by Rich Moreland, September 2018
Once again New Sensations teams up award-winning filmmakers Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell and the result is another Hollywood-worthy motion picture. Produced by Scott Taylor, “Love in the Digital Age” is a romantic comedy starring Gia Page, Kenna James, Mona Wales, Tyler Nixon, Logan Pierce, Small Hands, and Marcus London.
The DVD also offers a BTS, photo gallery, and trailers highlighting other New Sensations productions. It can be ordered here.
[Photos in this review are credited to photographer Jeff Koga and director Jacky St. James]
* * *
Jacky St. James’ latest romantic comedy is all about our tech driven age and the sexual hookups it offers us. Take notice of the montage of social media images that begin the film as we hear in voice over,
“Social media is how we connect now. Everything is at our fingertips. Why should we ever feel like we need something else?”
That question sets in motion a porn film that is as much social commentary as it is “doggie” and “cowgirl.” Be prepared for a thoughtful look at today’s online dating scene and the love, authentic or otherwise, that emerges out of it.
Four superbly shot sex scenes explore the realities of modern romance Jacky St. James presents in her script. Kenna James, Gia Paige, and Mona Wales fire up the screen with female pleasure that is a far cry from gonzo’s “rough her up” sex. But more on that in the next post.
First, let’s take a look at what the film is all about.
Testing a Theory
Lizzie (Kenna James) lives with her mom Janine (Mona Wales). The household welcomes a newcomer, Lizzie’s cousin Sara (Gia Paige). Sara has just dumped her boyfriend whose insensitivity trashed her on social media.
From there the story develops around a “theory,” as Janine proposes it, that the girls can’t survive without their cell phones. In return, Lizzie and Sara insist that Janine get a smart phone and go to dating apps to find a love life. She has, after all, been a “weird single lady” since “dad left,” Lizzie says, and celibate far too long.
The adventures from there are humorous and filled with carnal desire. But there is a deeper message in Jacky’s film. As the narrative progresses, she touches on subtle examples of how modern life is consumed by social media.
Here are some highlights.
After they agree to give up their phones, Lizzie and Sara drive to a bar, not an easy task because Lizzie doesn’t know how to get there without her phone’s GPS.
Sitting at the bar, the girls are listless. Boredom quickly sets in. No phones; no fun. They’ll have to create their own.
The bartender is mixing drinks and checking out his phone at the same time, something that fascinates Lizzie. She never noticed him before, of course, because she was always engrossed in her own phone. From her perspective, Sara observes that the people in the bar remind her of zombies attached to their phones and she feels out-of-place.
To occupy her time, Lizzie wanders outside to the bar’s patio and lights up a cigarette. She meets Jeremy (Small Hands) who muses that two friends in the bar are arguing and texting at the same time. It’s a comment on multitasking with a downside.
Jeremy, who doesn’t have a mobile phone, tells Lizzie, “We have our heads down so much we miss what is right in front of us.” In other words, too often social interactions are cell phone dependent at the cost of real human expression.
Never More Connected
“Love in the Digital Age” also addresses other issues technology has brought into our lives. One is the internet’s impact on our privacy. Another is somewhat more egregious: when we worship at the altar of technology, we sacrifice our imagination.
But all is not lost. Without a cell phone, Sara must learn to negotiate a landline setup to talk with her new-found love interest, Griff.
They’ve already communicated through letter writing (the earliest form of texting, by the way) and have moved to the next step. She doesn’t know what he looks like, of course, he’s just a voice on the other end of the wire. But she draws on her imagination to picture Griff and admits she’s never felt more connected to someone than she does to him.
Sara later confesses to Janine, “You can’t get to the heart of who a person really is online.”
The older woman is on board with that conclusion, but must explore dating apps as part of their deal. She’s now learning what technology offers.
When her weekend with Griff heats up (it’s Easter, by the way, the season of renewal and rebirth), Sara is immensely happy. “I was just living my life in real-time with someone I was getting to know the old-fashioned way.” Despite her upbeat revelation, Sara’s remark is a scalding comment on what we’re losing in this modern digital age.
The Sum of the Entire Picture
There is much more to this story. We see an older couple, Janine and Mark (Marcus London) navigate their more traditional relationship and witness how Lizzie’s face-to-face meeting with Jeremy generates an immediate connection. And not surprisingly, the Sara/Griff romance takes a rocky turn that delves into how technology fosters deception and embarrassment.
The voice over that ends the film simultaneously warns and reassures the viewer about our digital world. They are Sara’s words.
“We should remember that the things we hear or read online aren’t always the sum of the entire picture. If you want to know someone, really know someone, I suggest you do it the old-fashioned way.”
Jacky St. James wants us to understand that human interaction does not differ from generation to generation regardless of the platforms we use. Technology may move us forward, but the basics remain in place. For better or worse, social media, whatever its form, reflects our maturity, compassion, and values.
Mobile phones are designed to co-exist with traditional living, not redefine or overtake it. They can enrich personal connections and, on the flip side, be used in emotionally destructive ways. But whatever our conclusions about that handheld device, it can’t and doesn’t replace real human contact and the feelings that go with it.
This is the wisdom of “Love in the Digital Age.”
* * *
In Part Two, we’ll look at the sex scenes (this is a porn film don’t forget!) and Eddie Powell’s cinematography.
Watch the trailer compliments of New Sensations.