Living among fusty academics, an unusual young man gets between a high school history teacher and his wife.
Release Year: 2004
Rating: 5.4/10 (1,032 voted)
Stars: Frances O'Connor, Simon Baker, Gregory Smith
A young couple, Elaine Walker and David Walker, meet a lonely 15-year-old named Chet Becker in an ice-cream shop, and they become friends. Chet has a crush on Elaine and they have a one-night stand. Elaine tells about her infidelity to David, and their life is affected by the affair.
Bryce Dallas Howard
(as Joanna P. Adler)
(as CJ Aker)
When good people do bad things.
Official site |
Release Date: 3 Jan 2004
Filming Locations: Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
(Sundance Film Festival)
[after Chet has kissed Elaine]
DAVID! No I won't… DAVID! God nothing wakes him when he's been drinking… not the telephone, earthquakes, car alarm, thunder, fire engines at 3 AM…
When I was a little boy, I couldn't fall asleep unless my mom had said "goodnight" an even number of times… twice "goodnight goodnight" or four times "goodnight goodnight goodnight goodnight". Sometimes as a joke, my dad would throw an extra one in and my mom would have to say "goodnight" again to even it out.
The ice cream…
Ménage a Trois, but on whose terms?
If three can play at love, and if that love is an equilateral triangle,
then each of the three is equally responsible for the ramifications.
Were that the case in this little low budget Indie film BOOK OF LOVE
the story would have more resonance. But art imitates life and life is
full of contradictions and double standards and that is what seems to
writer/director Alan Brown seems out to show us.
David (Simon Baker) is a popular history teacher in a private girl's
school in New Jersey and is blissfully married to Elaine (Frances
O'Connor) who is an Events Planner and thrives on her time with her
husband, wanting to delay having children for 'at least ten years' in
lieu of an exciting marital sex life. Into this radiantly alive
couple's life enters a young fifteen-year-old highschool student and
swimmer Chet (Gregory Smith) who happens to meet them in an ice cream
parlour and immediately feels a warmth for the two of them. The feeling
is mutual, especially and David and Elaine learn that Chet has no
strong family ties, has never even been into Manhattan much less to
Disney World, a place Chet covets.
David and Elaine invite Chet into their home and lives, dining with
him, taking him to a club in Manhattan (a place where Elaine takes the
stage to sing with her lesbian friend entertainer), involving him in
talks about Cambodian history and philosophy, etc. As an aside, their
lesbian couple friends approach David to be the sperm donor for a child
and Elaine and David agree to their request. David, Elaine and Chet
appear to be a most happy trio until Chet makes physical advances to
Elaine, advances which Elaine initially gently rebuffs but
simultaneously feels awakened sensual responses to this young virginal
lad. Chet finds it difficult to separate his love for the couple and
his corporeal desires and ultimately Chet and Elaine have a sexual
Elaine confesses her indiscretion to David, allows him his initial
pain, and then is surprised at David's forgiveness and immediate
physical response to her. Chet comes to David's office, apologizes for
the event, and David again surprises Chet with his forgiveness and his
suggestion that the trio continue with David's promised trip for the
three of them to Disney World.
While on the outing to Disney World David invites Chet into the hotel
room for a drink and a demonstration of Chet's diving skills, a set up
for a physical encounter on the floor. Elaine enters the room, sees the
encounter as a sexual one, frightens Chet who stabs David in a scuffle,
and the Disney World trip ends in disaster. It is the working out of
the new twist on the triangle that furnishes the rest of the film and
the final results of the trio's relationship is surprising and
stretches the limits of credibility.
The problem member of this ménage a trois is Elaine, a woman who allows
herself to become sexually involved with Chet, but when she believes
David is likewise sexually involved with the lad she is unable to cope.
It seems like the woman of the triangle determines the rules and that
is where many will feel this story is more tragic.
O'Connor is a fine English/Australian actress and gives a top-flight
performance. Simon Baker is another Australian (Tasmanian) actor who
has a great deal of depth and strong screen presence. Gregory Smith is
a young Canadian actor who shows tremendous promise. Together the three
give fine ensemble acting that makes this unlikely trio credibility and
engages our empathy. There is a lot of talent in this little film and
for a first movie writer/director Alan Brown gives notice of a talent
to watch. In time some of the side indulgences included in this film
will be less intrusive and more insightfully utilized. But on the whole
this is a successful film worth watching. Grady Harp, April 05