“PARTING GLANCES”– one to make us proud


One to Make Us Proud

Amos Lassen

Another gay nostalgic movie has earned a firm place in the canon of gay cinema. “Parting Glances” (First Run Features), first released in 1986, is one of those movies you can watch again and again and never get bored with it. By today’s standards it is a bit scruffy around the edges but that may add to the fact that the movie becomes personal. It has beauty and insight and provides characters who are very much alive and who remain with you over the years. The brainchild of Steve Buscemi, who shines in it, “Parting Glances” is more than a love story but a testimony to the way we lived during the age of AIDS and even in its sentimentality it dwarfs some of the major Hollywood Productions like “Philadelphia” AND “Longtime Companion”.

The movie focuses on two major characters, Michael and Robert who have been lovers for years. Robert is being transferred out of the country, to Africa, for two years and he has to leave Nick behind. At the same time, their best friend Nick, Michael’s former lover, is dying of AIDS. From this austere beginning is a surprisingly funny and wonderfully acted love story set against the background of New York City.

It is the honesty and the realness of the movie that makes it so good. It covers a plethora of topics from the dynamics of a relationship, to AIDS, to friendship and it does so in a way that the issues are timeless and not at all dated. The performances are beautiful and tinged with emotion and reality. Since its release, “Parting Glances” has achieved a cult status. There are few movies that deal with the gay social context in such an appealing, unpretentious way and everything about the movie seems to be truly genuine. The core of the film is honesty and this is what draws the viewer in and makes him feel like he is actually in the movie himself. There are several good loud laughs but most of the humor is gentle and tender and there is one scene that is so very moving that it will stay with you for a very long time. I especially enjoyed the interaction between the characters and found it to be brutally honest.

When the movie first came out it was considered to be quite bold and a fit radical and that it stretched the truth. In retrospect, those issues seem minor. The movie did manage to get the message of HIV.

“Parting Glances” is a bit of life immortalized on film. It is the mid-eighties in New York City, it is gay America and it is AIDS all rolled into one nice piece of film art. It is a special, little film that will stay with you for forever. If this is what it is like to be gay, then we all have reason to stand and cheer. Most gay themed film—even those being made in 2006—do not come anywhere near this beauty. It will always be a landmark in gay film and a film by which others will be compared. The fact that it was the first gay film to have a character with AIDS already puts it in a class by itself. This is one film all of us will want to own and say proudly that it belongs to us.

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: