At the risk of sounding cliche, I was a little torn over New Sensations’ Torn (2012). At first.
Here’s the plot description…
CAUGHT BETWEEN THE LIFE HE KNEW AND THE LIFE HE WANTED
Drew finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Over time, his long-term marriage has lost its spark, intimacy and most importantly, the connection. Sex has been replaced by friendship. Spontaneity has been replaced by responsibility. Love has been taken over by life. Then one day Mimi, a passionate, young art student, enters his life. Their attraction to one another is immediate. Consumed with guilt at the mere thought of another woman, he recommits himself to his marriage and making it work. However, the connection proves too strong for them both and they slowly delve into an illicit affair.
There often comes a time in a person’s life when they must choose what is right or what is best. Drew finds himself in that exact circumstance with peoples’ lives hanging in the balance. Between facing society’s judgment and hurting someone whom he has spent so much of his life with (all for the hope of true happiness and a love he could never have imagined), he finds himself torn.
So… 40something-ish Drew (Steven St. Croix) has been married to Christine (India Summer) for around 20 years. And as he’s grown and matured over the years, what Drew initially loved about Christine – her independence and single-minded lack of neediness – has ceased to work for him. He now wants to be emotionally intimate and needed but finds himself going through the motions with a partner who seems hell bent on going through her own.
Drew’s good buddy Vicky (Raylene), herself a very open and connected person, has a mid-20something-ish niece named Mimi (Remy LaCroix). Age differences notwithstanding, Mimi is everything Christine is not (and probably vice versa) – free-spirited, artistic, a student (of photography and life), and open. Drew and Mimi meet at a party and, after a small series of reticent halts, begin a torrid love affair…
I don’t want to spoil what happens next, but I’m probably gonna have to in order to explain how and why Torn was a damn near perfect film.
But first, a moment of self-disclosure – I watched this movie twice. The first time with a hefty measure of incredulity, and the second time to pick up what I had missed by being a skeptical hater. You see, I wanted to dislike Torn.
Even though I know people often evolve and grow and develop in different and sometimes incompatible directions and even though I know marriage is difficult, I reeeally wanted to get all huffy puffy/yawn over what I thought would be yet another tale of a bored mid-life-crisis-having dude being “inspired” by some young chic… all while a long suffering wife gets kicked to the curb.
Or, I wanted to roll my eyes at what I often find to be an annoyingly commonplace misstep in film casting – older dude/young woman. Sure that happens in real life, but does it always happen… like, always without fail? No. But if you were to take it from most movies, yes… yes it does.
But Torn unraveled both the skepticism I was aware of and engaged additional issues related to infidelity, marriage, partnerships, and partners evolving apart.
Think about all the arguments you’ve ever heard for or against infidelity within the context of a long-standing, but ultimately unhappy, marriage – minus the “what about your kids?” argument (there are no children, actual or alluded to, in this film), they’re all engaged in Torn. Think about every “creepy older married dude with the spritely and spirited young mistress” issue – they’re all engaged in Torn, too.
Torn takes an extremely distressing topic that people (myself included) often have knee-jerk reactions to and eases viewers into thinking about situational complexities. Whatsmore, you have to think about those complexities as they relate to the commonly vilified parties – the cheater and the mistress. And though you may not care for Torn‘s characters or their biographical details, the fact remains that these scenarios are not completely unreasonable or imagined. In fact, Torn was based on a true story. It was also based on a story you’ve probably heard before.
In the end, Torn accomplished something that few films do – it made me uncomfortable, and it made me think. It also had a really life-affirming take away message, which is another thing we just don’t get enough of these days.
I loved it.
Torn was written by Jacky St. James and co-directed by Jacky and Eddie Powell for New Sensations. Buy your copy and/or watch it now here.
Image used with permission.