Love and Death On Long Island

Ladymol's Review:

This is a strangely compelling film, which is entirely carried by the wonderful acting of John Hurt.†

A reclusive English writer, by the oddest of coincidences, finds himself in a cinema watching a trashy American film. In the film he sees a young actor and suddenly becomes obsessed with him.† The growing obsession is wonderfully realised and goes from discovering his name and watching all his films, to actually travelling to America and sliding into his life.

For anyone who has any leanings toward being a fan of anyone, this film is a must. Only John Hurt could play someone so urbane and civilised that two young American actors would be so taken in by him that he could infiltrate their lives to such as extent.

The scenery is gorgeous and the contrast between England, which is shown as dreary rain and buses, and New England, which is just crisp colours and open spaces, is very noticeable.

The ending is quite enigmatic and you can read it a number of ways. I found it a totally feel-good movie, a triumph for romanticism and belief in redemption.

Surprisingly compelling and well worth seeing.

Cerisaye's Review:

Giles DeíAth (John Hurt) is at odds with his times.† He speaks and dresses like a country gentleman of a bygone era, when culture and politeness were something good, not a source of mockery or incomprehension.† A widower who writes literary novels, his life is lonely and empty of feeling, a sort of living death (Deíath- gedddit?).†

I felt sorry for him.† John Hurt naturally conveys a blend of vulnerability and creepiness thatís fascinating to watch.†

One day heís locked out of his house and takes refuge in a local cinema.† Expecting to see an adaptation of an E M Forster book (hint, hint) instead heís faced with mindless Hollywood flick ďHotpants College II.Ē† Understandably horrified, heís about to walk out when he sees teen heartthrob Ronnie Bostock.† Well, itís love at first sight.

Gilesí obsession with the young actor is unintentionally funny- and uncomfortably close to home for a mature woman who slashes hot male stars of certain TV vampire shows.† He buys fan mags aimed at young girls and a VCR (the joke is he has no TV) to watch Ronnieís awful movies- hey, Iíve got ďValentineĒ so I know how that goes.† I suppose thatís why the film gets lumped in with comedies.† Itís not.

Giles has the hots for Ronnie so bad he relocates temporarily to Long Island where the object of his affection lives with his girlfriend.† Once there, Giles stalks the star with dogged determination until he manages to insinuate himself into his life.† What happens next Iím not saying.

The film reminded me of ďDeath in VeniceĒ.† Hurtís addled appearance is very like Dirk Bogarde as Ashenbach, the composer infatuated with beautiful youth, Tadzio.† Unfortunately Jason Priestley though easy on the eye isnít Bjorn Andresen, so it stretches credulity a bit to accept Gilesí ability to deceive himself and Ronnie that the boy is a brilliant actor who just needs the right script to break out of straight-to-video oblivion.

Itís better to focus on the impact Ronnie has on Gilesí emotional life, awakening passion I doubt heís ever experienced before.† It doesnít matter whether Ronnie is a worthy object of desire, or Gilesí motives pure or sexual.† The genie is out of the bottle and somehow I doubt very much, whatever your interpretation of the ending, that old Giles will ever be the same again. Itís a moving story of an older man coming out, seizing a chance opportunity to live a life he didnít even know he wanted.† Ultimately itís more parody than tribute to Thoman Mann.† Recommended.

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