Directed by Hannah Fidell
Published: May 8, 2013
Diana Watts (Lindsay Burdge), young high school English teacher, goes through the motions: She administers quizzes; she lunches with her colleagues in the faculty room; she chaperones the Sadie Hawkins dance. After school, though, she’s rendezvousing with Eric (Will Brittain), a handsome senior in one of her classes. They have sex in the backseat of her car. She sneaks into his bedroom. They go to his father’s ranch. When she’s not with him, Diana’s plugged into her Blackberry, eager for his texts. He asks her for a picture, she takes off her bra and sends one. “U r so hot,” he replies.
As written and directed by Hannah Fidell, their affair occurs in snatches. Fidell relies heavily on clipped, episodic scenes and fade-to-black transitions in much of the movie, which gets somewhat tiresome but effectively evokes the nature of a covert romance. Diana’s life, for the audience and for herself, transpires during moments of interaction with Eric. When they’re not together, she’s dwelling on him—a few cheesy daydream shots show closeups of Eric against a blue sky. She zones out at lunch while fellow teachers gossip at her about the topless photo of a freshman girl circulating around school. The affair consumes her.
We miss what must have been the dizzying beginning of the romance, who initiated it and how their dynamic became established. Instead, we witness the affair’s inevitable, frenzied implosion, one that leaves you not with disgust for Diana’s ethical transgression, but with a shudder at the choices desperation can make alluring.
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