Most people would read a message from someone who calls himself The Duke and immediately delete it. Most people you meet online who call themselves The Duke are also probably not handsome businessmen with huge lakehouses. If this had turned into a catfishing movie, I would have been a lot more entertained. But of course Delaine starts a phone relationship with this guy, who orders her to do things like take her clothes off in front of a window and date a younger guy, all under the pretense of liberating her. That’s right, Delaine becomes empowered by having a guy order her over the phone to get on her knees and beg for forgiveness while calling him “Sir.” Did you not know this movie would be about feminism? You silly bean.
The younger guy Delaine ends up dating is Payton (Wesley Morgan), a 24-year-old who shows up to their first date looking like he just left a frat party. Delaine’s just supposed to use him as her sex toy, but I don’t think she ever makes that clear to Payton, who buys her earrings on their three-month anniversary and wants to meet her kids. Oops, 24-year-old men have feelings and stuff? Awkward. Before I move on from the Payton storyline, I should mention that The Duke has Delaine take him to a sex club, which is less Eyes Wide Shut and more just a sleazy-looking warehouse where nobody makes it past second base. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.
Once Delaine gets rid of that pesky Payton and his emotions, she starts wanting to hook up with The Duke. And also to ask him for business advice, because like every Lifetime movie heroine ever, she wants to start an online interior design business. While her kids are with her husband’s family for Thanksgiving, Delaine makes a trip to Seattle to talk business and be sexually submissive. Just to make that clear, this woman spends Thanksgiving away from her children and spends money on a trip to Seattle so some creeper she met online can tell her, “You will not wear panties in my presence.” Oh, and he also makes her wait around to have sex for an hour while he works silently on his laptop. SEXAY. (The actual sex is like five seconds of them kissing naked under strategically placed sheets. Lord, I got more than that from Petals on the Wind, and even though it was between siblings, that still only got a TV-14.)
But it’s so liberating, and it changes her as a person, you guys! Before she leaves to go home, Delaine and The Duke have an emotional goodbye as they look out over the water behind his house. The hug tenderly, and I think Lifetime wants me to be crying or something? Crying about a woman who is returning to her children after spending the holidays with a man who threatens to walk her around town on a leash to punish her for disobeying him. At this point I was too busy wishing TV movies included some kind of “off” button for excessive voiceover narration. This movie really should have been called Please Shut Up, Delaine.
When Delaine returns home as a changed woman, she starts that online company, and because she’s in a TV movie it becomes successful within weeks. She also gets inspired to have a better relationship with her ex-husband and meets a new man at the party store while shopping for her daughter’s birthday. We’re not told whether or not she’s allowed to wear underwear in his presence. Fingers crossed there’s a sequel so we can get an answer.