Slow-paced like a turtle
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the beginning of 'Loggerheads', we're introduced to three pairs of seemingly unrelated characters. To make matters even more confusing, we're informed (via titles on the screen) that the action is taking place in three separate time lines (between the years 1999 and 2001). It takes a great deal of time but eventually we come to see how the three pairs are related: Mark Austin, a young man in his 20s, gay and HIV Positive is estranged from his conservative parents, Elizabeth and Rev. Robert Austin.
Mark is now a drifter and arrives in Kure Beach, North Carolina, a seaside town, where he meets George (sensitively played by Michael Kelly), a gay motel owner and they eventually become involved with each other. Meanwhile, Mark's birth mother, Grace (played by Bonnie Hunt) has come to the point in her life where she has decided to find the son she gave up for adoption when she was 17. Similarly, Mark's adoptive mother, also has decided to track her estranged son as she misses him (despite the misgivings of her homophobic minister husband).
'Loggerheads' we're told is based on a true story and that perhaps is its Achilles Heel. Director/Writer Tim Kirkman tries too hard to create scenes fraught with dramatic tension where there is very little to be found. Take Mark and George?they're both sensitive souls who have little to disagree about. There's some slight tension when Grace faces off against an Adoption Agency Director who is forbidden by law to give her any information about her lost son as well as a slight conflict with her mother who denies that she disapproved of her when she became pregnant as a teenager. No sparks fly either between Elizabeth and Robert since the good Reverend has adamantly insisted from the beginning that he has no intention of reconciling with his son.
'Loggerheads' is similar to 'Brokeback Mountain' in that the gay couple are the good guys and the straight males (for example, the Kure Beach cop and the Reverend) are the baddies. The biggest letdown of the movie is that there is no interaction (and hence no dramatic conflict) between Mark and either one of his 'mothers'. Mark is already dead before either the birth or adoptive mother has a chance to reconcile with him.
Kirkman's theme is both a plea for tolerance and an exhortation for family members to express their heartfelt feelings before it's too late! Kirkman's sentiments are for the most part well-intentioned but they do not make for good drama. Loggerheads moves along at a snail's pace without providing any new revelations (or suspense) regarding such topics as AIDS, Adoption and Homophobia. Ultimately 'Loggerheads' fails due to its slow pacing.