Forgive and Forget
David and Theo are best friendsóhave been since school where David looked after and protected the smaller Theo. David now works as a plasterer for his father; Theo works part-time with him and goes to college to study something vague to do with computers.
Theo meets Hanna. Theo falls in love and moves in with her.
Although weíve guessed that Davidís feelings for Theo are more than just friendship, this doesnít actually emerge until he starts loosing him to Hanna.
If you watch this film for no other reason, then watch it for the performance of Steve John Shepherd. Heís not just a pretty faceóalthough he certainly is this. Iíve never seen such nuance of performance before. You could freeze-frame this film and watch his expressions for hours. Each flicker of an eyelid, each quirk of his lips is amazing as he portrays this tortured young man. Davidís world is one of building sites and footballóand you really do have to be British to get just how accurate the building site ďethosĒ (can building sites have an ethos?) is captured here. Itís rough, itís rude, itís bullying heterosexual.
Heís caught in a trap he canít see a way out of: losing Theo, unable to come out, wanting to be happy.
In the most affecting scene in the film, Theo, afraid heís lost Hanna, cries on Davidís shoulder, asking, ďHow do you tell someone that you really love them?Ē I swear you can hear David screaming in his mind, ďI love you; I love you.Ē
This scene is pivotal to the film because David makes a decision that then affects everyone and propels the film towards its conclusion.
Itís very hard to be frank as to whether I could actually say I enjoyed this film without ruining the ending for you.
I do recommend you try and see it. Itís important to support gay cinema. If I wanted to watch a film more than once it would be Latter Days (Iíve already watched that 3 times) or Big Eden.† Steve John Shepherdís acting is worth getting this film for alone.
David and Theo have been best friends forever.† Working class London lads, they do everything together.† Then Theo meets† Hannah and everything changes.†
David works as a plasterer for his dadís building company.† He spends days with fellow labourers, a jolly bunch who make fun of the obviously gay architect Davidís dad brings onsite.† Ironically, one of them, a stocky blond with tan, muscle shirt, nipple rings and boots wouldnít look out of place in a gay bar.† Theyíre the comic relief.
Steve John Shepherd gives an amazing performance as moody, charismatic David.† When heís onscreen you just canít take your eyes off him.† He conveys Davidís pain through looks and body language, increasingly uncomfortable in his skin.† John Simm is convincing as the weedy Theo.† The weak link is the absence of any chemistry between Theo &Hannah, which makes David & Theoís relationship a more believable prospect.
It comes as no surprise when David visits Soho where he picks up men for sex.† As soon as heís had release, David is off, jumpy and ashamed, unable to face what heís done, what he is.
Unrequited love and self-loathing, the pressures of living a lie, are doing Davidís head in.† He gets increasingly morose.† His mother senses something wrong, but he canít talk to her, or his traditionalist, narrow-minded dad.† The high point is a plastering competition between the friends, David working and spreading wet plaster as he longs to do to his mate.
Hannah is such a pain I couldnít feel sympathetic.† A previous lover was a two-timing bastard, so now she thinks all men are the same.† She sees David as a threat.† Well, sheís right there, but itís not what she thinks.
Running throughout is Davidís obsession with a confessional TV show, where people confront relationship problems in front of the cameras.† Then go home prepared to Ďforgive and forgetí.
David gets desperate and resorts to underhanded methods.† He loves Theo.† So much he canít contemplate life without him, doesnít care if Hannah is hurt.† For Theo and Hannah loveís young dream goes sour.
David believes Theo will see who he really wants.† But Theo is straight, and has no idea about his friendís secret love.
As a film about coming out, this is effective and sympathetic.† We see David struggle, painful to watch.† He doesnít want to be gay but canít change what he is.† Knows what the consequences will be if he reveals his secret.† People hurt to discover heís not who they thought he was.† David is so deeply closeted and non-stereotypically gay, no one couldíve suspected.†
When David belatedly realises what his actions have done, spoiling Theoís relationship with the woman he loves, he decides to make amends by appearing on that TV show he loves.† The one where a magic wand is waved and suddenly everyone is happy again. No matter the problem.
I assumed heíd go on the show, confess what heíd done and apologise to Theo & Hannah.† But thatís not how it plays out.† The ending of the film totally spoiled it for me.† Worse, itís objectionably homophobic.† The film is a sham.† Itís made for a straight audience and panders to hetero prejudices.†
David comes out on air.† Weíve seen his anguish, the build-up of pressure that has to be released, the way he takes solace from ĎForgive and Forgetí that no problem is so bad it canít be solved.† That David should feel he has to Ďconfessí to being gay is sad, but it reflects his state of mind. Davidís parents react predictably and believably given their background and age.† I have no quibble with that. Itís real.† What stuck in my craw was the way he is then punished for† being gay, as though he deserves to suffer, that only straight people get a happy-ever-after.† That 14 years of friendship mean nothing.† I canít go into details, as that spoils the ending, but I hated it.† It made me angry and upset.† It isnít even credible.† Pity, as the rest of the film had so much going for it.
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