January 8, 2014 -- This story begins in the middle of a sexual affair between a high school student, Eric Tull (played by Will Brittain) and his teacher, Diana Watts (Lindsay Burdge of “First Winter”). Most movies about this sort of forbidden love would start before the relationship is already established. You would expect, starting at this point, it is all downhill from here.
These two people, however, seem quite at ease having this illicit sexual affair. Neither one of them seems particularly worried about what will happen if they are found out, but that changes over the course of the film. Eric seems particularly at ease with the situation. He seems very sophisticated and mature for a high school student (Brittain was about 21 years old when the film was shot).
The first sign of trouble is at a meeting between Diana and her brother, Hunter (Jonny Mars of “Computer Chess”). Hunter wants to talk to Diana about the condition of their mother. Diana gets up and leaves abruptly. There was no argument, nothing was said by Hunter to cause Diana any stress. She just walks out with no explanation.
The next sign of trouble is when Diana learns from another teacher that a school girl has gotten into trouble for sending a nude picture of herself to her boyfriend with her mobile phone. Diana had done the same thing, sending a topless picture of herself to Eric. The next time they meet, Diana asks Eric to delete the picture.
The trouble starts when Diana and Eric are almost caught in bed together by a ranch manager (the story takes place in the Dallas, Texas and surrounding area) at a ranch that Eric has access to. Diana panics and tries to call off the affair, but cannot bring herself to do it. Her whole life starts falling apart and she becomes increasingly unstable.
I never did get a sense of the exact nature of Diana's mental problems, but they are clearly substantial. Eric, on the other hand, seems pretty well adjusted. Clearly, he is the adult in this relationship. You would expect the teacher to be the one manipulating a teenage student in such a relationship, but in this case, it is the other way around.
Lindsay Burdge gives a fine performance in this film. Her character goes through quite an emotional rollercoaster during the course of the film, while all the characters around her in the film seem to be completely unaffected by whatever is going on inside her, including Eric. You certainly can't expect a teenager like Eric to be able to cope with Diana's emotional problems. Even an adult would probably be at a loss to deal with Diana's problems, particularly when she is unable to talk about them.
So, this story starts out being pretty predictable, and it ends pretty much the way you would expect it to end. The only mystery left is why the main character behaves the way she does, and this is never explained, at least to my satisfaction. In order to understand Diana, you would have to walk in her shoes, and I feel this film didn't really give me that opportunity. Some other viewers may get more out of the emotional clues in this film than I did. I ended up being as puzzled as Eric, and every other character in the story, as to what makes Diana tick. This film rates a C+.
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