The Boys In The Band (2020)
R ‧ Drama ‧ 2h 2m
Screenplay by Mart Crowley, Ned Martel
Based on a play by Matt Crowley
Directed by Joe Mantello
Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins.
(In their own words) At a birthday party in 1968 New York, a surprise guest and a drunken game leave seven gay friends reckoning with unspoken feelings and buried truths.
I was about ten minutes into The Boys In The Band when I thought “this must have been a play. The writing is way too good.” And indeed it was. I knew the film was a remake of a film from the 70’s, but wasn’t sure it was a play, which it turns out…it was. The first movie was based on a 1968 play of the same name. This 2020 version uses the same cast as a 2018 Broadway revival. And it’s excellent.
The writing is spectacular. The acting is excellent. The story is compelling. It’s just an all around great film. It’s uncomfortable in its use of gay slurs that were much more commonly used in 1968, and provides a lot of insight into the gay culture of the time.
Jim Parsons plays the main character, Michael, in a fearless and effortless performance. He is a complex character that you both empathize with and deteste at the same time. Michael allows his straight former college friend, Alan, to visit his home during a planned birthday party with his gay friends. Alan’s reaction of homophobia sends a sober Michael back to drinking and prompts him to play a game with his friends that is exciting, scary, and cruel.
The dialogue is witty, the monologues are elegant. There isn’t a poor performance in the whole production. This is a great adaptation of a play.
In whole, it’s a love story. It’s a story of lost love. It’s a story of the love between friends in a world that isn’t accepting of them. It’s a story of love between partners, who are trying to figure out how to move forward. It’s a story of self-discovery and self-love. It’s uncomfortable at times, but you will love to feel uncomfortable.
Three BEST things about the film
1. The acting
2. The writing
3. The richness of characters.
The three WORST things about the Film
1. The slurs. There’s a lot of gay slurs in it which are tough for a modern audience.But I believe accurate.
2. Some untied endings
3. Knowing it was a play, we know they probably won’t be changing locations in any significant way. This loses some dramatic tension.
Love takes courage.
THE FINAL WORD
This newest adaptation of The Boys In The Band is full of strong performances for a fantastic script. While the source is dated it is an interesting history lesson of gay relationships in the 1970s.
THE FINAL VERDICT
My 3L system gives me the choice to Love It, Like It, or Lose It.
I give this film a ……Love It
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