Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 15, May 23, 2012


Movie Review



Cinema Guild, 2010, 21 minutes
Winner, Best Documentary Short, SXSW Film Festival, 2010

Reviewed by David S. Hall

This DVD takes you back to the early 70’s through the eyes of Deanna and Paul, a formerly married couple and part of a four person group marriage, 40 years ago. In today’s world, we would call it polyamory, and this story is a great example of how NOT to do it. Two couples meet, smoke pot, have some fun together, start by kissing each other’s spouse (known and illegal in Tennessee as “gateway sex”), and then start having sex with each other’s spouse. Due to a fire, one couple moves in with the other couple. They both have children. Life is fun.

Both couples admittedly had pretty dull marriages, but the fun came back when they started playing across the marital boundaries. They had some prior sexual experiments with others, but they didn’t consider themselves swingers. They describe what is often called New Relationship Energy, that chemical cocktail in the brain that shuts down rational thinking in favor of the pleasure one is having. After moving in together, the husbands swapped bedrooms after the kids were asleep. The narrators admit they didn’t have sex with each other at this point.

There is no indication in the film that any real thought was given to what was happening, there is no evidence in the film of any real communication by the people involved regarding what they really wanted at that time, no comments on any agreements they might have made, they just decided to all live together. They thought they were moving into a brave new world of alternate lifestyles. It wasn’t long before the women began to have problems, there is some name calling by the Deanna, who does the majority of the talking. Deanna calls Eleanor a “bitch” but the viewer is left wondering who really was acting like one.

Ultimately Deanna announces she is moving out with Eleanor’s husband and the experiment is over. Their lives remain intertwined thanks to the children.

The story is told by interviews with Deanna and Paul, and Paul’s still photos from the past. It is well done, short and interesting to watch, especially for those who try to find the way to live a non-monogamous life. Today the Internet has a lot of good advice for those who find ethical non-monogamy an interesting and healthy way of life.

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