The Woman Down the Street
Charlie Boyd (Harrison Gilbertson) is a sixteen-year-old boy with raging hormones who has just discovered that his mother is having an affair with his father’s best friend. The only thing that seems to take his mind off of that is the mysterious woman who lives down the street. Visitors are always coming to and going from her house. She has also just advertised for a gardener but then a tragic family event caused him to forget her and Charlie is in such pain that he does not think he will ever be the same or that anyone can help make it easier for him.
He learned he was wrong. Maggie (Emmanuel Beart), a French singer, who is beautiful professional, and specializes in pain enter his life. Maggie knows all about giving, exploring and sharing pain and she does so for money. Charlie falls in love with her and in spite of her self so does she. She is drawn to this troubled boy who takes all the pain she can give and uses it to heal himself.
Maggie is a beautiful dominatrix, who teaches Charlie the seductively beautiful side of pain and how it can heal his emotion wounds. What begins as a perverse game quickly turns into a taboo love affair— Charlie learns to control his pain at home and in the bedroom and now he is tempted to turn his new power back onto the mistress who taught him everything he knows.
It all began when Charlie comes home one day to find his father in the garage, hanging by a noose. He blames his dad’s suicide on his mother Kate (Rachael Blake), who has been carrying on with another guy.
Charlie talks himself into a job as Maggie’s gardener and the two begin a relationship of sorts. How far it goes is open to each viewer’s interpretation. It all begins slowly and the wonderful camera work emphasizes that. It just happened that Charlie was in a need of an outlet for his frustrations and Maggie came along at just the right time. He met her in a park and followed her home and of course, he had no idea that she was a professional dominatrix. Charlie was not a “typical client” but once Maggie let him into her life, the two of them begin an unconventional friendship that includes aspects of parenting as well as a mistress/slave relationship.
There are surrealistic aspects to the film yet we get a sense that we are stuck between a romance and treatment that is somewhat detached from reality. Perhaps some might see it odd that Charlie has a love interest with a woman old enough to be his mother and we cannot help wondering why some kind of girlfriend of his own age is not seen in the film. Maggie also has her own baggage—she is dealing with her own issues and with Charlie’s conflict with his mother. Maggie’s compassion for Charlie obviously comes from having had her own young son taken from her by child protection services. Charlie is grieving over the death of his father and relishes attention and Maggie just happens to be the person to mediate the mother/son relationship that is played down here. We are very aware of the fact that a confrontation with one’s dark side can be both therapeutic and necessary but it is a bit audacious to see Maggie dressed in black and treating men, and that includes Charlie, like dogs.