By Samantha Highfill
Updated September 09, 2013 at 09:30 PM EDT
Credit: Matt Nettheim 
  • Movie

I don’t know if it was the sheer intrigue of watching two motherlovers actually you know each other’s mothers, or if it was simply the fact that I didn’t feel like getting up off the couch. Either way, I spent my Friday night watching Robin Wright and Naomi Watts play sort-of lesbians who end up getting involved with each other’s sons in Adore. And I wish I could say I regret the experience.

I’m not here to argue that Adore is a great film, because it’s not. I knew what I was going to get before I hit “play,” which is what allowed me to watch the film without judgment — or perhaps just with less judgment than most. But regardless, before I knew it, I had fallen into this troubling story, and I didn’t know why. There was something magnetic about the film that I couldn’t identify. All I knew was that I didn’t want it to end. Let me reiterate: I didn’t want this story about two best friends, each one having sex with the other’s son (whom they’d helped to raise), to end.

So at this point I’m thinking there’s something wrong with me, right?

Then it hit me: The thing that kept me engaged in this all-too-strange-but-oddly-fascinating story of near-incestuous behavior was the beautiful blond in the middle of it all. And no, I’m not referring to Wright or Watts (though both were stunning, which was a major factor of the film’s plot). The blond catching my eye was Xavier Samuel, who played Watts’ son and Wright’s lover.

I’d only ever seen Samuel in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, a fact I didn’t realize until more than halfway through Adore. I hadn’t even thought to place him, because I was too busy falling into his eyes and idolizing the way he looked so sexy smoking a cigarette. (And I don’t even like smokers.)

So right off the bat I will say that yes, he’s pretty. I would be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the draw. But there was something about his portrayal of this passionate, lost, crazy-in-love fool that I wanted to watch. In a world of unbelievability, there was something so real and honest about his character, his love for his “second mother” included. He was the one who started the entire affair, and he was the only one I really found myself caring about. If he wanted to have a relationship with his mother’s best friend, then I supported him, because I believed that he really loved her. I was rooting for him, and therefore rooting for a very twisted relationship (which caused me to take a long, hard look in the mirror before bed that night).

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about Samuel that made him stand out. Was it the way he looked at Wright? Was it his overall performance? Was it his smile? Yes, to all of the above. But more than anything, I think Samuel just has it. You know — the elusive it that Hollywood always loves to throw around as the thing true stars have. And you know how I know? Because he made me like Riley in Eclipse, and by the end of Adore, he gave me no choice but to root for a twenty-something to get back together with a woman his daughter considered to be a second grandmother. If there’s something more powerful than that left for me to experience in movies, I’m not sure I want to know what it is.


  • Movie
  • R
  • 110 minutes
  • Anne Fontaine