Our Advisories (0-10) Violence 1; Language 5; Sex/Nudity 6.
Running time: 1 hour 40 min.
Star rating (1-5): 2
Can fire be carried in the bosom
without burning one’s clothes?
Or can one walk on hot coals
without scorching the feet?
So is he who sleeps with his neighbour’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The sexual transgressions in this Australian film are not exactly the adultery cited in the two Scripture passages, but they are definitely over the line. Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) are life-long friends in their mid-forties living with their families in a picture postcard cove in New South Wales. Roz lives with her drama teacher husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) and son Tom ( James Frecheville), while close by is the widowed Lil and son Ian (Xavier Samuel). Both in their late teens, the boys have also become close over the years, loving to surf and loll on the beach or large float in the cove.
As the story unfolds, the sons become sexually engaged with one another’s mothers, and then…Obsession might have been a better title, with the two supposedly wiser mothers unwilling to hold back their lusts for the youthful bodies of the two boys. Probably not a film for a church group to discuss, especially due to the non-judgmental style of female director Anne Fontaine. Nonetheless the inevitable results of the four’s transgression are borne out in a non-sentimental way.
Probably the main reason for seeing this stark film is the excellent acting of the two well known female leads, Naomi Watts and Robin Wright. Some movie goers, preferring the more preacherly style of Christian filmmakers, will be upset by director Anne Fonatine’s refusal to condemn overtly the sordid liaisons, but hers is one of those slice-of-lice films that depicts the consequences of her characters’ choices and leaves it to the audience to ponder them.