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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
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.
A brutally honest, revelatory film about two strangers and the effect they have on each other lives over a span of 48 hours. It's the most beautiful film about two strangers, I think. The two leads Tom Cullen and Chris New are superb here, and their chemistry is what works best. Whether the viewer is straight, bi, or gay, they will connect with the characters in some profound way. The film will linger after the first viewing; if you have ever met someone who has changed your life within a few days, you will relate to this film. Weekend, is sensationally acted, beautifully realized and full of honesty and mostly concerned with something one might not expect, the human heart.
|Glen:||Look, straight people like us as long as we conform, behave by their little rules. Imagine your friends, if you suddenly started getting all really political about being a fag or you got suddenly like camp or swishy or talked about rimming all the time.|
|Russell:||Yeah, but that's not what i' m like, is it? That's not who i am.|
|Glen:||Well, trust me they like it, as long as we don't shove it down their throats.|
|Russell:||OK, well, why should i just shove it down their throats?|
|Glen:||Because they shove it down our throats all the time, being straight... straight story lines on television, everywhere, in books, on billboards, magazines, everywhere. But, oh, the gays, the gays... (gasps) We mustn't upset the straights. Shh, watch out, the straights are coming. Let's not upset them, let's hide in our little ghettos, let's not hold hands, let's not kiss in the street, no.|
|Russell:||Dad? I got something I need to tell you.|
|Glen:||[pretending to be Russell's dad] What's that?|
|Glen:||[pretends to think] Hmm.|
|Russell:||I like guys, not girls.|
|Glen:||[breathes out slowly] Well. You know what, son. It doesn't matter to me. I love you just the same. And guess what?|
|Glen:||I couldn't be more proud of you than if you were the first man on the moon.|
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