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, November 29, 2018

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (TV Series)

This series also took me a while to finish watching. Given the predecessor of season 1, I had naturally quite high expectation of this series and I have to say that they were all met to a large extent but somehow something was missing. Its hard to point out exactly what, but its still a very worthy watch and a very good use of time.

The series starts with Versace being murdered by who we later find is called Andrew Cunanan. Pretty soon we are told that this is not the first murder that Andrew has done and there have been a series of murders behind this. In a series of flashbacks, the story gets unfolded layer by layer. Andrew had an encounter with Versace seven years ago and since then he can't stop bragging about it. Uber handsome and very intelligent and charming, Andrew is always the heart of a party. In the next few episodes, we see who Andrew really is and the details of how and why he murders  Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin (Lee used to hire Andrew as an escort); his old friend Jeff Trail by hammer blow while he is living with his boyfriend Daniel. Daniel is the only person whom according to Andrew , he truly loved even while he was escorting with older gentlemen. But having witnessed murder of Jeff by Andrew, It shakes up Daniel completely and eventually Andrew kills Daniel as well. And now the hunt begins for him especially after a high profile murder. In between all this, we all see the issues and relationships between Versace and his sister Donatella and Versace with his lover Antonio of 13 years, the first person to find Versace's body. When finally authorities corner in Andrew, he shoots himself.

The series was very engaging. I personally love crime thrillers and having no knowledge of these events, i thoroughly enjoyed watching the series. Having said this, the central character was indeed Andrew Cunanan and not Versace. I think it was only 3-4 episodes that focused on Versace, who by the way was shown according to me a very simple yet boring man. I would have expected the man to have more colour and drama but anyway. Most other episodes focussed on Cunanan and his story and history and the other murders he had done, the who's and why's of it all. The lack of Versace's character was more than made up by the absolutely brilliant portrayal of Andrew Cunanan. I mean the actor has done such a splendid job, you just cant take you eyes of him. Be it his love for Daniel, or all the times he escorts with older gentlemen, the way he dances when he is alone, the way he tries to charm Versace or impress his father. He is just brilliant throughout. Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martion as Donatella and Antonio were strictly ok according to me. To be honest they didn't really have much to do but Ricky Martin felt was struggling in his scenes. Cunanan was gay and how he struggled to keep a lavish lifestyle without having to ever work was the brilliance that his mind had. The series end made me have fixed feelings. I felt “Is this it?” But at the same time, I’m not sure what else there could be.

As I mentioned before, the series doesn't come close to season 1 about OJ Simpson and the ride of the series is uneven and bumpy. But i am always a sucker for stories including string gay characters and backdrops and this series more than made up for this. (7/10)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Gay Short Films : 60

Impar (Mexico) [Uneven]
An old sock with no pair falls in love with an attractive young boy. The boys uses it to jerk-off and throws it off till it finds a new home. Weird yet funny!

Searching for Love (USA)
Story of a gay man looking for love within the ever changing landscape of queer culture.  Throughout the story, Jack develops a unique relationship with a dating app, which in the end is what leads him to a powerful lesson about the search for love.

The Forest (USA)
A novice hiker is exploring a lush forest with the help of a smart phone application and encounters a mysterious and sexy stranger. An innocent exploration of the forest becomes a much more dangerous and exciting experience. Its a parallel drawn to the quick anonymous hookup culture.

Fuck Yes - Threesome (USA)
When a gay couple is sure/unsure of getting into threesome; this short shows importance of improved and clear communication for consenting adults.

Regalo de despedida (Spain)
Two men who were couples meet again in the hospital and remember the moments they were together, full of beautiful details. They both remember what was and could have been.

Pedazos (USA)
After a bizarre ceremony, two lovers are condemned to live in a cave inhabited by flying creatures in this surreal tale about repressed love.

Été (UK)
A simple story set in the countryside. A sheap shearer has an attraction to a co-worker but it seems that he does not know hot to confront his one-sided feelings.

Sailor's Delight (France)
An animation film about a mermaid trying to seduce two sailors but everything is not going to happen as expected. Sailors are gay and they in turns capture mermaid.

Killer Friends (USA)
This was actually a funny film. Four friends go on a camping trip that one won't be coming back from alive.

Mój koniec swiata (Poland) [The End of My World]
Eryk leaves Filip and disappears without a trace after few years together. Heartbroken Filip convinces himself that the end of the relationship is also the end of his world. He doesn't know yet that a new day is going to bring many reflections, changes and ground-breaking decisions.

Whats Up with Adam? (UK)
Adam is a confused college student who begins to help his classmate Toby with french lessons. He is attracted to Toby but his best friend wants him to hook up with a girl. Will Adam confess his attraction to Toby?

Mr. A (USA)
A curious teenager finds his teacher's profile on a gay internet dating site. His daring fantasies have serious consequences for both.

The Mess He Made (USA)
The longest 15 minutes of a man's life as he awaits the news of his HIV results. He fucked up, and in the process may have just changed his life. A simple yet powerful short film by an amazing performance by lead actor.

Boyfriend (USA)
You've met the perfect guy and he seems wonderful with amazing chemistry but something is holding him back. Of course, he has a boyfriend!

Call Your Father (USA)
On Josh and Greg's first date, they quickly realize that the generational divide between them. Greg is the older nice guy who will not standup against the obnoxious, I know it all, millennial Josh. A brilliant and relatable film.

The Signs (USA)
A girl tries to flirt with a mute guy, only to find out through sign language by another guy that the first guy was gay.

Trophy Boy (USA)
James, a sexy, youthful instagram star in high-society and self-proclaimed 'Trophy,' is dumped by his wealthy benefactor. Now he must learn that the real world is not the facade he's built for himself on social media. Wonderful!

Debut (Croatia)
A young farmer dreams of becoming a football star. But before pursuing his ambition on the pitch, he must face the truth about who he really is.

Writhing (USA)
Part work of ethereal realism, part dance film, this contemporary-set short follows a young man facing the probability of an HIV+ diagnosis. Another film about the subject and how an individual reacts to the whole possibility.

Je T'aime - a Musical (France)
Johannes is about to move to London with his girlfriend. At the last moment he realizes he  is actually in love with someone else, a priest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Jonas (French) [Boys]

The english title 'Boys' for the wider audience is a bad and such a common title, that it doesn't tell us anything. Now that I have gotten this out of my mind, lets focus on the film which focuses on Jonas over two timelines which is a decade apart. An event from his teenage years haunts him with the guilt he’s carried around since being a teenager.

Jonas is a 30 something troubled young man. He picks up fights at the popular gay bar and sleeps around. His boyfriend has had enough of it and ultimately dumps him. But all this volatile behaviour has something to do with his past. Meanwhile we also see that Jonas has been stalking this young man everywhere but we don't see the connection until later. Flash back to 1997 when Jonas as a teenager meets the rebellious new student Nathan. Jonas immediately has crush on Nathan and they become good friends. The friendship. and eventually curios love blossoms and is depicted quite well. When they share their first kiss, the sparks are immediately felt. But a serious incident happens where Nathan gets kidnapped or murdered, we will never know and Jonas was the only one with him that night. Finally we see the connection that this young man is Nathan's brother and all Jonas is trying to seek is forgiveness.

This movie is a very emotional yet charged movie. Its hard to even imagine the pain that Jonas must be going through to pick up all the fights and behave the way he does. The director teases out the answers slowly and carefully, capturing our hearts even before the full picture comes into focus. The acting is brilliant by everyone. Everyone is so good, especially the guy playing Jonas that you feel you’re experiencing the film’s events as if you were walking in his shoes. As a teenager he’s shy, lacking in confidence and a bit awkward but always very endearing. As an adult he’s a lot harder, visibly troubled and struggling to move on with his life. Our life gets shaped by events that happen with us and this movie is a wonderful example of that. My one big problem with this film is the finale. It felt a bit rushed and I would have loved to see some kind of closure.

This film is not going to disappoint you. You will want to know what's going on and why Jonas behaves the way he does. You wonder how his life would be today, if the said incident did not happen. A movie succeeds when it makes you think and this film does a wonderful job of it. You just need to be patient. (7/10)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

M/M (German / French)

This film is a good example of self absorption and sexual obsession. And no I didn't mean this for the characters but for the makers who keep going on and on about saying whatever they were trying to say through this film.

Matthew, a young Canadian, now lives in Berlin but is too lonely and isolated in the new strange city. He meets Matthias online, an attractive, seemingly interesting young man with the body of a God and the swagger of a bad boy. Matthew soon becomes obsessed with Matthias, so much that even after hooking up with him, he is not satisfied and wants to be him. When an accident puts Matthias in coma, that presents Matthew a perfect opportunity. In a coma in the hospital, Matthias’ waking life, dreams and memories blur. The film emds with Matthias coming back home and now Matthew and Matthias spending all time together, very similar to each other. But is it reality of dream?

The film is so full of repetitions of dreams, techno music, serial hook-ups, random geometric objects, that you keep checking how much longer this film is gonna go on. In fact during the entire film, after a while you fail to even care what's real and whats dream. This was pure self-absorption. How can anyone like this film when you don't even know what you are supposed to be watching. There are barely any spoken dialogues. The only one good thing about this film is the gorgeous greek god Matthias. My god! He is so deliciously handsome, its unfair. A perfect cast for the enigmatic Matthias. Matthew was ok.

I would not recommend watching this film at all. Almost nothing is good about this film. (2.5/10)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Malila: The Farewell Flower (Thai)

This is a film that looks at death from different perspectives with the pretext of a very gentle gay romance. It is about the invisible scars in the soul of a man and how he seeks redemption through Buddhism. The film has amazing visuals and starts off very promising. The cinematography is just brilliant. But I felt somewhere in latter half, I had personally lost the interest that was generated in the first half.

Pitch is a young man who is a skilled craftsman in making baisri, elaborate, multi-tiered floral ornaments made from jasmine and banana leaves. He has cancer and after trying for therapy in Bangkok and also herbal way, he has now moved back to his village. His belief is that overtime he makes baisri, he gets better. He meets his old love Shane, a rural farmer and they reconnect. Shane was married but when his girl was killed by a python, he started drinking heavily and his wife left. The two men rekindle their love and however hard they try, they cant escape death. Shane wows to become monk, hoping that maybe that will help Pitch. Destiny has something else in store. Pitch passes away and Shane is now a practicing monk. We then follow him as he treks into forests to practice meditation.The ending is a bit vague after Shane feels that he has finally one last time reconnected with Pitch via meditation on a rotting corpse.

The first half of the film is magic. It needs patience. The film moves really slow but the magical designs of the baisri are to die for. Those floral arrangements are so intricate and delicate, it just mesmerizes you. The film is about love and a bit the suffering of love. The guys being gay is never an issue, more because no one knows about them. But this is about love embracing death. Its through mention of witches, rotting corpses, python and Pitch's death scares that we see different pretexts of death. As an actor Shane does an amazing amazing job. His character is a man haunted by death; not his own, but of those he loves (first daughter and then lover). He walks around with a weight on his shoulders, unable to comprehend the harsh truth of life, that we all sometimes wish was eternal. The second half gets a little too slow and preachy for my taste and I wish it was either trimmed down or something more substantial had happened. The high that the first half created was let down for me in second half. The story has been handled with grace and warmth and a gentle yet reassuring touch about life and death. The film , in my opinion, has a lot of metaphors , which unfortunately, I am not smart enough to comprehend but I can totally see how and why some movie critics would go gaga over the film. No wonder this was Thailand's official nomination for oscars as well.

If the pace of the film was better, especially in second half, I would have rated this film very high. But still how does on deal with their own imminent death and how does the loved ones deal with it after you are gone, is something that gets a new meaning with this really profound, heart-touching gay love story. (6.5/10)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Akron

Sometimes simple is beautiful and powerful. This small budget film, whose name I have not heard anywhere at all, is a beautiful love story, where our lead protagonists kist happen to be in gay and in love. This could very well have been about a straight couple, because the focus is on love and relationship and the challenges. The fact that the boys are gay is never ever discussed or is ever a point of contention and I absolutely loved this fact about this small-indie yet beautiful film.

The film starts when a young mother accidentally runs over a small boy who's walking with his brother and his mother crying in disbelief. Years forward, we now meet Benny studying for medicine in university of Akron. He meets Christopher, who was born in Akron but later moved to Florida with his mom. They soon fall head over heels in love with each other and Benny's parents also love Christopher. They decide to go to Florida on their spring break. Just before the trip, when Christopher is at Benny's house, he finds that Benny had an elder brother who was killed in a road accident. Christopher realizes that it was his mom who was responsible but keeps his mouth shut. In Florida, when Christopher's mother realizes this, she cant help but tell the truth to Benny. Benny is devastated and he decides to come back to Akron. Realizing that Christopher knew about this and still chose to not tell Benny makes him want to break from him as well. Benny's parents see their miserable but cannot understand why. On prodding, when Benny tells them the truth, they appreciate their son's gesture. But true love cannot be held back for long. They boys soon realize that they miss each other and get back together but this is not liked by Benny's parents. This is when Christopher's mother flies in from Florida, asks for a heartfelt apology from Benny's mother and begs her to forgive so that both their sons could lead a happy life. Benny's father talks with his wife to try harder to forgive past and live in future, finally the love of the boys is accepted by the family.

The first scene of the boy dying in the accident first feels irrelevant until the connections are made and you are shocked and wonder what will happen. The drama is never over the top. Benny processes the new found information and decides to go back home. He doesn't breakup with Christopher because of the accident issues but because Christopher knew and didn't tell him. Benny is deeply divided in his duties towards his grieving yet very very supportive parents vs his love. I personally was hoping that the teens would stay away being responsible individuals and it would be the parents that will bury their hatchet and bring the boys together. I think that would have added a different dimension rather than the above story but this also was very realistic. All the actors seem new and this is what adds to the freshness of the whole love angle. The film clearly reminds one of first love, teen love and innocent love at that – whether gay or straight. And as I mentioned above, there’s something nice about watching a gay relationship treated with normalcy, free of the baggage. The lead actors are both very charming and act really well.

The film will be no game changer. If you ignore the random title that doesn't justify the movie, the movie offers a fresh perspective rather than rehashing done to death gay stories. The 90 minutes breeze by quick and very engaging. It has flaws, like every film, but I am really really surprised why this tiny indie gem of a film is not getting mentioned in more forums. The film definitely deserves to be seen by a lot more people. I urge my followers to please watch this film. (7.5/10)

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Very English Scandal (Mini Series) (UK)

Wow! There are so many real life stories that most of us had no idea about. Thankfully with so many platforms, a few of them come to the screen. This mini series is based on the life of Jeremy Thorpe, who was the leader of the British Liberal Party and his lover (former) Norman Scott. Their's is a very interesting story and these 3 parts of almost one-hour each were very engrossing.

Jeremy Thorpe is a highly educated, upper-class man belonging to a political family. His career was at its peak in 60s and 70s during which he also served as the leader of the Liberal Party. Thorpe meets a scrappy stable boy Norman Scott in the countryside and one year later they sort of begin a relationship. Norman is slightly unstable while Thorpe is a public figure. The relationship doesn't last long and soon Normal is out of his life. But Norman doesn't take it well and goes to ops to file a case against Thorpe against homosexuality which was still illegal in 1960s in UK. but the police covers the case. Meanwhile, with a fellow MP's help, Thorpe keeps financially supporting Norman since all he wants from Thorpe is his National Insurance Card. Thorpe gets married and surprisingly so does Norman after a few years but neither marriage lasts. Thorpe remarries to keep his public profile. But Norman has had enough and he constantly threatens to make this information public making Thorpe want him dead. Eventually his friends help Thorpe in a stupidest plot of killing Norman, which does not go well. Norman is saved and now Thorpe and his allies are charged against murder conspiracy. the case which is shown publicly with full details proves Thorpe as not guilty but his career is finished by then.

This series is surprisingly real yet funny and weird with bizarre twists. If you dig deeply, you will also find it slightly heartbreaking. The 2 men loved each other and I feel they did even till the case was on, and towards to end of the series we se why Thorpe's actually went into a relationship with Norman while others were just one night stands. Hugh Grant playing Jeremy Thorpe is absolutely brilliant. He is eccentric and slightly over the top but apparently thats how the real Jeremy Thorpe was. He is brilliant in the last scenes when he realizes he still loved Norman and his two marriages have actually made him more alone than ever. Norman's character is slightly mysterious. He seems naive, mentally unstable, vulnerable yet fearlessly gay and sometimes dangerous to get things done when they were not supposed to. The whole scene of the hired killer (a local pilot) plan and execution of the attempt to kill Norman is brilliant and funny at the same time. There are so many oddball elements — both funny and shocking — that you sometimes can't believe how strange the lives of Thorpe and Scott actually were. The series was thoroughly engaging and entertaining and in fact if there were a few more episodes and this was stretched out, I wouldn't have mind at all. There are light comic moments plenty spread out in the series. It is a drama as brutally funny, endlessly clever, justifiably confident as its protagonist. Thorpe eventually died in 2014 but Norman is still alive and healthy.

Very strongly recommended. It is informative, partly funny, real story and very very engaging. You will also see some brilliant performances from the lead actors which surely is gonna fetch them some awards. I must say that BBC does far and few series with central gay themes but when they do, they always come up with some brilliant stories. And its scandalous to even imagine that all this happened very publicly in 70s. A very english scandal indeed. (9/10)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cola de Mono (Spanish)

The title of the film as told to us in the film refers to a eggnog-like drink popular in Chile during the holiday season. Later we are also told that it could also be a homophobic slur about anal sex. A story of two teenage brothers, I had some hopes from the film, especially since it started off so well. But it went complete downhill before it regained in last 20-ish minutes. This could have been a decent low budget gay film but some things are not meant to be.

Its Christmas eve in 1986. Borja is a loner teenager who likes to dream about films. Its his passion, just like his father. His elder brother Vincent is a reader and their mother is another oddball. They come together for Christmas eve dinner after which secrets come out. Vincent goes to his friend's home, a lie to cover the fact that he is going to a gay cruising park. While the drunk mother is sleeping, Borja goes through Vincent's stuff in his room and discovers his. gay porn books and jock straps which makes him very horny and he realizes his own sexuality. Vincent gets mugged at the park and comes back home dejected and the brothers have a huge fight over sexuality issues. Borja challenges Vincent on why doesn't he accept who he is rather than denying. While the brothers are talking and find solace in each other, the mother wakes up and hears everything and attacks Vincent. As an instant reflex, Borja attacks his mother. Cut to 1999. Borja is now living with his boyfriend but still has horrid dreams about gay attacks. Finally he goes to visit his family's grave to tell them that he is forever moving to SF to learn film making. But a chance sexual encounter with the cleaner leads to his death as well.

This film could have been a nice erotic thriller but I felt that the director got too much self-absorbed and could not make heads or tale of what he wants to say. Despite great acting, good looking actors, pretty good production quality, the film is let down by a trash script. The scenes where Borja is exploring Vincent's room is stretched way too long just to increase eroticism for no reason whatsoever. There is more than enough penis shots in the film. After a mediocre slowness, the film does pick up pace when the two brothers have a fight. That's a very good scene and paced well but again it slows down with Borja's dreams. The only good things about the film is the 2 extremely charming actors who give it their all but sadly the film itself lets them down.

There are better films that show sudden eruption of suppressed desires and this movie itself could have been a great film. Sadly, the writer and the director got carried away in self-indulgence. (4/10)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Boy Erased

It is very refreshing to see more and more mainstream films being made on queer themes and more actors wanting to take risks in playing roles which otherwise they wouldn't have. I have seen a couple other films on the theme of gay conversion therapy, but this, as far as I know, is the first mainstream film to focus on the subject. Based on the memoirs written by Garrad Conley, this film take us on a journey of a family as they all deal with Garrard's homosexuality.

The film starts with barely 20-something Jared checking into a gay conversion therapy program with his mother Nancy. His father, Marshall, is a priest in Arkansas who constantly reminds his congregation that they are all imperfect people and that only faith can make them whole. Through a series of flashbacks, we get to understand how does Jared reach here. He had a girlfriend but was never really sure of his sexuality. We get to see 2 different encounters:one in which he is raped by a classmate one night in college dorm and the other in which he spends a night with another boy just holding hands and doing nothing more. An anonymous phone call from the college, force Jared to be out and confront his sexuality. On his father's insistence, he agrees to want to change and enroll in the gay conversion therapy program not knowing anything about it. Once inside the program, Jared realizes what exactly is going on. He tries his best to fit it but eventually gives up feeling more comfortable about who he is. Thankfully he gets full support from his mother, who so far was just obeying wishes of his father. Jared leaves home and moves to NY and becomes a famous writer, educating people about his experiences in the conversion therapy program. 4 years pass and his relationship with his dad has not changed. The final scenes show an attempt by both individuals in taking that extra step to resolve the hard relationship that they share.

This film may not be everyone's cup of tea but then this is a very important film. It is slow and hence needs a patient viewing. Russel Crowe does a good job as a conservative but soft-edged father, who is asked to question his bigoted values at last. Nicole Kidman fits well as the supportive mother. The scene stealer is of course Jared, showing so well of all the complications going on inside him. Scenes in the conversion facility are also surprisingly textured and quite detailed. They are restrained but still make your blood boil as audience but not disrespectful. The kids respond in very different ways — some trying to fall in line, others resisting at moments, still others keeping their own counsel — and this seems truthful. But the script fails to give more context to these other members in the camp who would have added more substance. I guess based on the statistics shown at the end credits, the idea is to put an end to such kind of therapy but that will only happen if concerned parents can be convinced that it does more harm than good. And that's why the scenes between Jared and his parents are even more important.

It is scary what we do to ourselves and our families. This is a dramatization of a real life horror. While left a bit on the surface, the eventual transformation of Nancy and Marshall is what sets this film apart. Be patient and watch the film because it has something very important to say. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mario (Swiss German)

If you read the summary of the film which says " a love story of gay footballers", you will think you have seen a few films before on the subject and thats exactly what OI thought too. But the treatment and the focus of this film is different and actually much deeper. The sexuality is not brushed aside but the focus is more on how to deal with it in 2018 and like one man says in the movie that its ok to be gay but not ok for sportsmen. A beautiful love story that grows slowly and ends open ended. I am glad I saw this film.

Mario, early 20s, is the start striker player of his team, highest scorer and has a big chance to being promoted to the main squad. Things change slightly, when another star player Leon from Germany is added to the team. Since he is also a striker, pretty soon him and Mario share an amazing chemistry on the football field. Mario has been so busy with the game that he has not had chance to think about his sexuality but he cannot help but notice the very good looking yet mysterious Leon. For their benefit, the 2 are put in same players flat near college and soon enough they fall for each other after initial denials by Mario. Leon is a confident man and knows what he wants but Mario is struggling hard to balance love and the game. Its not long before rumors start floating and we see how Mario is struggling. The club board calls them both individually with their agents for truth but of course they both deny. Although later, they do tell the truth to their agents and coach promises to support them as long as they can control. One of the team players bullies them, but they keep cool. Leon is clear that he will chose love over football but Mario has other plans. He constantly denies their relationship and even happily agrees to be seen with a girlfriend (his best friend from a long time) to refute the rumors. Things work for Mario when he gets promoted to the main squad but Leon gets suspended for losing his cool and openly admitting to his sexuality in front of the team members. He leaves Mario and Mario now moves to Germany to play but you can see he is torn and cannot forget Leon. Finally Mario decides to visit Leon in hope to rekindle love, but its probably too late by now.

Even though, the film is essentially a love story, the title clearly suggests that we will be seeing this more from Mario's point of view. The actors acting where he portrays the confusion between his affection and desire for Leon and the dream of a potentially great soccer career is superb and this happens on more than one occasion. He never though of love and when love came to him, he wasn't prepared. And hence he always rejects every move from Leon but goes back to him right after, just like their first kiss or their trip and hotel room scenes. Leon is the only one who gets him, and my god, he is soo good looking and handsome. The love in his eyes for Mario is undeniable and he is ready to sacrifice everything to be with Mario because he has enough experience to know that true love doesn't come easily. I did like the fact that the film doesn't judge them for being gay. Be it their agents, or family (except father) or friends; they all are ok with it. What they are not ok with is the fact that they are lovers and playing for same team and no one is ever gonna accept the fact and hence they have to keep it a secret. Also the club has invested too much in Mario, so they also can't completely dismiss him. Some of the supporting characters like Mario's best friend and his mother and are also fleshed out quite well. You may think it's one of the regular run-of the mill gay movies that may titilate but trust me its much deeper. When you drill down below that veneer you experience the real pain and consequence of the real world. Making choices in life is not easy, especially given the homophobia in sports field.

Great chemistry between the leads, very humane moments throughout and a very realistic approach make this film a must watch. The ending is something that not everyone would like, but hey! life is not always about happy endings. Two protagonists choose two very different paths for themselves. Strongly recommended. (8.5/10)

Friday, November 2, 2018

C.R.A.Z.Y. (Canadian French)

This film has been on my list to watch for a long time, especially since it features in a lot of lists that talk about the best LGBT films of all times. And boy , were those lists right. Running over a period of little over 2 hours, its like watching the complete journey of a family. The story of Zac, a young gay man dealing with homophobia while growing up with four brothers and a conservative father in Quebec during the 1960s and 1970s is so well shot and told and you feel intruding into the families life. Sure, the film may not be perfect but it is definitely an amazing film to watch and not feel the love for it.

The film essentially focuses on Zac, fourth son of Gervais and Laurianne, who is born on Christmas eve prematurely. His brothers include Bookworm Christian, shiftless drug addict Raymond, dumb jock Antoine and youngest Yvan (and hence the title). Zac and his father share a very special loving relationship which officially comes to an end when Gervais comes home to find Zac dressed in his mother's clothes. Zac feels he is different and so does the mother but daily prays to god to make him normal. When he does a shotgun joint with his cousin's boyfriend at the age of 15, Zac's confusion starts growing about his sexuality. He doesn't feel comfortable enough to "do it" with his girlfriend Michele with the excuse that it will ruin their friendship. Eventually with strong will and after an accident, Zac begins a relationship with Michelle much to the relief of his father but his relations with Raymond continue downhill. Things are ok till Gervais sees Zac coming out of car with another boy adjusting his crotch and the war between father and son continues. Post his 20th birthday, at his eldest brother's wedding Zac shares another shotgun with the same guy but are seen by a guest who thought they were kissing. Raymond and Gervais overhear this and Raymond gets into a fight. Gervais confronts Zac in the pouring rain, and Zac admittedly comes out, yelling that while he was not kissing Paul, he wished he had been. Gervais asks Zac to leave. Zac flies to Jerusalem to reinvent himself and explore his sexuality. With much guilt and restraint, he does end up sleeping with a guy. He comes back home, only to find Raymond in hospital because of overdose which leads to his ultimate death. After the funeral, Gervais hugs Zac emotionally. and finally father and son will share and accept each other for who they are.

The big focus of the film is on father-son relationship and is very endearing to see it. As parents, in 60s-70s they want what's best for their son and talk at nights on what would be best for them but children want something else. The three actors who play Zac are all brilliant, especially the youngest one. His eyes speak a lot and the look of confusion as a kid when he wants something else for present, but gets something else; who wants to be close to his father and occasionally gets close but is shunned again is beautifully displayed. There is love between the two. An unspoken bond. And Zac wants to do everything that will please his father but how long will he be able to control who he really is. I absolutely loved the fact that the father is not portrayed as a villain here and this shows the strength of screenplay and wonderful acting y all principal characters. How do you accept your sexuality, how do you make your parents and siblings accept who you are, and how do you continue to be a single family unit? These are not easy answers and the struggle can never be understood by anyone who has not had a personal journey like this. Another good thing is that there is never anything shown graphically and its completely plot driven. Its so weird that I am feeling at a loss of words on how much I liked and appreciated the movie. There are so many scenes that touch your heart. You feel for Zac but you also feel for father and his inhibitions. One of the later scenes when Zac finds one of the records in Jerusalem of his father's favorite album is so good. Even though the film is coming-of-age drama and family entertainer; in my view it is very focussed on a father and son. The film could be a much better series, if more focus was also given to other brothers besides Zac and Raymond.

The movie is good not because of a complicated twisty plot but rather really well acted and created characters. A touching portrait of family life, this film is not perfect but I can't imagine why would anyone not like the film. (8/10)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Happy Prince (UK)

We have seen a few film on Oscar Wilde, but this films focusses on the latter part of his life and the his tragic final days. The film's title alludes to the children's story by Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, which Wilde would read aloud to his children. The film shows aspects that at least I wasn't aware of. However, the film shows events in a non-chronological order which means you have to focus really hard to keep up on whats happening.

The film focuses on post 1895 when Wilde was convicted for 2 years for “gross indecency with men.” because of his indiscreet affair with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Once out of the prison, His friends re surprised to find that he has resumed his affair with Bosie, which leads to both his allowance from his wife and Bosie's allowance to get cutt off, leaving them with nothing. This is when Bosie leaves Wilde. This is the time when Oscar neglected his faithful friends Robbie and Reggie when Robbie was actually in love with Oscar. Wilde now has befriended a young Paris rent boy and his young brother and spends most of his time with them. Now his times are spent on death bed, with able support from Robbie and Reggie while his ex-lover Bosie completely ignores him when he needs financial help. The ending is sombre and heartbreaking with his death.

Skipping back and forth across his exile period, this film actually shows us a kind of rough love triangle between Wilde, manipulative Bosie and Robbie, Wilde’s more tenderly devoted literary executor. And this triangle alternately intensifies and dissipates across years and European borders. Apparently the film may not have been based on absolute true facts. Were his final days really that bad and his exile really like the one shown, but the film actually does a good job of paying a tribute to Oscar Wilde. Rupert Everett is amazing in the titular role and he puts all his worth in a role and does an absolutely marvelous job. I am not sure why Robbie would always standby Oscar but people do strange things when it comes to love. All the other actors have also done a great job. There are a quite a few suggestive gay scenes but nowhere there is unwanted nudity which keeps the film's possibility to be seen beyond just gay audience. I am not sure I know enough about Oscar Wilde, but my one issue with the film is I felt he was shown more as a total alcoholic loser, rather bitchy and quite selfish. The film is never less than interesting and often fascinates.

I would recommend to watch this film for the incredible acting and also getting to know what Wilde's final years post exile were like. Having said that, its non-linear format is not everyone's cup of tea. (6.5/10)