Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Romance
Opens locally on Friday, October 14th, 2011
Run Time: 2 hours, 1 minute, Not Rated
Starring: Tom Cullen, Chris New
Written & Directed by Andrew Haigh (Greek Pete)
"Weekend” is a provocative and honest drama about two people who have a weekend fling, and fall into a complicated romantic situation. The only difference between this and other movies that you may have seen, is that the two in love in this tale are both men.
Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of covering the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and one of the more popular and well-attended events at the festival is “Out Night,” a LGBT-themed night (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans). At this festival, it is common to see movies with these kind of love stories and themes. However, as far as mainstream movie-goers are concerned, there may be a shock-value when you experience movies about gay love, given realistic treatment instead of how homosexuals are usually portrayed, as comic relief on shows like “Will & Grace,” or over-the-top flamboyance like Lafayette on “True Blood.”
“Weekend” then, may not be for everybody who can’t handle the material. For those with more a worldview however, it is a powerfully raw film about feeling comfortable in one’s skin, and about the idea of love versus the actuality of discovering when it’s real. Russell (Cullen) is a modern gay man, who is out, accepted by his straight friends in which he spends a lot of his time. It’s an act, one that many have to put on. The time for freedom and expression comes after hours when he decides to go to a gay club to meet a seemingly random hook-up. There he meets Glen (New), and their weekend fling unexpectedly turns into much more for Russell.
The movie is fascinatingly vulnerable, depicting a real couple facing real problems. Glen isn’t the kind of guy who is going to stay around, even though Russell projects his “perfect mate” image onto Glen, and works hard to change his attitude. It’s a very sad thing in a relationship when one person wants something entirely different than the other. These truths are universal, whether straight, gay, or otherwise. The movie does a lot right in addressing these universal themes of love, loneliness, and rejection, opening up a few doors to a lifestyle that is still taboo to many of us.
Despite fine performances, especially from Tom Cullen, “Weekend” seems to take nearly as long as the title implies. It is paced very slowly, very deliberately, and I never quite understood the attraction between the two men, as Glen is not painted as a good guy by any means. Maybe that was part of the attraction, just the sheer loneliness of both men, happy to find a companion if for only a weekend. But chemistry is important in any relationship, and it is lacking here.
See “Weekend” if you have an open mind, which you should…it is 2011 after all. It is graphic, and real. It just probably isn’t the best or most memorable film tackling the subject of gay romance
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