Set in early 90's, Jacques is a 30-something writer who lives in Paris with his son. We are very casually told that he has AIDS but for now he is healthy and regularly goes on dates with younger guys but doesn't have sex. He is constantly wondering if ever now in his remaining life he will ever deserve true love. One of his closest friends is his neighbor and fellow writer. In parallel we are introduced to Arthur, a 20 year old young college student who has a girlfriend but is exploring his sexuality with boys too. On a work trip, where one of his plays is being produced, Jacques meets Arthur in a cinema hall and they both have instant chemistry. They hang out and have an amazing time and they continue to keep in touch via letters. In the meantime, his dying ex-boyfriend comes to live with him for few days and that gives us a glimpse of his past slightly. Arthur is completely bestowed upon by Jacques and wants to be with him but Jacques is stand-offish, as if protecting himself from getting attached. Jacques health starts deteriorating soon around the time when Arthur plans to visit him in Paris. Not to break his heart, Jacques first refuses but finally gives in to his love and admiration that Arthur brings with him in his last few dying days.
The film is poignant but a lot of stuff is left for the audience to figure out. Sometimes, I felt that even the chronology was a bit off and none of the relations between lot of characters is well explained. Why does Jacques have a son, who is the young boy whom he occasionally goes out with. how and why did Arthur start exploring sexuality with men etc. Given that the film is tad bit long with over 2 hours of running time, you would think these things would be clear but instead a lot of time of time is spent in moments and events that may stick with you. This would be liked by some people but others may find it slightly annoying. Some sequences are stretched out to the point where even the dramatic eventually becomes banal. Although others like the first meeting of the guys and their playful banter of wanting to spend time with each other reminds you of first love. On a positive note, the acting is brilliant by all principal actors and they share an amazing chemistry. You wait for things to happen but not much does. The story had potential had the screenplay and direction focussed more on the characters rather than situations.
The film seems personal to the director, which is fine, and I respect that but I also expected that something major will happen. The moments of tenderness, emotions are good. The film could have been awesome but stops shy of just being an average fare. (5/10)