Time: 2:08, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2014
Screenshots: On our Tumblr
Source: 1920×1080 downloaded from the New Sensations subscription site
Pleasure ✓+, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
This movie was much awarded at the 2015 XBiz Awards. The movie itself won the award for Couples-Themed Release of the Year, and Xander Corvus and Maddy O'Reilly won for Best Actor and Actress in a Couples-Themed Release. Anna Lee also the 2015 Feminist Porn Award for Steamiest Straight Movie.
Anna Lee (Maddy O'Reilly) grew up in a home with a single mother who was very sex-negative, and she struggles with her sexuality. Her doctor refers her to Whitney (India Summer) and Gaige (Steven St Croix), who practice an "unconventional" brand of sex therapy, and she checks into their retreat, the Variel House.
While there, she has to complete a series of "tasks" that are designed to unlock her sexuality. Eventually, she is paired with another "patient", Emmett (Xander Corvus), to do their tasks together. Profoundly attracted to him, Anne Lee finds herself fantasizing about, and falling for, Emmett. But he is terrified of any connection with another person and leaves suddenly, before their work is complete. When Anna Lee leaves Variel House, however, she asks that the video journal she was required to keep be sent to Emmett. He is so touched by what she shared with him that he goes to find her, and the film ends with them making love.
This is a great movie, and we do not just mean a great porno. It is a terrific story, even if the kind of work being done at "Variel House" seems a bit implausible. But the story is really about Anna Lee, her struggle with her sexuality, and her triumph over her past. Maddy O'Reilly does a wonderful job conveying the wide range of emotions that her character might have: scared, but determined; sexy, but constrained; then joyful and free. It's really quite incredible how we learn, through the movie, what exactly it is about Anna Lee's sexual desires that it is so hard for her to come to terms with. We're never told. We're shown and, to some extent, have to figure it out for ourselves.
Maybe our favorite part of the movie is a lengthy sequence in which we see snippets of the tasks that Anna Lee and Emmett perform together. It is extremely sexy and even beautiful, with so much being conveyed by the way the scenes are shot. Indeed, we really cannot say enough about what great work Eddie Powell does here, as Director of Photography. As was the case in The Temptation of Eve and The Submission of Emma Marx, the different sex scenes are shot in very different ways, and always in a way that adds something to the emotional and sexual content of the scene.
There are some great sex scenes here, too. The first, with India Summer and Johnny Castle, is incredibly hot, and it is a great example of how the story that surrounds the sex can heighten the erotic charge. And the last scene, when Anna Lee and Emmett finally have sex, is truly astonishing. Both of them do an amazing job of staying in character and conveying their mutual passion for what they are doing.
There is a lot of rough sex in this movie, much more than one would typically find in a "romance" or "couples" release. But, as we have said elsewhere, there is nothing wrong with rough sex, if that is what the performers, and characters, want to be doing. And, as the movie progresses, we learn, in effect, that the reason for Anna Lee's struggle is precisely her inability to accept the nature of her desires. Asking Emmett to spank her, to choke her, and to make her gag on his cock is her victory celebration.
Scene 1: India Summer and Johnny Castle (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Yes, Cumshot: Ass
Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
Whitney (Summer) and Michael (Castle) have sex while Anna Lee (Maddy O'Reilly) sits, blindfolded, and listens to them. It's an extremely sexy scene, and a great example of how the story that surrounds the sex can heighten the erotic charge.
The sex is natural and passionate, with a good deal of variety. They are both fairly vocal, and they talk quite a lot. But of course that fits the scene, since Anna Lee is supposed to be listening to them.
The camera work is generally very good. There are plenty of wide shots, and it is especially well shot as she sucks him. Overall, though, she feels a bit more the focus than he is, and the camera work becomes a bit more conventional when they are spooning and when they are doggy style. But there are also some very creative shots, from Anna Lee's perspective, more or less, even though she is blindfolded, as well as some silhouetted shots, suggesting that perhaps she can see, a bit, through the blindfold.
Scene 2: Natalia Starr and Xander Corvus (♀♂)
Features: Bondage, Rough Sex
Pleasure ✓, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
This is a fantasy that Emmett (Xander Corvus) shares with his therapist. Marielle (Natalia Starr) has been tied to a bed all day, wearing fishnet lingerie and a mask. Emmett comes home after work, and they have sex.
She seems to enjoy herself, and she seems quite aroused, but she never seems very near orgasm. That fits the scene, however, since she is supposed to be a prostitute.
Corvus does an amazing job of staying in character. Emmett is into having sex with Marielle, but he is in another way almost detached.
Our overall sense was that this scene went on a bit long. The lack of any real connection between the characters probably contributed to that.
The camera work is terrific, fitting the scene very well. There are a lot of wide shots, and a lot of very creative shots as well.
Scene 3: Maddy O'Reilly and Xander Corvus (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Maybe
This is a short scene in which Anna Lee masturbates with a vibrator while fantasizing about Emmett.
Scene 4: Jessa Rhodes and Steven St Croix (♀♂)
Pleasure ✓, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
This is basically Anna Lee's fantasy about Elize (Jessa Rhodes) and Gaige.
There's great chemistry between them, and she seems to enjoy herself and to become reasonably aroused. But it surprised us that Anna Lee's fantasy wouldn't have included at least one orgasm for Elize.
The camera work is again fantastic, with a great mix of shots, including some that are not at all typical for porn. It becomes a little more conventional, though, when they are doggy style.
Scene 5: India Summer, Jessa Rhodes, Maddy O'Reilly, Johnny Castle, and Steven St Croix (♀♂)
Features: Bondage, Rough Sex, Spanking
Anna Lee's final task is to "surrender" to being pleasured by Whitney, Gaige, Michael, and Elize. She is tied to an X while wearing a short zip dress. Whitney blindfolds her and kisses her and unzips the top of the dress, rubbing her tits and then pouring chocolate sauce over her chest before sucking her tits. The rest of them then have their way with her as well. Eventually, Whitney masturbates Anna Lee to orgasm.
We learn in the Behind the Scenes section of the DVD that O'Reilly did not know exactly what would be done to her.
It's an incredibly intense scene for how short it is. There is, however, an extended scene on the DVD, which lasts 18:26. The overall structure of the scene is the same, but more time is devoted to each part.
The camera work here is fantastic, fitting perfectly.
Scene 6: Maddy O'Reilly and Xander Corvus (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Stomach
Features: Bondage, Rough Sex, Spanking
Anna Lee grabs Emmett and kisses him at the door, then takes him to her bedroom and tosses him on the bed.
"I want you to be rough with me", she says.
"No problem", he responds.
"But first you have to earn it."
"Yeah", she breathes. "First, deprivation. Then reward. And then punishment", she says, handcuffing him to the bed.
What an incredible scene, and what an amazing job they do staying in character. They do a great job conveying their mutual interest in what they are doing, especially hers. It's particularly interesting how he becomes more dominant even as he is handcuffed.
The sex is very rough by the standard of these movies. But it is obviously exactly what Anna Lee wants—and we see now that her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality had a lot to do with her inability to accept the nature of her desires.
The camera work is great again, though she is a bit more of the focus than he is, but not in a detrimental way.