Somewhat based on the life of author Anais Nin, this beautifully photographed erotic outing from director Zalman King (Wild Orchids, 9 1/2 Weeks) tells the story of an aspiring American writer who comes to Paris to hone her craft and ends up exploring the full extent of her sexuality. Initially, Elena's dream was to become a writer of serious literature, but that of course does not happen overnight. In the meantime there are expenses to be met, so when a wealthy and extremely handsome French novelist (whom she has been secretly watching every morning as he rows up and down the Seine) offers her a small fortune to write erotic stories, what can she do but accept the offer? She quickly discovers however, that it's difficult to write of life's sensual pleasures when one has not experienced them and so, sets off to educate herself. Her schooling leads her to a variety of steamy situations and locales with an equally broad assortment of tutors. Though filled with all the bells and whistles expected of such a film, which was originally rated NC-17 but later released on video with a tamer R-rated version, King's film has been widely panned by critics as ostentatious, trite, and worst of all, not nearly as sexy as it tried to be.
by Sandra Brennan synopsis