Regarding Billy

Ladymol's Review

Blimey. I like romantic movies. Hell, Iíll even go as far as to say I like slushy movies, but even I was cringing in parts of this one. Which was such a shame really as the idea behind the film was rather good. Billy and Dean, long time childhood friends, separate as young men, Dean going into the military. Many years later, Dean comes home. Billy is also home now caring for his mentally handicapped brother at the death of their parents. Dean moves in with them and deep friendship turns to something else. Good premise, huh? And the acting wasnít that bad Ė believe me, weíve seen a lot worse. Ronnie Kerr was particularly good as Dean.

So, why the cringing? Iíve never seen so many tears in a movie with only three men in it. And I actually like men crying! (that sounds worse than I mean it, I think). Dean and Billy were intense enough, but then you add in death of parents, handicapped brother, one of them going blind, Christmas. Sheesh. Sunday on Waltonís Mountain! It was just too much all in one film with almost no action and one set.

The boy playing Johnny the brother did a brave job, but I would have taken him out of the plot entirely. Pathos ladled on with a spoon doesnít for good movies make!

The transition for Dean and Billy from straight best friends to admitting their changed feelings was very well done and the best part of the movie for me. They were so awkward together, so diffident, so much longing in their eyes. Nice kiss when they do find out, but thenÖ handicapped brother and decorating a Christmas tree. And this is two men who, by their own admittance, have never had anyone else! But this film was made for grannies, I guess. Slash-loving grannies? Now, thereís a thought.

Damn. I was expecting good things from this one and feel let down yet again. I wonder if the members of the academy voting for the Oscars have ever seen a movie like this. Maybe if they had theyíd have appreciated Brokeback Mountain more.

Just a thought.

Cerisaye's Review

I wanted to like this movie.† Itís sweet.† Realistic, with guys who look like the boys next door not unobttainable movie star hunks.† But just tries too hard, using a sledgehammer approach to filmmaking.

Set somewhere along Americaís Northeast coast in a fishing community, like Brokeback Mountain it shows ordinary men dealing alone with feelings of attraction away from the usual backdrop to coming out stories.†

I appreciate the intent.† Trouble is I just didnít connect to the story or characters.

Itís been a while since I watched a low budget (this one cost $20,000 and took just 2 weeks to shoot) indie movie.† Also the last film I saw before this was All Over The Guy which possibly was a hard act to follow.†

Whatever, I just couldnít get passed stilted dialogue, bad acting, and a general awkwardness that made the film hard to watch.†

Thereís more crying than I think Iíve EVER seen in a film.† The whole thing is so overwrought, melodramatic and clumsy I actually got the giggles at emotional moments where I shouldíve been empathising with the charactersí pain.

Itís far too sentimental.† I donít know, maybe itís a cultural thing, cynical Brit that I am.† But lack of subtlety means every scene is milked for emotion by the actors until you cringe with embarrassment for them.

Billy and Dean are childhood friends on a camping trip.† Late one night both struggle to tell the other a secret each fears will jeopardise a relationship that means everything to them.† Dean finally admits to Billy heís enlisted in the military for 4 years, while Billy decides his revelation can wait until morning.† Billy is so shocked by Deanís announcement he doesnít ask why his friend suddenly wants to go far away to risk his life and fight for his country.

Of course WE know what Billy is afraid to admit, that his feelings for Dean arenít just friendly.† The irony is Dean obviously feels the same, which presumably is why heís running away- also perhaps to prove his manhood.† This tent scene with its restraint and tension is probably the highlight of the film.

Flash forward and Billy has to return to his family home to look after younger brother Johnny after their parents are killed in an accident.† Johnny is slightly mentally handicapped so acts younger than his age.† Their relationship as they deal with loss and grief is actually quite well drawn, with some nice tender moments.

Billy continues to fantasise about Dean returning home though heís troubled by his fear that his friend wonít return home alive.† Itís never stated but I think Dean serves in Iraq so thatís a real danger.

Then one day Dean turns up looking for a place to stay while putting his life back together.† Heís been wounded and forced to leave the service.† Billy is delighted to welcome Dean into his home, and soon the three of them have made a new family, Johnnyís presence helping defuse the tension of Billyís desire for Dean.

Of course secrets canít remain hidden indefinitely, and it emerges Dean has a devastating one of his own.