I finally watched Weekend, after it sat in my Netflix queue for several months, and I have to say that it is one of the best gay movies I’ve ever seen. That’s not a hard statement to back up because so many gay movies are terrible, but Weekend is also one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time as well. The plot is deceptively simple, two men (Russell, played by Tom Cullen and Glen played by Chris New) meet one Friday night and spend the weekend together. The movie doesn’t take a long time to set up these characters and who they are, we get to know them as they get to know each other over the course of two days, we spend so much time with them that the rest of the world feels abstract. The dialogue is very natural and the actors have nice chemistry, they really capture the hope and vulnerability of meeting someone for the first time. And really that’s what is so great about it, this movie feels real, it feels honest. It’s exciting, and sexy, and awkward, and heartbreaking, and that’s exactly what it’s like when you are trying to figure out where things are going with someone you just met. The rest of the world feels abstract. I’ve never been in a situation exactly like Russell and Glen, or would say that I’m just like one of those characters, but I’d say that I identify with the feelings they have, because they are fully fleshed out characters, because this movie is an intimate portrait of two modern gay men.
In one scene Glen talks about the audience for an art project he is working on, he assumes that straight people won’t care about it because it’s about gay sex and “it’s got nothing to do with their world.” That line stuck with me because the movie is talking about itself. Gay and lesbian cinema is a genre on Netflix so all those movies are lumped together. This label makes it easy to find movies about gay people which is convenient because sometimes I want to watch movies that are about people I identify with. On the other hand I don’t know that labeling a movie about gay people as a ‘gay movie’ will incline average straight people to see it (minus exceptions produced by huge studios that get Oscar nods like Milk or Brokeback Mountain), that these movies have ‘nothing to do with them.’ I only remember seeing Weekend advertised at one small theater in Portland and I missed the run.
I would like to think that a well made movie, with great actors, and honest storytelling would be something anyone would want to see, but anecdotally, I don’t know anyone who has seen this who isn’t gay. But since it’s anecdotal maybe I’m wrong.
These ideas aren’t new, and they stretch across all different mediums. As a gay man who writes I often wonder about how my identity defines the work I produce. But I’m not going to write about that right now, I’m just writing to say that I thought Weekend was an excellent movie and no matter who you are you should consider watching it.