In the movie The Talented Mr.Ripley, is Dickie gay?

They show Tom to be attracted to male folk more than the women in the movie. They also show Tom sexually interested in Dickie. Dickie seems to be leading Tom on in that scene where they play chess in the bathtub. Dickie otherwise seems to be committed to Marge and plans on marrying her. There is no real gain for Dickie to be leading Tom on.

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    What makes you think he is? There was nothing to suggest that. It is only Tom's obsession with him that borders homosexuality (and is later much clearer in his relationship with Peter), one that Dickie certainly doesn't share. (As a side note, as much as I know Tom's homosexuality was also far less explicit, if even existent, in the source novel, or the Alain Delon version from the 60s for that matter.) – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '15 at 14:27
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    wouldn't a straight guy avoid sitting in the nude in a tub playing chess with another guy in a bathroom? It's just that one scene that made me wonder what it was about. – John Jun 12 '15 at 14:39
  • Well, depends mostly on your levels of security around friends and fellow men, as well as cultural upbringing (but granted, he's originally an American, though lately detached from his prude heritage). But I don't remember the scene right now anyway. Interesting question nevertheless. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '15 at 14:43
  • @Tivep: Not being shy about being nude in the presence of same-sex others and being homo- (or bi-) sexual are very different things. Think nudists. – DevSolar Aug 11 '15 at 16:12

Dickie is a narcissist, he likes the attention even though he would never have romantic feelings for Tom. Dickie leads Tom along to feed his own ego. Marge says it best "The thing with Dickie... it's like the sun shines on you, and it's glorious. And then he forgets you and it's very, very cold."

Nudity is sexualized in America more than anywhere else. Being naked alone doesn't indicate sexual interest unless you would say every man who's ever been naked in front of another man in a locker room is expressing sexual desire.

Dickie's true feelings are more clearly expressed when he catches Tom dancing around in his clothes. He's clearly uncomfortable and asks Tom to change out of them in the other room.


In the tub scene, when Tom wants to get in Dickie almost throws up in his mouth and sternly says no. Only after recognizing that Dickie wasn't down for the get down does Tom then say "I didn't mean with you in it." Dickie then relaxes and gets out, however he swats his towel at Tom as a way to break the tension I think by letting Tom know everything was still okay, like no biggie bro.


The real question is: is Dickie aware of Tom's homoerotic lust? As a gay man, I found the whole premise of Tom, the non-rich outsider, a metaphor for being a gay man in the 50s...the ultimate outsider desperate to belong.

Because we live in an essentially homophobic (albeit improving) culture...we even have this question regarding Dickie's sexuality. A real life Dickie would likely be sexually adventurous and have numerous sexual partners of all genders...he would fight a "label" and in the late 50s especially the gay culture was into plenty of gender role playing...so neither Tom nor Dickie are necessarily "gay" - Tom's appetite for Dickie's life that it includes a desire to consume him sexually or otherwise...


In that scene, Tom asks to get in the tub and Dickie gets weirded out and gets out of the tub so I do not think Dickie was gay or had any feelings of that sort towards Tom.

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    Can you elaborate further? – MattD Jul 12 '15 at 2:33

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