Review – New Sensations’ Torn (2012)

New Sensations has really been bringin’ it lately with a collection of new lines – first, we had New Sensations Swingers; and now, New Sensations Couples!!

Swingers… Romance (New Sensations currently sets the standard for “romance porn” in the mainstream “straight” market)… and now Couples? There seems to be a lot going on over in Camp NSensations…

Torn

(pictured: get your copy of Torn and/or watch it now here)

…so before I go too much further, I gotta say that, at least in terms of product development, New Sensations seems to have each of these lines very well conceptualized. Consider:

– “The Romance Series from New Sensations is a masterfully passionate movie line and the first collection to cater to the erotic needs of women and enhance their sexual experience. Seducing female consumers with stories of sensuality, connection and devotion, The Romance Series promotes the tingling, butterflies-in-your-stomach, giggly excitement girls crave. It combines elements of the greatest love stories of all time with sensual pleasures.”

– The Swingers Series focuses on couples involved (or getting involved) in the swingers lifestyle. The line is designed to appeal to consumers interested in testing the limits of their own sexualities in this particular way.

– The Couples Series focuses on the trials and tribulations of relationships after the honeymoon has ended.

(these descriptions are either pulled directly from New Sensations-issued press or are slightly modified versions of New Sensations-issued press)

Sure, you can poke sociological and social justice-related holes into each of these descriptions (though I think I’ve beaten “romance porn” to death, you can read all about that here if you want) – fine. The important thing to remember though is that each one of these lines does, in fact, attempt to engage a collection of emotions and constructions that many members of human society have experienced.

Regardless of how New Sensations sets up “butterflies-in-your-stomach” (conventional, heterosexual, etc), you cannot pretend that those butterflies don’t exist in romantic relationships. Whatsmore, you can’t pretend that the likelihood of those butterflies eventually flying away or changing shape is not… well, likely… all while the people and the relationship and the developing dynamics thereof still remain. Simply on the basis of attempting to engage an uncommonly discussed “stage” that many people are currently in, I love New Sensations’ new line.

Here are some of my thoughts on their first, soon-to-be released New Sensations Couples title, Torn (2012).

* * *

At the risk of sounding cliche, I was a little torn over Torn. 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.

…and here’s the trailer:

 

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…

(pictured: torrid, hott… buy your copy and/or watch it now here)

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 mega-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.

(pictured: gag me? image by Jeff Koga, used with permission from New Sensations)

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.

 

Some notes on other elements of the film…

There are no words to describe Raylene… Perhaps “beautiful shining star”? Her performance and character, though definitely not the center of the film, almost steal the show.

India Summer is an incredible actress. Though she often gets cast as a chilly dragon lady and though the Christine character was a slightly chilly dragon lady, India really extended herself in Torn. She was extremely convincing as an independent and icy, yet ultimately very vulnerable, woman dealing with a pretty rough situation. I know the emphasis of this film was on the main characters’ issues, but I found myself wanting to know more about India’s Christine.

The sex in this film is perfect – Drew and Christine are heartbreakingly distant, while the scene between Mimi and her roommate is heartbreakingly sad, desperate, and awkward. And the final tryst between Mimi and Drew? Chemistry dripping hott lusciousness, while being far from graphic and not at all porny. Each scene (including what I didn’t mention here) is perfectly on point for the project.

 

My only slightly “hmmm…” moment with Torn had to do with the subject matter itself. As I said in the beginning of this extra-long review, Torn is the first title in New Sensations’ new Couples line – a line intended to get at what happens to couples when the butterflies fly away (a party in the USA!!? …someone please slap me)

I wonder what was behind the decision to start a new line that’s very unique in its intent with such heavy material. I also wonder what they’re going to explore next… Kids? Money? Illness? Physical distance that comes from extenuating circumstances? The possibilities are endless, but the first things that come to my mind are all actually pretty heavy. What kinds of happy post-butterfly scenarios will we eventually be seeing (if any)?

 

Recommended for: I want to say everyone because this film is truly excellent; however, I must say “everyone” with the addendum “maybe not for couples dealing with infidelity and/or infidelity-realted issues.” This film is pretty intense and could easily be a trigger… but it also might be a catalyst for some necessary/useful conversation.

 

Notables

With performances from India Summer, Raylene, Samantha Ryan, Remy LaCroix, Tom Byron, Chad Alva, and Steven St. Croix

Torn was written by Jacky St. James and co-directed by Jacky and Eddie Powell for New Sensations. It released on September 3, 2012.

Buy your copy of Torn and/or watch it now right here.

BTS and extras: because I got a super extra special early screener, I don’t knowwwwwww…

 

For more titles from New Sensations, go here.

 

* * *

PVV Recommended Films – a special distinction for exceptional content.

All images courtesy of New Sensations.

Like what you see? Follow PVV on Facebook and Twitter and/or follow Dr. Chauntelle at @DrChauntelle!!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

PVVOnline – Critical Commentary on Adult Production