“Bedrooms and Hallways”
If you like British comedy, you will love “Bedrooms and Hallways”
(First Run Features), a sophisticated, romantic and funny romp.
Leo and Darren are two gay roommates in London. Each is looking for romance. Darren (Tom Hollander) likes eroticism and wild sex. Leo (Kevin McKidd) is reserved and searches for a meaningful relationship, He joins a new age therapy group and develops a crush on one of it members—Brendan, who has just separated from his girlfriend of years. Leo confesses his feelings for Brendan during a group session and in doing so causes everyone in the group to consider his/her own sexuality. Darren, meanwhile, is carrying on a relationship with what seems to be a conservative real estate agent who is able to combine business and pleasure.
As the film progresses confusion reigns and the theme of the film emerges. It seems that everyone just wants someone to love and sexual preference falls by the wayside. The film examines the fluidity of sexual identity in contemporary society.
Darren’s boyfriend uses the homes to which he has realtor access as if they were his own. Leo, at the same time, scandalizes his group when he publicly announces his crush on a straight member who has no problem trying out a new sexual adventure. Leo fears that he may want more than one dip into the gay pot.
“Bedrooms and Hallways” breaks all of the rules of sexual identity and even goes so far as to suggest that sexual desire is anarchic and that there is nothing better than breaking a taboo. Even further it says that the common ground between gay and straight identities is mutable. The investigation of sexual identities, however, never gets in the way of the comic goings on.
The scene at the group session is very funny in a subdued way. The men are all quite proud of their sensitivity but they show how insensitive they are when Leo declares his attraction for Brendan. The fact that Brendan is straight does not prevent him from entering into an affair with Leo—it just slows it down. What seems to stop the two is the fact that Brendan has just ended a relationship with a girl who just happens to be a girl that Leo dated in high school. While this is going on Darren is having romantic trouble with his romantic realtor.
With several plots going on at one time, the movie manages to keep everything going. It is the frivolity of the film that keeps it going.
Surprisingly enough, Leo and Brendan become a twosome. Leo, however, feels that he is losing his heart to a straight man who will leave him, What results s a humorous and good natured treatment of a triangular bisexual romance which involves an overly earnest gay man, a straight man and an adaptable straight woman.
“Bedrooms and Hallways” takes a good slap at the male bonding movement. The movie says to me that it is neither love nor sexual attraction that drives a straight man into a gay man’s bed, or a gay man into the arms of a woman—it is narcissism as benign as it is. The question of pride in sexual orientation or gender is simply a by product of the self-help era of independence. What the movie really does is present a drawing room comedy about roommates.
Let me pose these questions in closing—does the sex act define us? By this I mean, if I have sex with a woman, what does that make me? Am I a gay man who had sex with a woman or is there such a thing as queer asexuality? Does sex with the opposite gender threaten queerness? Why are we all put into little boxes? Why can’t we just be?