With fine actors including Alan Cumming, Zachary Booth, and Wilson Cruz participating, I expected a far better film. This is the director's first feature, and it shows. By turns maudlin, self-congratulatory and incoherent, the story purports to be an examination of how an aging gay man - who lived through the worst years of AIDS - now finds himself in a time in which his activism is under-appreciated. Unfortunately, as written, the protagonist (Sam) is self-absorbed and unlikable, a privileged New York artist who treats the hustlers he hires badly and who whines relentlessly to others that, for some reason, put up with him. He is, essentially, a narcissist that the filmmakers present as if he were sympathetic.<br/><br/>The conceit of the film is that Sam is not afforded by young, cute gay guys the respect and honor he deserves for having lost friends and loved ones in the eighties and for having participated in Act Up in the nineties. As a survivor of those times myself, I appreciate the work of activists, but I fully understand that what they accomplished should be gratification enough. Of course younger gay men can't understand what Sam went through. The whole point was to work toward a future when they wouldn't have to. <br/><br/>Sam is stuck in the past, as is the film. The protagonist seems to learn nothing, and watching his journey becomes increasingly frustrating.<br/><br/>One final point (and this truly bothered me): throughout the film, Sam voices particular venom toward the few non-white characters - a latino hustler he stiffs, a black artist who has replaced him in popularity, and the latino boyfriend of an old friend who the friend wishes to marry. This isn't quibbling; his behavior is pronounced and consistent, leaving the impression that, in his mostly-white world, people of color are people to be disparaged.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
After Louie explores the contradictions of modern gay life and history through Sam, a man desperate to understand how he and his community got to where they are today. As an AIDS activist and member of ACT UP in the 1980s and 90s, Sam witnessed the deaths of too many friends and lovers. Battlewounded and struggling with survivor's guilt, Sam now resents the complacency of his former comrades and derides what he sees as the younger generation's indifference to the politics of sex, and of death. An unexpected intimacy with a much younger man challenges Sam's understanding of contemporary gay life. Through this unconventional romance, he is forced to deal with the trauma that so informs his past, their present, and an unknown future.
Downloaded 176 times
2/13/2020 5:47:09 PM