Elaine and David seem to have the perfect marriage. But everything changes when they meet Chet, an innocent 15 year old boy full of youthful wonder. The threesome form an immediate bond, but a momentary lapse in judgment threatens to rupture the core of the trio's seemingly idyllic lives. A sensual tale of the complexity of marriage and desire, Book Of Love examines the choices we make in our daily lives-and the consequences that follow.
Book of Love
takes what could be a trashy premise and turns it into a strikingly honest examination of human messiness. Elaine (Frances O'Connor, Mansfield Park
) and David (Simon Baker, The Ring Two
) are a happy, successful couple who befriend a clever, athletic, but lonely 16 year-old boy named Chet (Gregory Smith, Everwood
). But when Chet falls in love with Elaine, she responds and sleeps with him out of a mix of sympathy and desire. From here the story could have become overwrought melodrama, but the subtle script, perfectly-pitched performances, and lucid direction make Book of Love
a portrait of smart, articulate people at the mercy of their least articulate emotions: lust, jealousy, anger, fear. Writer/director Alan Brown, making his debut feature film, even manages to weave in issues of goodness and the history of Cambodia without the movie ever feeling academic or didactic--on the contrary, the movie feels intimate and physical throughout, as concerned with the character's animal responses as with their struggle to remain rational. Also featuring Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village
) and music from indie bands The Magnetic Fields and Clem Snide. --Bret Fetzer