REVIEW: Weekend

10 03 2012

In a year that saw “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits” make light of sex’s role in determining the fate of a serious relationship, it’s very refreshing to see the dark and honest underside of those movies in “Weekend.”  Andrew Haigh’s British realist tale of two men (yes, get over it) attempting to determine what their one-night stand really means is a very illuminating film about assessing their values and priorities.  No matter your sexual orientation, the movie speaks to the tortured and uncertain romantic desires in all of us.

The characters, Tom Cullen’s Russell and Chris New’s Glen, are so lucidly and poignantly realized that their candid conversations never seem the tiniest bit fabricated.  Haigh’s intimate, fly-on-the-wall filming strategy pays dividends as we feel a part of the discussion, a third character in the narrative with no lines.  The naturalism is effortless, the execution practically flawless.

“Weekend” is mostly told in poignant shots and informal conversations, parts that seem small but ultimately add up to something big.  As Russell and Glen sort through their past, their commitments, and their futures, they start to get at the core of some very important questions for all couples to ask themselves.

Of course it wasn’t Academy-friendly because neither of the characters died – yes, this is real – but the real accomplishment of “Weekend” is to make a movie that speaks to the problems that all relationships face without ignoring or glossing over the particular challenges that face homosexuals in 2011.  It doesn’t shy away from some raw images, so if that makes you uncomfortable, then maybe this isn’t the movie for you.  But if you want to see the movie of 2011 that best captures humanity between the sheets, then this is definitely one to add to your Netflix queue.  B+

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One response

16 03 2012
Andrew

Bravo, Marshall. This got sadly overlooked last year; I only managed to catch it on Instant just before December ended, and only then because I noticed the AV Club gave it some love. And man does it deserve it. This is pretty daring stuff, a film that really puts its balls out there– so to speak, and ignoring the obvious jokes based on the subject matter– and doesn’t apologize for being as cutting, honest, and graphic as it is.

The thing about it is that while it speaks loudest to homosexual audiences, heterosexuals can still get plenty out of its more universal examinations of commitment. Apart from confronting a world that generally looks down on the union between same-sex couples, there’s plenty our central pair discusses that can be translated into a hetero-centric relationship.

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