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Critic Reviews for Weekend
Weekend, which was shot with watery beauty on location in Nottingham in the U.K., also owes something to Before Sunrise, but it's not a gay remake of a straight movie. Its romance is very deliberately not some reworked version of a hetero one.
However, to simply call it 'a gay movie' would commit it a great disservice as the fragmented kaleidoscope of fleeting romantic pains and pleasures should resonate with gay and straight audiences in equal measure.
A romance that finds intimacy in intense conversation but also a very British film about private and public spaces; a potent mix of the sensually intimate and the politically confrontational.
For a movie that bares the souls of its characters so completely, Weekend doesn't unfold like a complicated movie. The dialogue is natural, the sex scenes are tender, and the camera never gets in the way of the story.
Probably one of the greatest films ever made on the subject of gay love, not because it deals with issues of homosexuality, but because it simply tells a tender, honest, emotionally potent love story.
Audience Reviews for Weekend
A wonderfully honest and realistic portrayal of a sexual encounter leading to something profound and unexpected, and it is in essence a universal story that makes it so easy for us to empathize with these characters who are so three-dimensional, well constructed and complex.
The film is very one dimensional, but looking back, it was quite beautiful in its simplicity. The chemistry is great, and the acting is excellent. Everything is visceral, real, intense, natural, and intimate. Nothing is forced and nothing is feigned. It's artistic in its minimalist style as well, and definitely worth seeing again.
I've heard that "Weekend" is an honest portrayal of a homosexual hookup - I'll have to take the "experts" word for it, having never encountered one myself, however I will say that in regards to ANY relationship this film is indeed an honest portrayal of that mystery of first encounter.
As the crisp dialog of writer director Andrew Haigh so succinctly puts it, "that first meeting is like a blank page, and you write on it with how you want to be perceived". Yep, there's plenty of truth in that statement, regardless of your sexual orientation, and indeed, the writing here is solid throughout, as are the performances of what essentially becomes a two person play with peripheral characters added. Both Tom Cullen and Chris New are so very natural in their performances as two gay men who hook up in a bar one night, spend much of the next morning talking deep topics, and then decide to meet again that night. Much is conveyed in this one weekend and one can say that one life was changed and with the second... well, there's always hope.
While gay topics are discussed here (and a warning, there are gay "situations" shown, so if you're homophobic... well, I doubt that you'd be seeing this film to begin with (though what it has to say about human desire and that nasty four letter word "love" makes this a worthwhile view in spite of being couched in gayness).
The questions asked in the film and its almost poetic story arc are deep and sincere, and while I give Haigh the writer full marks, while Haigh the director, well, not so much in spite of creating an environment where the camera often seems to be a fly on the wall, simply a witness to what happens. Haigh nicely shoots around and through things - for example shooting between two bodies in a bar as we listen in to a conversation; or the climatic scene where the camera is behind a chain link fence (adding a feeling, not only of realism, but of the characters being, for lack of a better term: trapped). These scenes show a deft artfulness which makes the terrible editing all the more jarring. No dissolves or fades, just quick cut from scene to scene. This could be budgetary, but could just as likely have been a "creative" choice to appear "artsy" - in any event, it's jarring and plain and simple takes you right out of "being there" within the film. The same holds true for the sound track - while being uber natural, it came as a big distraction that much of the words during an important scene were buried beneath the crinkle of a candy bar wrapper. Similarly there is another scene where the script is rendered all but unintelligible by the fact that New is speaking while his face and mouth are partially buried in a pillow - making for a nice visual, but losing the import of the words is not a fair trade off.
However, Haight does an admirable job of letting you feel what Cullen is going through; an orphan who, in spite of having straight friends, feels out of step with the world around him, and oft times painfully alone. That he opens himself to New is deftly handled - and the wonder and fear of love, with all of its possibilities is on raw display and therefore a worthwhile view.
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