“The Temptation Game”, wins Remi Award at the Houston International Film Festival for sharing the story of a marriage that tackles problems in communication.
Starring Ross Crain and Jessica Graham who play husband and wife, Charlie and Laura, are found to be in an intimate situation in their bedroom which is set in all white. Visually, the contrast of the white sheets and the actors themselves, leave our eyes to focus on their bodies and words. We ignore the background while intently listening to their conversation and physical communication between each other.
There are no distractions, no background noise, just the couple, their bodies, their words, and their vulnerability to each other. The scene gets set by giving the audience various views of their home setting with unsettling music that leaves us with a calm, clean, and organized home but a feeling of unrest and uneasiness when we face our characters.
The shot of the red apples on the kitchen table are clearly a hint at the story of Adam and Eve. Where Adam let Eve eat the fruit from the forbidden tree knowing that it had forbidden fruit. Eve ate the fruit, and then Adam blamed Eve to God for his disobedience. Yet, in the end, Eve still ate the fruit and Adam ate after her. Both are to blame, both banned from entering paradise once again.
In conversation, we learn that Laura brings up an old problem from Charlie’s past in which as an actor he cheated on Laura with an actress before they were married. Obviously, Laura has not forgiven the past and brings up the issue by trying to entice her husband, Charlie, to have sex with her even though he at first wanted to get ready to leave and have lunch.
Laura doesn’t believe that he could withstand the temptation of another actress offering him sex on set. Charlie argues that statement and declares that his mistake was in the past and that he’s the same person anymore. Laura wants proof of Charlie’s fidelity and decides to seduce Charlie by pretending she’s not his wife and plays an actress in bed.
After multiple attempts to get Charlie to “cheat” on his wife, he doesn’t give in but as Laura continues the act, Charlie gets confused as to who she’s playing in bed. Eventually, Charlie states that he does want to have sex with whoever she’s playing but still wants to have sex, with his wife. It’s after he states his desire to have sex with his wife that Laura initiates sex with Charlie.
It seems that Charlie had won the battle of doubt Laura had of him but after Laura dismounts Charlie she gets upset and closes herself off. After having sex, Charlie finds Laura alone and naked sitting down in the living room.
Charlie asks Laura if she was okay, and Laura shares that he failed her test. We are left with Laura bothered and feeling as if she cannot trust Charlie more than before.
“The Temptation Game” is an intense film in such a way where you feel awkward to be present in this marriage issue that is none of your business but at the same time you want to know how this couple will handle this problem.
Laura has trust issues with Charlie which she tries to solve by putting Charlie up to her own test that she has the answers to. It seems the only way Charlie would have passed would have been to not sleep with his wife. Why would a man deny his wife of sex?
You want to scream at Laura and explain that her test doesn’t prove anything but also yell at Charlie for giving into his wife’s idea even though we all knew it wouldn’t end well for the both of them.
The dialogue between the couple are exchanges people would have if they’ve known each other for several years. The way the actors act with each other makes you feel as if they’re comfortable with each other but that there are still some walls up, which I believe is intended. I can believe that Charlie doesn’t want to anger his wife and that Laura always has the upper hand in arguments and conversations. because of her emotions. You can feel as if she always gets her way because all Charlie wants is to make his woman happy.
These old walls have brought them to this moment where Charlie never stepped up and handled his wife’s issue. Because of his possible fear of angering his wife. As a married woman, this is my opinion of the matter but also all I can think of is how did they let this issue go this far?
It’s up to the audience to decide who was right and who was wrong. Who won the temptation game? Can a woman viewer understand the side of the man, Charlie? Was it just of Laura to test her husband? Can a male viewer understand the side of the woman? These are the questions that “The Temptation Game ” leaves us with. Why can’t we communicate clearly and end manipulating each other even the people we hold dearest to our hearts, our partners in life? Is that love?
I believe the reason The Temptation Game was showcased at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 and won a Remi Award at the Houston International Film Festival in 2016 is because it leaves its audience questioning what their motives are in their own relationships.
What problems do you have that you’re not bringing up and not communicating clearly? The questions and thought “The Temptation Game” leaves on its audience are real life issues and questions in our everyday romantic relationships in an age where love seems to be hard to understand. “The Temptation Game” is personal with its audience.
You can check out “The Temptation Game” on Vimeo.