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Sex and Breakfast (2007)
This Was A Great Concept, But...
I must say the concept of this movie was a very interesting one: Two couples try to save their foundering relationships by trying group sex. The whole wife-swapping/group sex idea has been floating around the sex therapy community for decades, but with no definitive results. But it always makes for interesting and titillating entertainment in movies, even TV shows (think "Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice" from the early '70s). So, I was curious to check out this relatively new take on the genre.
Macaulay Culkin (all grown up) and Alexis Dziena (of "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist" fame) are James and Heather, two young lovers whose relationship started out strong, with James in particular believing he had found the love of his life. But apparently love is not enough, as Heather's inability to experience orgasm with him builds a huge wall between them.
Ellis and Renee, (played by popular Mexican TV actor Kuno Becker and my personal favorite hottie, Eliza Dushku) on the other hand, are a couple who've been together so long that things have started to get a little too routine. In particular, the sexually adventurous Renee is looking to try something a little different, maybe a little girl-girl action with the waitress at their favorite diner...
Realizing they have problems, the couples separately attend a seminar hosted by a sex therapist whose claim to fame is group sex therapy. So it is that these two couples wind up together. I think this movie would have been better if they had immediately gotten to the therapy and explored the results a little more. As it stands, they only had one session together toward the end of the movie; and afterward, they didn't really do much with what, if anything, they learned. This movie spent too much time on the wind-up, giving us glimpses into their personal situations leading up to the big event, while not leaving enough time to experiment; one session, with all of the angst and apprehension you would expect in this situation (and there was plenty), would not be enough to truly benefit both couples. Hell, if your gonna' sign on to this concept of group sex therapy, why not give it a real chance to work? The problem is, in the end I don't think writer/director Miles Brandman ever really signed on.
In that sense, this movie was a disappointment. That said, I thought these young actors did a fantastic job with what they had. Culkin and Dziena played the couple that seemed to have the bigger relationship issues, and they both rose to this challenge. Eliza Dushku's performance really stood out to me because Renee seemed to be the most complicated of the characters. Dushku always plays the girl you wish was your girlfriend, but with a very edgy attitude. All in all very good performances, but they needed a little more to work with in order to make this a really good film.
Therese and Isabelle (1968)
Totally Worth It...Even If You Aren't a Lesbian
I must admit, when I read the description of the genre on Netflix as "Steamy Romance" I was a little bit skeptical. "Steamy"? In a movie from 1968?? I was prepared for disappointment. And when I realized it was shot entirely in black & white, I knew my erotic hopes were dashed.
Boy, was I wrong! Not only does this film have all of the elements of a steamy romance -- the discovery of first love, fear of the secret being found out, a sudden unexpected end -- but at times this movie was downright erotic. You will soon forget that it is shot in black & white. The cinematography deserves every accolade it has received over the years. And the performances from the two stars (Essy Persson and Anna Gael) are intense and memorable. OK, so they're both in their mid twenties trying to play school girls. It's 1968. Do you really expect teenagers from the '60s to be able to effectively explore a lesbian love story like this? Many adult women were still trying to come to grips with their sexuality back then. Anyone looking for real teens here is expecting too much.
I think this movie was way ahead of its time. The level of eroticism was an unexpected pleasure; yet it still managed to leave a lot to the imagination, opting instead to give us poetic descriptions to add to what we were shown.
I have no doubt lesbians will identify with the characters here. As for you straight guys who love watching lesbians in action: Although it won't be all you expect, I don't think you'll be too, too disappointed.