Sam is in his mid-50s, an artist and lives in his NY apartment. He lives in the survivor guilt, which becomes evident later, while he used to go to funerals twice a week in youth while his friends were dying of AIDS. He decides to make a documentary on his close friend who also happened to author the book called ‘After Louie’. But Sam’s friends have their own views about this project. One evening Sam picks up a 29 something Braeden in a bar and pays him money in the morning for sex. This is Sam’s way of escaping. Only later he spends more time with him (a combination of sex and hanging out), that he finds out that Braeden has a boyfriend and they are in an open relationship. Sam lashes out to Braeden accusing his generation of being ungrateful and casual and everything and in the fact that there is no more community left. Sam and Braden both put forward their views on being gay then and now and how things have changed but the bitterness and anger in Sam remains and its never clear what is he really upset and angry about. When his closest gay friends declare that they got married, instead of being happy for them, he is completely disappointed. With the help of his friends and mentor, Sam finally gets a hold on reality and himself and appreciates and thanks Braeden for being part of his life. Sam now needs to move on and accept that times have indeed changed and maybe its time for him also to move on.
Firstly, lets talk about performances. Every actor in the film acts really well, especially Alan as Sam. He beautifully portrays in a very controlled fashion the role of a 50 something gay man, who has seem so much and cant get adjusted to changes around him. He is trying to hold onto youth by being with younger guys for sex but he pays them so he can keep himself emotionally detached. Braeden brings a very interesting contrast, especially when he stands up to Sam by pointing out Sam's refusal to acknowledge that his struggles have in fact yielded progress, and actually expressing his gratitude. Braeden’s boyfriends character was something I would have liked to explore more. Why was he HIV positive, why was Sam not ok with that fact, and why does Sam actually hang out with him? There were a few places where the film seemed a bit dragging, unnecessarily, making m e ask my favorite question about whats the point behind all this. The scene where Braeden and Sam paint each other’s body or when Sam films Braeden and his boyfriend or in fact when Sam writes names of dead friends on a wall. As I mentioned earlier, the idea of the subject is very new and sincerer and I feel, the screenplay could have been much better. There is a lot of scope here and I would really like to see someone do a much better rehash of this.
Its not a bad film at all, but had the potential to be much more. Great performances but a weak storytelling keeps the fils a bit underwhelming. Still, The makers honesty in dealing with something like this is still remarkable. (6/10)