The Nature of Love
With all of the new movies coming out on DVD these days we tend to forget some of the older classics. One of these is the beautifully scripted, acted and photographed, “Boyfriends” (First Run Features). It is a comedy of male manners which takes place when three gay male couples, each at different stages of relationships, meet in a beautiful English country manor for what was to have been a relaxing and refreshing Easter weekend. What follows is a look at the nature of relationships.
When “Boyfriends” was released in 1999 it was met with critical accolades and deservedly so. There is not a dull moment in the film as we explore the gay psyche in Britain in the 1990s. Surprisingly, much of what was true for gay relationships in the 90s is still true today and with all the progress we have made, we still haven’t changed that much.
While the couples stay together in their house by the beach, they find themselves in various situations that give new definitions to the word relationship The sex is explicit and quite frank, the attitudes are real and the whole film is a glorious feast for the eyes. Let’s have a look at our characters.
Paul and Ben have been in their relationship for five years but to them it seems to be a great deal longer. Matt and Owen have been dating each other for three months and Matt has the itch to be married. Will and Adam met the night before the trip when Will picked Adam up They are surprised to discover that they have had a past together but the question is whether or not they have a future. As the movie explores the depths as well as the shallows of gay relationships, a lot will be exposed and much will remain hidden. In that, the title of the movie is somewhat misleading, are the boyfriends really boyfriends? During the weekend they take a good hard look at themselves and their relationships and what we get is a realistic view of modern romance.
As the couples interact, petty issues emerge as major problems. The house guests are in no way representatives of domestic bliss. Through interviews, discussions and confrontations what we see is a roundtable discussion of the nature of love and what a relationship really means. Some of the issues raised include commitment and monogamy and compatability as well as other aspects of homosexual life.
The movie is filmed naturalistically and the performances are so natural as well that you feel like you are in the room with the guys. The details of life are real and very believable and hit the nail on the head. At times, I felt extremely uncomfortable—as if I were a voyeur looking at secrets and lies being discussed right in front of me.
The movie does not pretend to have the answers to the questions that are raised. Instead it is an observation of how we connect. As the movie weaves a spell on the viewer we ask ourselves, “What is it that men really want?” The answer spears to be love but the road to finding it is rocky and hard to traverse. This is an amazing film and if you haven’t seen, you should. There is so much thrown at the viewer but it does in such a way that it is all completely digestible. “Boyfriends” is not only a very good movie, it is a rewarding experience.