Holding The Man

3 out of 5 stars

Living under the combined shadows of classics such as Brokeback Mountain, Beautiful Thing, Parting Glances and Angels in America to name but a few, the Gay Love Story set in the age of Aids has been done better before. It therefore helps that this distinguishes itself by being set in Australia and adapted from the autobiography of Timothy Conigrave which further adds a touch of intimacy and poignancy to a film that would otherwise feel familiar. Not knowing much about the original source, I admit the dramatic elements caught me by surprise. I was expecting something more upbeat like Pride than the film I saw but the broken chronology elevates the narrative into something less pedestrian and more prescient-like and the acting is good all round – special mention goes to Anthony LaPaglia, his conflicted father jolts the film whenever he’s on screen. The film even manages to capture more than a few touching and delicate moments despite the incongruity and indignity of the leads play teenage versions of themselves in wigs that would normally invoke unintentional laughter; and it certainly doesn’t help that they are surrounded by people who are actually in their teens! Part of me wish they had cast younger and aged up in later scenes but I do recognize the constraints in making smaller budget films. Worthy but niche, and if you like a good weepie, then you’ll probably not be too disappointed if you catch it on the small screen.

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