Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holding The Man (Australia)

Timothy Conigrave’s bestselling memoir Holding the Man, an intimate account of his 15-year relationship with lover John Caleo, was published in 1995 and adapted into an award-winning stage production in 2006. This time the script gets moved into a cinematic version. I have neither read the book , nor have I seen the play , so I will be able to judge the film as standalone. Even if I thought the movie was a little confusing, it does give you a feeling of what AIDS involves and how it effects loved ones.

At 16, Tim, a budding actor has hots for his classmate John, who also happens to be this aggressive soccer player. This is in 1976 in Melbourne when being gay was probably not the easiest thing. Anyway the two start having an affair and are really too much into one another. Their parents soon find out, when John’s father discovers a love letter written by Tim to John. They are forbidden to meet each other but true love knows no bounds. Time moves and they are in college and are very happy with each other. But this is when Tim feels that should they take a break from each other or at least see if they can have fun with other people; an idea that is completely rejected by John. So they take break from each other. Tim join uni and has lots of fun with many guys around him but soon he realises that his true love is only for John. Years later when the AIDS epidemic hits country, the two men are devastated to find out that they are both positive. They have been together 15 years by now. Both John and Tim think that it is probably John who gave them the virus until later when we find outfit it was probably Tim who got it first. John’s condition deteriorates at a much faster pace. We see how the parents of the both the boys have come around about their relationship in private except for John’s father. Ultimately John succumbs to death and at his funeral Tim is reduced to just his ‘friend’. John decides to move to an island in Italy, writes his memoirs and dies 10 days later.

The film is definitely moving and touching. Tender love stories which had to got through the horrific phase of AIDS epidemic , if done well can still strike a very emotional chord with the audience and this film certainly did that with me. The story is moving, well crafted and the two men have very likeable chemistry. Having said that I felt that not enough moments were shown between the two men together that could give us a better insight into how their relationship grew over a period of 15 years. Another issue with the film was the non-linear narration. It didn’t seem to serve any purpose. In fact this film should have been told linearly to have much more effect. Back to positive side, the actors did a great job with great chemistry and the direction was handled very sensitively without over-dramatising anything. Neither love, nor parental opposition, nor the homophobia; which I liked. I have seen more than a few films which depicts the horror of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS virus in the gay community. This film is definitely one of the better ones.

Don't be afraid that this film may be too hard to take on - it's holds your hand all the way through. Pretty good! (7/10)


Luigi C said...

The Production owes to me couples of Kleenex confections.
Very recommended film. A true story is more tragic than a fiction , isn't it?

Golu said...

absolutely! I have now added my book to my ibooks. will start reading it soon (when i get time after work and watching films)

Jessica McLennan said...

The book is definitely worth reading, and tells a much more vivid picture of living in Melbourne in the 1970s. I particularly felt an affinity to it, because the school that the boys attended is very close to my house, and the real life Tim and John lived in my suburb.

Golu said...

That would make such a personal connection to both the book and the movie :)