“Eden’s Curve” (WaterBearer) is the story of Peter (Sam Levine), an eighteen year old boy who is on a journey of self discovery while studying at an all male university in the South. His roommate, Joe and his roommate’s girlfriend, Bess help him to learn more about himself and as he learns his values become crushed by those who love him. He also learns that he cannot do anything without relying on the strength of strangers and the decisions that he makes as he begins to discover himself will affect him his entire life.
The beautiful style of the film remains in the memory long after the movie is over. The movie itself is based on true happenings at a backwoods Virginia University in the early 1970’s and beautifully conveys both the time and the spirit. The framework of the action is a bisexual ménage-a-trois and the coming-of-age of a young college student. Yet there are other themes as well—identity, commitment, and the extent of romanticism. Sam Levine plays the boy who is the paragon of innocence—a blank page that is waiting to be written upon.
The film concentrates on the beautiful landscape of Virginia and the subjects of longing and desire come across as narration as opposed to characterization.
We watch as Peter’s tender love becomes jealousy and rage and the ethereal quality of the movie contributes heavily to the overall quality. What we get is a refreshing view of what mainstream America gets from the people who live there and not the standard representation of gay life. We see life with all of its challenges and its ups and downs. All of this presented as one youth enters adulthood. Imagination, imagery, and reflection play heavy roles in this film and they hit us hard and raise our spirits simultaneously.
I have heard it said that this is a depressing film; that there is no compassion, no thoughtful revelation and no redemption. I disagree with this completely but then I suppose the way one lives influences the interpretation of what I consider a beautiful film. The believability of the cast enhances the quality of the film. For someone to discredit a film like this is a grave injustice. Because one has to think and feel the movie makes it that much more realistic and personal. The emotion is touching and it sets the tone in the opening and never lets go. The story is totally believable. Everything about the film is done with the utmost taste; especially the nudity and the issues that are dealt with by the characters are real and genuine. The rawness of the photography matches the storyline and the story is certainly sad but exceptionally honest. The atmosphere of an earlier time is completely captured and the sexual and substance exploration was not decadent but beautifully handled. What especially stood out to me was the totally non-stereotypical approach to gay life. It is natural and it dealt with difficult issues with the utmost of reverence.