1985 Reviews

  • May 07, 2020

    The trajectory of this story involving a closeted man returning to his religious parents home for Christmas after a three year absence begins to look like a foreseeable one. Right at that moment, writer and director Yen Tan adopts a much more subtle and tender approach to the secrets his central character is harbouring, resulting in a powerful and achingly beautiful film shot entirely in black and white.

    The trajectory of this story involving a closeted man returning to his religious parents home for Christmas after a three year absence begins to look like a foreseeable one. Right at that moment, writer and director Yen Tan adopts a much more subtle and tender approach to the secrets his central character is harbouring, resulting in a powerful and achingly beautiful film shot entirely in black and white.

  • Aug 24, 2019

    Really nice bittersweet slice of life. The actors sparkle subtly. Unfortunately the standup comedy scenes flop, as usual when portrayed in tv or film. Steady, slow pacer but worth a look.

    Really nice bittersweet slice of life. The actors sparkle subtly. Unfortunately the standup comedy scenes flop, as usual when portrayed in tv or film. Steady, slow pacer but worth a look.

  • Apr 30, 2019

    1985 is a small, quiet gem of a film. Starkly honest and genuine in its pure emotion. Set in 1985 (surprise, surprise), it's a small family drama set in Fort Worth, Texas. Oldest son Adrian returns home for Christmas from New York. He has been absent for three years as he finds it hard to fit in with his conservative, deeply religious family. Especially his very strict and domineering father. Without giving too much away we slowly learn that Adrian is gay and has some hidden pain to tell his family, which is of obvious difficulty for him. We also see him interact with his younger impressionable brother and his long time childhood friend. It's a very subtle film that focuses on the strands of family life and the strains that impinge it. It's not histrionic or melodramatic at all, giving us a wonderful portrait of family life. Shot in grainy black and white with superb performances this is a film that gives a lot in its dignity and poignancy.

    1985 is a small, quiet gem of a film. Starkly honest and genuine in its pure emotion. Set in 1985 (surprise, surprise), it's a small family drama set in Fort Worth, Texas. Oldest son Adrian returns home for Christmas from New York. He has been absent for three years as he finds it hard to fit in with his conservative, deeply religious family. Especially his very strict and domineering father. Without giving too much away we slowly learn that Adrian is gay and has some hidden pain to tell his family, which is of obvious difficulty for him. We also see him interact with his younger impressionable brother and his long time childhood friend. It's a very subtle film that focuses on the strands of family life and the strains that impinge it. It's not histrionic or melodramatic at all, giving us a wonderful portrait of family life. Shot in grainy black and white with superb performances this is a film that gives a lot in its dignity and poignancy.

  • Apr 25, 2019

    Remarkable. Gut wrenching. Cut deep into me as I relived my own experiences with the same issues with my family as I sat and watched them played out in front of me.

    Remarkable. Gut wrenching. Cut deep into me as I relived my own experiences with the same issues with my family as I sat and watched them played out in front of me.

  • Apr 08, 2019

    Well done story of the early AIDS crisis, but painful to watch for those of us who lost so many friends who had tough times with their blood flamilies. .

    Well done story of the early AIDS crisis, but painful to watch for those of us who lost so many friends who had tough times with their blood flamilies. .

  • Feb 10, 2019

    With such a weighty topic, it was weird to me to have it all in black and white and for it to labor on the way it did. The film let all the conflicts arise - but seemed unfulfilling in its resolution to him dancing in a club at the end. Had an 'it gets better' message that then asked, "better for what?"

    With such a weighty topic, it was weird to me to have it all in black and white and for it to labor on the way it did. The film let all the conflicts arise - but seemed unfulfilling in its resolution to him dancing in a club at the end. Had an 'it gets better' message that then asked, "better for what?"

  • Jan 14, 2019

    Heavily influenced by 80s queer indie cinema and in particular films like Parting Glances or Longtime Companion, director/co-writer Yen Tan shot this in black and white and on a shoestring budget, often with slightly stilted or awkward dialogue and static camerawork. Cory Michael Smith (Gotham) is a young closeted gay man who has escaped his conservative and religious family in Texas for New York, now returning home for the Christmas holidays with a suitcase of expensive gifts and secrets he wants to share but is hesitant to reveal. With a cast that also includes Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis and Jamie Chung, either Tan has an amazing phonebook or it's a passion project for those involved. Even though the story itself is nothing I have not seen before, it is a commendable and well constructed film that's full of subtle performances and fits perfectly in the niche market that it seeks to serve. Therefore, it seems somewhat superfluous for a film that wears that genre label so proudly, to be so coy in the first half about the lead character's sexuality as if it was setting up a twisty surprise. In fact, more surprising are the ways the film deals with the parents played by Madsen and Chiklis, who deliver quietly moving and poignant moments in separate pivotal scenes. It may have been more special, groundbreaking even, if this was made in 1985, but for 2019, it certainly feels a little more ordinary and old-hat now.

    Heavily influenced by 80s queer indie cinema and in particular films like Parting Glances or Longtime Companion, director/co-writer Yen Tan shot this in black and white and on a shoestring budget, often with slightly stilted or awkward dialogue and static camerawork. Cory Michael Smith (Gotham) is a young closeted gay man who has escaped his conservative and religious family in Texas for New York, now returning home for the Christmas holidays with a suitcase of expensive gifts and secrets he wants to share but is hesitant to reveal. With a cast that also includes Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis and Jamie Chung, either Tan has an amazing phonebook or it's a passion project for those involved. Even though the story itself is nothing I have not seen before, it is a commendable and well constructed film that's full of subtle performances and fits perfectly in the niche market that it seeks to serve. Therefore, it seems somewhat superfluous for a film that wears that genre label so proudly, to be so coy in the first half about the lead character's sexuality as if it was setting up a twisty surprise. In fact, more surprising are the ways the film deals with the parents played by Madsen and Chiklis, who deliver quietly moving and poignant moments in separate pivotal scenes. It may have been more special, groundbreaking even, if this was made in 1985, but for 2019, it certainly feels a little more ordinary and old-hat now.

  • Jan 02, 2019

    One if the most well written and acted film of this genre to be made this year. Incredible film.

    One if the most well written and acted film of this genre to be made this year. Incredible film.

  • Dec 21, 2018

    12/27/2018 Set in the 1980's when the AIDS epidemic was slowly talking shape, this is a family's account of coping with their elder son's affliction while on vacation in Texas.

    12/27/2018 Set in the 1980's when the AIDS epidemic was slowly talking shape, this is a family's account of coping with their elder son's affliction while on vacation in Texas.

  • Dec 20, 2018

    Harrowing story about the AIDS epidemic that destroyed so many lives, which gets nicely put together in a tough personal story from one man whose counterparts might know him better than himself. Its gripping, and one of this years true independent films.

    Harrowing story about the AIDS epidemic that destroyed so many lives, which gets nicely put together in a tough personal story from one man whose counterparts might know him better than himself. Its gripping, and one of this years true independent films.