Ladymol's Review

I think Iím probably the only person who has ever liked this film! Yes, the cast canít act (except one notable exception); yes, the plot is minimal; yes, itís lighting and staging sometimes look amateur, but I sat glued to it the whole way through and loved it!

Three best friends decide to go away for the weekend to celebrate one guyís birthday. They bring along their respective partners. One relationship is six years down the line and very rocky, two have known each other for three months and are thinking moving in together, two have just had a one-night stand.† Things get even more complicated when the weekend brings out hidden secrets and relationships.

One of the main reasons I really enjoyed this film was the performance of James Dreyfus. Fellow Brits amongst you may know him as Constable Goody in The Thin Blue Line Ė hardly something to judge his acting talents on. In this, he utterly steals the show. Heís charismatic, moody, catty, loving: emotions turning on a dime. I couldnít take my eyes off him.

I really got involved in the respective relationships and wanted them to work out.

So, although Iím not a fan of British movies in general, this is a little quirky exception.

If youíre feeling mellow, want a generally feel good film where everything revolves around gay themes, then get this one!

Cerisaye's Review

Iíve seen enough low budget gay movies to discount their obvious limitations.† This one has the bonus of being British and features an all-gay cast.† I havenít been impressed by our domestic movies so far, with the exception of Beautiful Thing, but the film is okay.† Maybe I was in the right mood, after Shiner.† Perhaps a few glasses of Spanish red helped too.†

The story is about relationships.† Their ups & downs, with emphasis on the latter.† Nominally a gay movie it has cross-over appeal as thereís little sex or nudity or even bad language.† With the exception of Andrew Ableson and his saturnine good looks the actors are boys-next-door ordinary.

Shot for £27,000 in real locations using mostly unknowns (James Dreyfus the only familiar name, far from cute & camp TV roles which goes to show how openly gay actors are sadly typecast), with a partly improvised script, itís realistic and very English.†

The characters are happy being gay, which is nice.† The issue here isnít sexuality but finding love and making it work.† Are gay relationships the same as straight partnerships or do they need their own rules of engagement?† The usual questions about monogamy and the difference between sex & love apply.† There are three couples, one half of each boyhood chums. Theyíre late 20s/early 30s, except for the baby of the group, 10 years younger and the catalyst in the interplay over a weekend together in the country.†

By concentrating on the immediate relationship tangle, the film under-develops the characters. They talk incessantly but donít really listen to each other.† I suppose failure to communicate is the point being made, the way words donít mean anything unless actions back them up.† But it goes on too long, despite real emotional moments.† One highlight is a quickie in the woods with Owen and a passing stranger.† Owen had my sympathy, as drippy boyfriend Matt is a total pain.

Itís Paulís birthday celebration, and the weekend retreat belongs to brother, Mark, who died 3 months earlier.† Paulís 5 year relationship with Ben is in trouble.† We know this because he nastily blows smoke over Benís ailing houseplant.† Clunky symbolism that highlights a lack of polish that weakens the film.† Matt and Owen have been together just 3 months.† Based on what we see, probably not for much longer:† Mattís form of love is the smothering kind and Owen has his own agenda.† Will and Adam had a one-night stand that Will wants to make something more.† But Adam is 10 years younger and cheekily promiscuous.† Heís the comic relief, hopping in and out of bed willy nilly

Far from perfect though it is, I enjoyed the film.† Easy to forget in our gay-friendly bubble that not everyone shares our views.† This movie shows gay relationships are the same as straight ones with similar pressures and mistakes, the key to love & happiness openness, honesty and trust.† If you donít expect too much, you might get something from it.

Buy Boyfriends [1996] from Amazon