I wasn't with my partner, Jerry, when he passed away in 1999, for some of the same reasons Shane wasn't at Tom's funeral in this film. I could have been at his bedside and at his funeral, but it would have brought dishonor upon the passing of the person I loved most in this world, and tarnishing his memory, by far, was the worst outcome.
The message of this film is love. Aren't we all better people when we remember that message?
It's easy to look back on life and say: I wish I'd done this or that differently. For example, the over-long solo disco sequence at one of my 7th or 8th grade dances that I so very much hope nobody remembers. I'd love to erase that horror from memory - especially mine.
But while I know the decision I made was right - Jerry didn't deserve the conflict that would have arisen from my presence when he died (though I spent every other minute of his life with him caring for him while he was dying) - if I could go back and change one thing in all of my life, I would be at his side.
Not a lunch with Lincoln or Tolkien, or a chat with Buddha or Jesus. I would be at Jerry's side when he died.
For that I would pay the ransom of Eden found.
So, this was supposed to be a small movie review. I should review it. Here we go: 5/5 stars. This documentary was beautifully told. :-)
More importantly, again: love is everything. Love is the greatest of all that is good. And you're not less of a man or a person for knowing and showing that. We should spend less time getting in the way of love, and more time experiencing what it's like to love and be loved.
The Bio Channel show I Survived... had been hailed by myself as brilliant. Those are truly compelling stories and it's just the people involved against a black backdrop telling said story. And you're sucked in. A lot of this documentary is like that. There's no real visuals as to the story itself other than lots and lots of photographs. As someone who'd be hard pressed to find 100 photos of myself from the last 5-10 years, I found it a little annoying. But I guess that's what pretty people do.
So you have something building in the way of a love story but you already know one of the main characters died an untimely death. When done well, that creates more buildup than not knowing what is going to happen. I guess it's done fairly well in this.
Skipping everything else, here's some commentary. Gay is so clearly not a choice. Look at the beautiful women in this film. How could Tom and Shane not be in love with them? Oh, because it's not a choice. They're friggin gorgeous. And my other commentary is how very sad Tom's parents must be. Someone on imdb called this a slap in the face by a whiny boy who didn't get to attend his boyfriend's funeral. Eh, it's a lot more than that. At first I hated those parents, then I liked the mom and she really warmed my heart that she put everything aside to get her son back. So the turn when he dies is, frankly, fucking inexplicable. I hate them for their ignorance. No doubt, the family lost their son at a young age. I'm sure even my mom would be pretty active in the process after. But to take over and exclude someone I loved? Not a chance. It's disgusting behavior.
A little more commentary: I found it hard to relate to these guys. Good looking dudes who love to take pics of themselves and seem to kinda have it made. Shane's video diary is terribly annoying and I don't get that at all. But all that aside, they seemed like decent humans. And they loved each other. And that's really what life should be about. How the fuck anyone could complain or want to deny anyone consensual adult love will always be beyond me.
My final three comments then: what a great thing the nurses did after Tom died. Evidently, they went against hospital policy to secretly do the right thing. And they even tried to fix Tom up before they did it. That's a whole shit ton of humanity. And the other is the song at the end of the movie. Huge credit to Ben (Macklemore) for putting that song on the radio. And finally...it's a huge spoiler of sorts, but one of the final scenes made my eyes water. Not sure if it was that touching or just brilliant filmmaking/storytelling to disclose that information at that time. But it was definitely a strong finish to the documentary.