Must confess when I first saw this film I hated it, hated it! But then I found myself thinking about it, so I watched it again, and again. First thing to mention is that, for an indie movie, shot on a shoe-string budget, the production values are very high, by which I mean that this movie has a lush sort of a look and feel about it; the cinematography is gorgeous - I can't explain it any better.
The story is one fraught with difficulties: Simone Bradley, English Literature teacher at an all-girls boarding convent/school finds herself falling for the girlish charms of Annabelle Tillman, wild-child daughter of a prominent US senator. Annabelle, for her part, makes it very clear to Ms Bradley, that she is attracted to her - and then some. OK, we're informed (by various means) that Annabelle is a double handful of trouble, and that the boarding school is the last chance saloon for her. If she doesn't mend her wild ways there, next stop is a Military Academy. Oddly though, the only way this 'wildness' manifests itself is that Annabelle smokes a lot, has had her nose pierced and wears Doc Marten boots with everything - other than that, she actually comes across as a bit of a sweetheart: witness her gentle comforting of Collins, the screwed-up self-harmer. Oh yes, well, Annabelle is a lesbian of course, that's pretty wild I suppose. For goodness' sake, she even comes off worse in a catfight with one of the girls in her dorm. How mad and bad is that??
A word here about the screen presence of Erin Kelly in her debut role as Annabelle - extraordinary is the word, astonishing is another. Simone Bradley is played by Diane Gaidry, an actress with a stillness about her that I found very pleasing. The scenes between Annabelle and Simone vary, from highly-charged/erotic to just plain silly. And yes, there are many meaningful, lingering looks between the two, but they really are meaningful; they move the story along very nicely. The ending is awful, stereotypical blah - can't think what writer/director and out lesbian Katharine Brooks was thinking. Or perhaps that's why the extras include an altogether more satisfying alternative ending. So, go on, give Annabelle a whirl in your dvd player. Oh, and the music's great too.