When I discovered that the director of Elena Undone was the same Nicole Conn who’d directed Claire of the Moon, I was a bit nervous. Claire of the Moon was one of the first lesbian films I ever watched and, as such, it was extraordinarily exciting on first viewing. As age and experience caught up with me and I watched the film again from the perspective of someone who’d studied film, I was disappointed. It was, I think, a bit like watching popular 1980s sitcoms as an adult and realizing how very cheesy my childhood had been. Fortunately, my expectations for Elena Undone were proven wrong… very, very wrong.
Elena Undone is the story of Peyton (the stunning Traci Dinwiddie) and Elena (the also stunning Necar Zadegan), one a famous lesbian writer, the other a presumably heterosexual, married photographer. As this is a lesbian film and not real life, presumptive heterosexuality is no barrier to lesbian love. Romance, of course, ensues when the two encounter one another at a meeting for potential adoptive parents and meet again at a session run by a love guru named Tyler (the hilarious Sam Harris), who is all on board with a potential Sapphic dalliance for his presumably straight friend Elena. Because this is a lesbian film, the voice of lesbian pragmatism asserts itself in the form of Peyton’s friend and neighbor Wave (the gorgeous and hilarious Mary Wells), who reminds Peyton frequently that the pursuit of heterosexual women isn’t exactly healthy or realistic.
The film starts a bit slowly and intersperses the main story with interludes from love guru Tyler. At the first interlude, I found myself inwardly groaning, but that soon gave way to a real enjoyment of Tyler’s pontifications. Once the rhythm of the film was set, it was incredible. The first kiss between our two protagonists, which broke the record for longest movie kiss, reflected an incredible on-screen chemistry between Dinwiddie and Zadegan, a chemistry made even more intense during the love scenes. With the exception of the Dinwiddie and Zadegan pairing, the brightest spots in the film were the moments between Wells and Dinwiddie. It may be my undying love for redheads and slightly unhealthy obsession with various UK accents talking, but I can’t help thinking that the only thing that could have made the film better was more Mary Wells.
Overall, with great acting and incredible visuals, Elena Undone is a much welcome addition to the lesbian film canon, one I intend to watch repeatedly and share with as many friends as possible, starting with you. So, go watch it already. You can thank me later.