. Second, her character has many steamy scenes with a 15-year-old character who was played by an actual 18-year-old actor.
Is it wrong? Well… probably. But it’s also difficult to deny the raw erotic power that an unashamed Winslet has in all the scenes with her much younger actor, and that erotic power helps carry what is otherwise one of her weaker movies. It also led Winslet to win her first Oscar for Best Actress.
Any discussion of steamy love scenes with Kate Winslet must begin with her 1997 breakout hit Titanic. And we do mean “steamy,” as she ends up in a hot love scene with Leonardo DiCaprio in the backseat of a vintage automobile.
The scene probably wouldn’t have been so effective if Winslet didn’t have such a great rapport with DiCaprio. And the scene in question is so powerful that it served as a sexual awakening for fans all across the world!
The 2001 movie Iris is a biopic in which Winslet plays Iris Murdoch, the British novelist and philosopher, in her youth. The film depicts her relationship with British writer John Bayley through various stages of their lives.
Interestingly, this movie walks the fine line between desire and intimacy. Watching the scenes where Winsley skinny dips with her fellow actor Hugh Bonneville, it’s difficult to not be impressed at how fearless she is in bringing this story to life.
The Mountain Between Us
While Kate Winslet is most definitely the object of many people’s fantasies, the 2017 movie The Mountain Between Us let her play out everyone else’s fantasy: acting alongside a scantily-clad Idris Elba. The two play strangers who end up hooking up after a plane crash.
While Elba has a well-earned reputation for roles where he is a take-charge tough guy, he didn’t have much experience with onscreen love scenes. Winslet, as a veteran of onscreen lovemaking, had to show Elba the ropes to help them get through production!
While Kate Winslet is no stranger to onscreen love scenes, the 2008 movie Revolutionary Road really tested her limits. On one hand, she got to reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio and film even more sex scenes together, which is something that should have been easy. But the movie was directed by her then-husband Sam Mendes, so she had to act out wild sex scenes with another man while her husband watched.
Leonardo DiCaprio actually helped reassure Winslet to get her through their scenes together, and the final product is a very interesting movie. At the very least, it’s worth watching if you ever found yourself frequently rewinding to the car scene in Titanic.
The 2021 movie Ammonite showed that Kate Winslet is still ready to deliver onscreen love scenes. However, there was a twist: Winslet’s character is in love with another woman, Saoirse Ronan, meaning that Winslet had to film sex scenes as she never had before.
However, director Francis Lee was more nervous than Winslet about making these scenes work. So Winslet and Ronan were largely left to their own devices in coming up with love scenes that were both realistic and really hot. The final product is one that Winslet is very proud of, and we must agree with her assessment!