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4.2 out of 5 stars
Loving Annabelle [DVD] [2006]
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 January 2007
When I first read the synopsis on the back of the box i was a bit put off. Let's be honest a teacher-student relationship just isn't right in society.

I'm glad I took the leap and watched this though because there's a lot more to it than that. Firstly, it isn't about this sordid affair but what comes before the inevitable. The story is treated with due respect and unfolds in a tasteful manner that draws you into the feelings of both characters. The torment of a teacher trying to stay in control and the desire and passion of a student not afraid to feel and push boundaries.

Annabelle is the rebellious daughter of a senator who is sent to a Catholic boarding school in an attempt to tame her. Simone is her teacher and head of the dorm she is placed in. From the very beginning Annabelle takes an interest in Simone and aims to befriend her and challenge her emotions and beliefs. The maturation of the relationship is beautiful to watch as it is complex and has the student leading the teacher forward into the world.

The cinematography is fantastic. I would recommend this movie just for that alone. The scenes flow fluidly serving to accentuate the inherent meanings and emotion behind them. You get drawn in without your knowledge until you are one with the characters.

The beautiful soundtrack (which i wish was available on cd!!) makes a huge difference with meaningful songs well placed in the movie adding to the wonderful scene selections and acting.

Trust me, you want to watch this movie. It does not aim to justify but tell a story.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This is a lovely story about how sometimes you just cant fight your feelings even if you know you could get in trouble. Not your typical school child crush on a teacher but a real love story that you get pulled into. Fantastic story, well written, great acting, and a beautiful soundtrack. I would definitely recommend watching as it's just a lovely Love Story. One thing i will say is be sure to watch the extra's...especially the alternate ending which I found answered more questions and finished it of nicely.

Set in a catholic boarding school this story is based on an out of control girl who from day one finds herself attracted to her poetry/English teacher. While the teacher fights her feeling, this story shows how a friendship and attraction can turn into love.

Enjoy everyone. I hoped this helped you in deciding whether to watch or not.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2008
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.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2007
This is a beautiful story of love between a teacher and a student that is told so beautifully that the viewer is instantly drawn in as the relationship develops. The leading actresses, Erin Kelly as Annabelle (the student) and Diane Gaidry as Simone (the catholic boarding school teacher) are excellent and believable, the ensemble cast likewise and the locations and the cinematography are beautiful. Katherine Brooks has done a wonderful job in writing and directing a thoroughly enjoyable but thought provoking movie. There is such depth to the story that you indeed forget that the subject matter is taboo and forbidden, it is simply a love story. I would highly recommend it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 January 2008
When I first read the synopsis on the back of the box i was a bit put off. Let's be honest a teacher-student relationship just isn't right in society.
I'm glad I took the leap and watched this though because there's a lot more to it than that. Firstly, it isn't about this sordid affair but what comes before the inevitable. The story is treated with due respect and unfolds in a tasteful manner that draws you into the feelings of both characters. The torment of a teacher trying to stay in control and the desire and passion of a student not afraid to feel and push boundaries.

Annabelle is the rebellious daughter of a senator who is sent to a Catholic boarding school in an attempt to tame her. Simone is her teacher and head of the dorm she is placed in. From the very beginning Annabelle takes an interest in Simone and aims to befriend her and challenge her emotions and beliefs. The maturation of the relationship is beautiful to watch as it is complex and has the student leading the teacher forward into the world.

The cinematography is fantastic. I would recommend this movie just for that alone. The scenes flow fluidly serving to accentuate the inherent meanings and emotion behind them. You get drawn in without your knowledge until you are one with the characters.
The beautiful soundtrack (which i wish was available on cd!!) makes a huge difference with meaningful songs well placed in the movie adding to the wonderful scene selections and acting.

Trust me, you want to watch this movie. It does not aim to justify but tell a story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2008
Written and directed by Katherine Brooks and starring Erin Kelly and Diane Gaidry, Loving Annabelle is the story of a forbidden love affair between a teacher and her rebellious student. Simone is a teacher at a strict Catholic girls boarding school and Annabelle is the new arrival who turns her world upside down. Beautifully written and acted, Loving Annabelle is quite simply one of the best lesbian films I've seen.
I can't recommend this movie highly enough - buy it. If you have a multi format DVD I would suggest purchasing the Region 1 version as it has a multitude of excellent extras - including an alternative ending. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2010
Having been expelled from her two previous schools wasn't going to be a problem for Annabelle when she was then placed at her next, a Catholic High School by her Senator mother.She easily made friends with the 2 or 3 girls in her dormitory who consisted of Kristen(Michelle Horn)the polite one, Colins(Laura Breckenridge) the shy one and Cat(Gustine Fudickar)the outspoken one. Annabelle soon reveals that she prefers the female sex which slightly throws Cat off kilter but doesn't bother the other 2 girls as they are more genuine friends.
Annabelles' Head Teacher is Simone Bradley played by Diane Gaidry and Annabelle not only takes an immediate liking and appreciation for Simone and her teaching,she gradually begins to fall in love with her. Simone who had a previous female relationship some years before senses this happening and now also has a relationship with a male friend and does everything possible to avoid ANYTHING developing with Annabelle.
She is however powerless to stop matters developing and one thing leads to another until their relationship reaches its final ultimate stage which consumes both of them.Little do they know their secret is NO LONGER A SECRET and their world is about to come tumbling down with terrible consequences!?
Well written,directed by Katherine Brooks. Erin Kelly stars and AURAH supply a beautiful Music Score.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2010
Note:This opinion comes from someone that has never been with a woman, so don't attack me if I think it's good, because I find that alot of the other 'good' films are either too boring or sexually-focused.

I really enjoyed this film. It was well written and the acting was good. Although there weren't much heartbreaking scenes as 'Lost and Delirious', the film overall was really good. The actress that plays Annabelle is really hot too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2010
I really enjoyed this film. It caused me to question how I judge other people and their relationships. Having recently watched 'Notes on a Scandal' I was left conflicted between the very different portrayals of a teacher-pupil relationship. The only reason for giving the film 4 stars and not 5 is that it might have been enhanced by spending a bit longer on interactions between Annabelle (Erin Kelly) and her classmates as well as with Simone (Diane Gaidry) although the deleted scenes do some of this. Having said this I felt that Simone's character was particularly well written with a good balance of past and present events causing her to feel torn between love and duty. The film was well shot with a lovely soundtrack. Overall it is fun to watch and you really root for the main characters. I would really recommend this film. It is one that I have watched several times and will definitely be watching again.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
"Loving Annabelle" is a passably-scripted and -acted tale of illicit passion at a Catholic boarding school, but one thing it is not, I have to say, contrary to other reviews, is a beautiful love story. The somewhat familiar story follows a teenager (Erin Kelly), the "Annabelle" of the title, who, having been expelled from a number of previous schools, winds up at the aforementioned Catholic institution and is immediately attracted to her English teacher, Simone Bradley (Diane Gaidry). Bored by her relationship with her nice but dull boyfriend, Simone is unwilling to make the commitment he is pushing for, and instead spends increasing amounts of time with the rebellious student, Annabelle.

OK, so we've got a hot English teacher (check), we've got a rebellious teenager with stated lesbian tendencies (check) and the repressive yet charged atmosphere of an all-girls' Catholic boarding school, complete with uniforms, crucifixes, rosary beads and a swimming pool that appears to be lit up at night (lots of checks here). I think the set-up - not to mention the title of this flick - mean we can all see where this is going, right? Of course, Simone and Annabelle develop a relationship, one that is - it goes without saying - secret, forbidden and even illegal.

Now, whilst I understand the appeal of themes of illicit passion in gay and lesbian interest films, there is something about "Loving Annabelle"'s plot and characterisation that does feel particularly calculated and gratuitous. I almost felt, as I sat down to watch the DVD, knowing full well the story involved Catholic schoolgirls and uniforms and all the rest, that there was something vaguely distasteful about the film, and something voyeuristic about me for watching it. I think that's where my problem with the idea of this being a "love story" begins, although not where it ends.

Simone and Annabelle may have the hots for each other, but love is harder to believe. These characters don't know very much about each other, and whilst there might be a mutual attraction, there is not as far as I can see any deep connection between these two. The Annabelle character has been written as overly worldy-wise and perceptive, presumably so that her hookup with a teacher who must be at least twice her age is more palatable, but the bravado Annabelle displays would most likely only work on students of her own age. An adult some fifteen or more years' older as Simone is, would, I feel, recognise Annabelle's posturing as the misplaced arrogance of youth. Simone, for her part, appears weak and easily-led; she is with a man she patently has no real interest in and yet she struggles to end the relationship with him. Simone almost comes across as if she falls into an inappropriate relationship with a female student because she can't summon up the energy or bravery to hit a gay bar.

Despite its lack of subtlety or real depth in plotting and characterisation, "Loving Annabelle" does get some things right. The cinematography is lush and vivid and generally very appealling for a film reportedly shot in a total of three weeks. The script hits the right note in a few places, and is notably on the money in the scene where Annabelle reveals to her roommates that she has slept with a woman; the responses vary from indifference to curiosity to sudden sexual interest in Annabelle herself, which is probably in the modern climate a more realistic range of reaction to confessions of lesbian experience than seen elsewhere (e.g. the mass hysteria that breaks out for dramatic purposes in the all-girls boarding school in "Lost and Delirious", though that is in many ways a superior film to this one). In addition, the crucial love scene itself is surprisingly well-done.

As Annabelle and Simone grow closer, the film ambles around a bit, until it seems someone realised it needed to end, and gave it a rather half-hearted finale. I get the impression the filmmakers struggled to know how to bring the curtain down on this tale.

All-in-all, "Loving Annabelle" is a reasonably watchable effort, although at times the overly-forced lesbian frission between teacher and pupil is a little embarrassing, even for a lesbian viewer. The film is not, however, for all the sighs, sunlight dappled across the screen, meaningful exchanged glances between female leads and so-on and so forth, very engaging, nor deep or meaningful, nor romantic. In the end, the calculatedly racy set-up of the central female pairing makes the film difficult to take seriously and tricky to take to heart.
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