Sunday, April 17, 2011

Phil reviews ELENA UNDONE-April 6, 2011

For the past several decades, Hollywood has been cranking out the same old contrived, mundane, romance films that are both light on story and romance. Quite frankly, it's been far too long since I've seen a film that treated the topics of love, sex, and relationships on an intelligent, adult level. Recently, queer cinema has been exploring these subjects with the utmost care. It is here that I saw an amazing, heartfelt, romantic film that I have ever seen. One that, in my opinion should be ranked with some of the best romance films of all time. The film I am talking about is entitled ELENA UNDONE.

The film tells the story of two women from two very different worlds. Actress Necar Zadegan portrays Elena, a mother and wife of a pastor. Traci Dinwiddie plays Peyton, a well-known lesbian author. Soon, their paths cross several times, and they strike up a friendship. However, what starts off as platonic soon turns into forbidden desires. Peyton tries to reign in her feelings for Elena, while Elena, never having any thought of being with another women, reveals that she cannot live her life without Peyton in it. Elena pushes their friendship into  full blown affair, without thinking of the ramifications of her choice. For the first time in her life, Elena is happy and in love, but how will she explain to her pastor husband of her sinful decision?

This was a thoughtful and insightful film about love, life, and finding yourself in a world that tells you what is acceptable and what isn't. Through it all, Elena pushes herself to come to grips with what her heart desires the most: unconditional love. And that love comes in a very beautiful form of Peyton. We see from the very beginning that Elena wants something more that what life has offered her. She's searching for something that will make her feel alive, and what's better than unconditional love? Something we all wish to have, but only a few have been fortunate to have and to keep.

The film was directed by Nicole Conn, whose first film CLAIRE OF THE MOON, became a classic in the lesbian film world. Now it would seem that Conn has offered the world yet another classic with this, her fourth movie. With outstanding performances by Zadegan and Dinwiddie and a great script by Conn, this what a romance film should be. The film press also states that it contains the longest kiss in cinema history. After reviewing it, I can honestly say that it lives up to its statement, which by the way, is one of the most delicious kisses that I have ever witnessed in a film before.

ELENA UNDONE is a marvelous film that treats its viewers with a simple story about a subject that we can all relate to. Regardless if you're gay or straight, love is still spelled the exact same way, with the same four letters. Love doesn't care who or what you look like, nor does it care if you're gay or straight. It's a powerful emotion that we cannot live without. A famous singer once said, "All you need is love." And of course he was correct. We all struggle with finding our other half, so we may feel complete. After viewing this film, I hope someday that I will find the kind of love that both Elena and Peyton have. In the meantime, I'll just watch the movie over and over again.

ELENA UNDONE is now available on DVD. To purchase a copy visit

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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