Torch Song Trilogy Reviews
A tour de force performance from Harvey Fierstein propels this remarkably written and acted film. Fierstein's talents as an actor are only matched by his intelligent, insightful, and inspiring screenplay. The conflicts must have felt so fresh and timely in 1988, but it's a compliment to Fierstein's writing that they feel just as important now.
Anne Bancroft's performance as Fierstein's character's mother is also very strong. She's not a horrible mother, just a flawed, human, 1980s mother, and her final scene with Fierstein is an acting master class.
Overall, Fierstein is a great talent, and it's a shame there isn't more of him to see.
Starting off light-footed & gay (in all its meanings) Fierstien's distinctive voice, only paralleled by some of the cast-members of "the Nanny", had me laughing from the opening monologue & in stitches not much later. I literally had to rewind a few times because I missed parts through my howling. But in between the hilarity a serious note is never far away, and Fierstien is just as effective when it takes the upper hand.
The two love affairs that take up act 1 & 2 are convincing, without delving into every clichÃ (C) with the gusto of many of the early 'gay' films. Matthew Broderick - an actor who often walks only just on the right side of annoying & I know at least one friend who will think I'm being much too kind - plays a former hustler turned successful model (yes, Nils, I know dear, but let's just chalk it up to the Eighties ^^) & Fierstien's second lover and he does this with a sincere simplicity that grounds the unusual relationship. I'll just come right out and say it: I was actually moved by his performance, go ahead & shoot me!
Anne Bancroft definitely deserves a nod for her portrayal of a Jewish mama stereotype, who like all of the characters, reveals more depth than she would perhaps like to show. Maybe a great performance by Miss Bancroft is practically taken for granted, but her confrontation with her son in the third act is sublime even to her exalted standards.
By the end of this film I'd laughed, I'd oeeh'd, I'd aaaah'd & I'd made a few very real sad pouty faces. I found the ending, more hopeful than explicitly happy, eminently suited as a final note to the general tone of a film I'm glad to have seen almost accidentally.