Boasting perhaps her best script (out of several hundred already produced), Nica Noelle's unusual entry in the long-running hit Sweet Sinner series is a must for fans of Victorian porn. The literate dialog, consistently top-notch performances, and sublime blend of story/characters and XXX content make for a memorable experience.
Of course, modern Adult audiences have little to no interest in this sort of material, having abandoned narrative Adult Cinema in favor of all-sex vignettes in recent years. But what is amazing here is that Nica ignored the audience in favor of following her own creative bent, and the result is timeless.
Dramatic story covers several themes near to the auteur's heart, as evidenced by casting herself in a key supporting role (she also appears in the next volume of the series, but that one is more standard, contemporary material).
Julia Ann stars in one of her most sensitive and shaded performances as a courtesan named Julia, best friends with Miss Noelle, and smitten by her now grown-up son Xander (Xander Corvus, avoiding most of his mannerisms to turn in a strong lead turn). Story is set about 100 years ago, and benefits from styling, costumes and interior settings that are authentically believable.
Miss Noelle is worried about her son's maturation, and agrees to let him stay with Julia for a month, as she promises to help him grow emotionally under her wing. The fact that she is a high-class prostitute of the era gives Noelle pause, but she agrees anyway.
Of course, the May-December romance we expect blossoms into full XXX action, but without the expected consequences. Instead, Noelle pacts with another friend Magdalene St. Michaels (guesting in a non-sex role) to arrange Xander's marriage to Maggie's beautiful virgin daughter Lily (Lily LaBeau, as pretty as a picture).
Noelle has an excellent, subtly played drunk scene, wherein she seduces Xander's best friend Danny (Danny Wylde, also well-directed to avoid his usual "slow talk" screen tics) in a hot but naturalistic sex scene. Xander's month-after-wedding consummation of his marriage with Lily is a surprising rough-sex bout, as the neglected young wife actually demands sex and gets tough love as a result (and loves it!).
Finale is extremely well-calibrated by Nica, who has several tricks still up her sleeve. Manuel Ferrara is perfectly cast as an old lover of Julia's, who has a torrid roll in the sack with her (both starting off dressed to the nines in formal wear) before popping the question. The still active triangle involving him, Julia and Xander is resolved in a touching and surprise fashion, making for a brilliant ending.
This is very highly recommended to both followers of Nica's work as well as die-hard fans of Couples Romances who are open to something a bit different. Its failure to adhere to the clichés and assumed preferences of a wide Adult audience proves to be its strength.
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