Parting Glances (1986) Poster

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10/10
The quintessential gay NYC movie!
scooternva1 January 2001
It's been almost 15 years since "Parting Glances" was first released and ten years since I last saw it, but today I just finished watching the newly-released DVD and was charmed all over again by this wonderful movie. Superbly acted, wonderfully scripted and confidently directed, this engaging story of two lovers at a crossroads in their relationship has held up remarkably well over the years. Sadly, this was director Sherwood's one and only film; he died a few years later of AIDS, disillusioned by the difficulties of getting movies made in Hollywood.

The DVD transfer is crystal-clear and includes some interesting production notes that only add to the experience of watching Sherwood's singular masterpiece. Whether you're gay or straight, if you appreciate the art of cinema you owe it to yourself to add this sweet little film to your movie collection.
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Friendship is a Haven
CBW-26 June 1999
I think that Parting Glances is a brilliant film. One thing I can add to the other comments on this film is to say that I think Parting Glances resonates so strongly with everyone because it is primarily a film about relationships, particularly friendship. The characters just happen to be gay, even though it spares no details about their lives. This approach actually gives more integrity and advocacy to the characters' lives. I can't tell you how refreshing this elevation of tone was to me. Nick and Michael admit that their short affair quickly turned to friendship. If you have ever had a real friend, someone you see and understand and who sees and understands you, you will relate to Nick and Michael, no matter what your sexual orientation. Plus, the texture of the film is so rich -- with scenes funny, touching, sad, biting and complex.

I agree with the user comment made by Helena that Bill Sherwood is a great director. I too was very saddened by his early death.
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9/10
The definitive gay 1980's movie.
Brian Ferrari5 April 2004
If you're looking for the best movie about being gay during the height of the AIDS epidemic, skip "Longtime Companion" and watch this film. Funny, sad and true to life. Well written, well acted....check out Kathy Kinney and Steve Buscemi at the beginning of their careers.

The movie is never preachy or sappy. And there are some Bronski Beat tunes used to very nice effect.

The true crime is that AIDS claimed writer / director Bill Sherwood before he could make another film. This was his only movie - a perfect example of how this disease has robbed the world of a generation of talented individuals.
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10/10
A hypnotic slice of life with pure heart
mattrett18 May 2003
Despite its scruffy edges (or maybe because of them), this little

movie has so much personal vision and heart and insight---it truly

brings characters alive who stay with you over the years. It's very

heart-tugging without being mawkish. Steve Buscemi is absolutely

brilliant in it---he's so good ti sometimes dwarfs the scenes in

which he is not present, and yet when he does scenes with

another actor, that actor is always much better alongside him. The

film is not a polished Hollywood production, so don't expect it to

look like a million bucks. But what it lacks in that area it more than

makes up for with honesty, wit and humor. I absolutely love this

movie and recommend it.
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9/10
A look at gay life during the Reagan years
GG (gentelg)8 January 2005
Parting Glances tells the story of two gay lovers living in the west village, Micheal and Robert! Robert is about to leave New York to spend a year in Africa, Micheal in the meantime is caring for Nick (Played by a very young Steve Buscemi) a close friend and a former lover now dying of AIDS. Complications arise when it appears that Micheal is still in love with Nick and is questioning his relationship "aka Marriage" with Robert. Also Micheal has captured the eyes of a Columbia student who works at a nearby record store who is very persistent. Robert in the meantime is showing signs of jealousy towards Nick because of his closeness with Micheal. Without a doubt a highlight in gay cinema. Highly recommended! This film shows far more depth and substance in an hour and a half than a whole season of the narcissistic queens on "Queer as Folk"
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9/10
A Refreshing Movie From the '80s
jaiken00728 December 2000
Parting Glances is a wonderful film. Steve Buscemi plays a man who has AIDS but this is not an AIDS movie, it is a movie about love and friendship. John Bolger, who later played Gabe McNamara a police chief on the soap opera Another World, plays a man who is leaving his lover to take a job in Africa. His reasons for leaving are examined and challenged all to the tune of a delightful score by Brahms with Mozart in counterpoint. A visit from a character from Don Giovanni provides a delightful interlude. Fans of The Drew Carey show will enjoy the performance of Kathy Kinney in a role that is almost a mirror image of Mimi.
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Well acted and real
Merely5 November 2006
Not often do films come across as truly real. Not scripted, or acted but as if a day in the life. In no way could it be described as Over the Top. Steve Buscemi was the reason I bought this. I am a big fan of all of his work and had missed this one. He was good here again. I love how it is so eighties. I was 23 when this movie was made and I could get right into it as if in a time warp.

Dated also by the scene where Michael said he needed to get a word processor and the man told him it was around $4,000 dollars and he should wait until the prices fell. Another scene I liked was two deaf men signing at a gay bar. Cleverly flamboyant.

I can't add anything that hasn't already been said and said better than me.
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10/10
Three people - two relationships
hughman5522 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Bill Sherwood made one film in his short life. Fortunately for us, it was this one, "Parting Glances". This brilliant, overachieving little film, is about three people and two relationships. Michael is at the center of both. Michael and Robert are going to "part" in 24 hours after being together for more than five years. There is a mystery surrounding why. They are still very much in love, share a healthy and beautiful amount of intimacy during the 48 hours this film spans, have a great home together, and receive loving support from numerous and various friends and co-workers. So, why is Robert moving to Africa for two years to work for the World Health Organization? The answer, it turns out, is complex. Enter Nick, the doe eyed, voluptuous lipped, silky haired, ex-boyfriend of Michael, played brilliantly by Steve Buscemi.

Without spoiling the skillful, and overwhelmingly human, unfolding of this riddle, let me just say that Nick and Michael shared a youthful past that is heartbreaking because sometime in the near future only one of them will still be around. They were once a couple. But it was at a time in their lives when at least one of them wasn't ready to settle down. They enjoyed mischief, carelessness, and each other at a time when everything was new and the world had no boundaries. Their lives during that time is shown in pieces as flashbacks. The flashbacks are the thoughts, memories, and overpowering feelings, that they carry with them still. They appear in dreams while napping. Or, when Michael looks at a photo series of boardwalks on Fire Island; a place where they literally "spent" their youth. There are many very subtle, but very moving and revealing, moments in this film. None more than when Nick (Steve Buscemi) sits on Michael's lap, looks him straight in the eye, and as he draws his fingers over his lips, mouths the words, "I love you". And your heart drops into your stomach...

But Nick and Michael haven't been together for more than five years because Michael and Robert are a firmly established couple and seemingly happy. So, why the split? That's the crux of this film. This film is about the complexities of love and relationships. Love tests the limits of everyone who goes near it. Some can handle it. Some struggle. Robert is struggling and he wants a "break because things have become predictable". Ever heard that one before? Of course it's BS, but how the truth is parsed out over 90 minutes is what makes "Parting Glances" a wonderful film that aims at the heart and hits a bullseye.

This film was made before the internet existed, before computers, cell phones, texting, Grinder, apps, laptops, modems, halogen light bulbs, and even CD's. When this film was made people still spoke on land line phones with rotary dials, played vinyl records on a turntable to hear music, used pay phones, and the yellow pages. And to see Africa on a map you had to open a World Atlas book that was the size of a breakfast table. And yet, it is a very modern film. And it endures today because of its humanity which will outlive anything we invent next. At our core, we still want our hearts to be touched and this film does that. In a scene that takes place in a stairwell there is a conversation between Nick, who has seen it all, and a young gay man who is seeing it all for the first time. The polarity in that scene, and between these two lives, a young man who is staring down the end of his young life, and a younger who man who is staring wild eyed into the future is unforgettable. And it is just one of many unforgettable moments in this powerful little film.

It is impossible to overstate two things. One is the incredible talent of Bill Sherwood who wrote, directed, edited, and scored this film. God bless him, he had something he wanted to say before he left this world in his thirties, and he said it. "Parting Glances" is one of the best films ever made that deals with the complexities, and ordinariness, of people who are, incidentally, gay. The other is Steve Buscemi who's previous film roles, immediately prior to "Parting Glances", was "Dead Pimp" in "No Picnic" (1986). I haven't seen "No Picnic" but it kinda sounds like he didn't even have a line in it. In this film, however, he owns the role of Nick with a "half past give a crap" attitude that masks his fear over the loss he knows he's about to experience. He is sweet, touching, charming, desirable, and a smart ass. It is a Steve Buscemi that we never saw again. But his talent can't be missed and this role is unlike anything he did after.

Watch this film. I saw it for the first time in the mid 80's and have come back to it again and again over the years. It has aged very well. Its basic humanity, and story about love, will never die. And maybe that was why Bill Sherwood gave us this treasure. So that we would never forget what this is all supposed to be about. Spoiler alert: stop reading if you haven't seen it yet. It all ends well.
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7/10
7/10
desperateliving16 February 2004
An early gay movie that deals with AIDS on a first-hand basis, the film is delightful because it doesn't water down (or fetishize) the gay characters for a straight audience. Steve Buscemi gives a wacky, youthful performance as the character with the disease, and chronichles his relationship with his ex-boyfriend and his new partner. It's a slight but pretty enjoyable little movie, probably worth seeing for any Buscemi fan. 7/10
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8/10
Forgive my terrible review.
alexakis396 April 2010
I originally watched with movie too see Steve Buscemi, but it turned out to be a lot better then I was expecting. The story between Micheal and Robert is very sweet, but at the same time bittersweet knowing Micheal is still in love Nick, who is also dying of AIDS. This wasn't a 'feel-back-for-Nick-because-he's-dying' thing with Nick though. It was as though he excepted his illness, but wasn't going to let it control his entire life (like going on tour. He's a musician). At the same time, there were parts where you could see that Nick was still scared about his situation. One thing about this movie that caught my attention, was the music. Afer I bought this film, there was information on the movie and it said that Bill Sherwood was a music major. So while he was filming, he could hear the music playing in his head. Overall, this is a good film. I'm glad I found out about it.
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10/10
A Perceptive Gem About What Gay Life is Really Like!
BaileySEA16 September 2009
Parting Glances is a bit of life forever immortalized on film. It is truly endearing and real. It's mid eighties NYC, gay young America and early AIDS all rolled into a witty, intelligent film about real characters with umph. Parting Glances is special little film that sticks with you forever. Richard Ganoung, who has rarely been seen since is a gem, as is a young Steve Buscemi, John Bolger (ex Philip Guiding Light) and the great Kathy Kinney. This is what it is like to be gay! Most gay themed films can't even come close to this genuine, low budget feature. When I watch this it takes me back to a wonderful time of exploration and soul searching. It makes a feeling I had once, come alive again!
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9/10
Loved it and still love it
burghbill27 December 2005
I saw this film shortly after its release and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I went so far as to arrange the Central PA premiere as part of an arts festival in State College, PA. The film resonates with me in many ways, but none so much (and to this day, 2 decades later it brings me to tears) when one character says that the other's beloved has left town and the other says, no, the beloved is YOU. Brilliant and so telling of relationships gay, straight and in between. You cannot be a living, breathing, LOVING human being and NOT see the universality in this film. Also, the depiction of life in NYC in the mid-80s is dead on, much like Ethan Mordden's "I Don't Think We're in Kansas Anymore" series. A slice of life that no longer exists is well represented here. Any one who was out in the 1980s will acknowledge that this is how the "scene" played out for many people.
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8/10
Dated But Parting Glances Emotions Endure
Jason Shaw18 December 2012
Parting Glances was made in 1984 and had a somewhat limited release in 1986 and is without a doubt a powerful and important film in the genre that is gay cinema. It was one of the very first American films to feature the then relatively new disease of HIV/AIDS at a time when much was still unknown about the disease and prejudice against it was at its highest. Bill Sherwood, the writer and director passed away from an AIDS related complication in 1990, Parting Glances was his first and last film.

The main aspect of the story focuses on a New York gay couple, Robert and Michael, in their twenties. Robert is heading off on an incredibly long assignment for the World Health Organisation to deepest darkest and most isolated Africa, Michael, his partner, is staying behind. The film is set out over the two days prior to Robert's departure, with some scenes taking place at an amusing farewell party hosted by the couple's friend, Joan. Some other scenes take place at a dinner party thrown by Richard's unconventional boss and there is a whole bulk with Nick, an old friend and ex-lover of Michael's who happens to be living with AIDS.

The script is fun, witty, exciting and interesting, some of the lines given to the character of Nick are so sharp they cut the dialogue like acid through skin, they really are that potent. There are many different character types populating the movie, especially at the party scenes, which show off New York's society rather well and make you hanker for a live in Manhattan in the early eighties.

Parting Glances was one of the first movies to deal with the subject of AIDS in such a frank, direct and honest way, which for the time was a real revelation. It did not gloss over, nor shy away from the implications or the savagery associated with the disease, at a time when everything like it was still new. There are some deeply searching moments, not least when Nick talks of the decadent and hedonistic days back in the freedom of the seventies creeping into the early eighties. This low budget but important film was made on a budget of a couple of dollars over $40,000, which in movie terms is not even the shell on a peanut. The shooting was completed in a whirlwind seven days, which is remarkable to say the least, you'd certainly not think it was made that quickly when you watch it.

I am fond of this movie, it may seem a little dated at first, but then we are going back almost thirty years since it was made, so it is bound to show some signs of age. Yet, through an exceptionally shrewd script and some talented acting the complexities and nuances of the human relationships shine on the screen, yes even now, after all this time, they still have the power to move. I would suggest a couple of viewings are required to get the full impact of this film to the innocent virginal viewer, otherwise you might not catch some of the intriguingly witty throw away lines peppering the dialogue. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
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7/10
Pretty good movie
bellhollow18 August 2005
This movie was about the 24 hour period of the end of one relationship, the other guy, and the kid who wants to be the new guy. I loved Kathy Kinney's character and how she had stories behind her paintings. She seemed like the average joe, trying to make a living while having a little fun. The ending was not expected and made Steve Buscemi's character look like a guy with a lot of class. Casting was great and the acting was like I was watching a normal group of people dealing with AIDS. And guess what, none of the main characters die in the movie. I felt like I could just be watching in on a real life as opposed to some scripted reality show. I'll probably like this more after I've seen it a couple of times.
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10/10
The best gay film of all time
timleemail14 February 2001
This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Concerning the last 24 hours of a couple's relationship before one leaves for a job in Africa, Parting Glances offers a simple slice of life look at New Yorkers in the mid 80's. What makes it truly remarkable is its use of realism to convey the complexities of various relationships. Steve Buscemi claims this early work in his career is his best performance ever and I don't disagree. Kathy Kinney as the most realistic fag hag ever put on film (besides Mary Louise Parker in Longtime Companion) adds layers of meaning.

The stairwell scene Buscemi and another actor ranks as my favorite individual scene in any movie as well when it shows the differences of age and experience between young and older gay men. The film seems simple upon first viewing but watch it again top fully catch all the nuances of character and situations. A classic!
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10/10
The best gay film of all time
timleemail14 February 2001
This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Concerning the last 24 hours of a couple's relationship before one leaves for a job in Africa, Parting Glances offers a simple slice of life look at New Yorkers in the mid 80's. What makes it truly remarkable is its use of realism to convey the complexities of various relationships. Steve Buscemi claims this early work in his career is his best performance ever and I don't disagree. Kathy Kinney as the most realistic fag hag ever put on film (besides Mary Louise Parker in Longtime Companion) adds layers of meaning.

The stairwell scene Buscemi and another actor ranks as my favorite individual scene in any movie as well when it shows the differences of age and experience between young and older gay men. The film seems simple upon first viewing but watch it again top fully catch all the nuances of character and situations. A classic!
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10/10
brilliant
GayFilmViewer29 November 2011
"Parting Glances" is the first gay-themed film I'd ever seen that did not present homosexuality as something to be ashamed of and apologized for - and it didn't have the characters pathetically pleading for tolerance. It did not present the lives of gay men as something exotic, strange or as the subject of some clinical study. It simply presents the characters on the screen as people, dealing with their lives, careers and relationships as best they could in the early, dark days of the AIDS pandemic. I suppose it would hard for me to describe to a younger viewer how much of a revelation this was to us in 1986.

While it certainly lacks the rough, edgy quality of The New Queer Cinema works that followed a few short years later, it is their clear cultural and cinematic antecedent.

Screening this film for the first time in over a decade last week, it hardly seems dated, where some of the movies that followed seem locked in a specific time and place.

As much as things have changed in the 25 years since I'd dragged so many friends to the theater (about a dozen times) to see "Parting Glances," so much has stayed the same... except that I am still alive and so many of those friends have since perished.

While I might be accused of seeing the film through a nostalgic haze, I am certain in my opinion that, in terms of gay cinema, "Parting Glances" represents a turning point as important as Welles' "Citizen Kane" or Godard's "Breathless." The difference, though, is that "Parting Glances" didn't just change gay cinema, it helped change how we see ourselves.
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10/10
Still Brilliant
avgjoedc21 January 2011
It's hard to believe how cutting edge this film was in the '80s. It dealt with a disease that was still misunderstood and not given its final name, but it explored so much more. The fact that the central couple is gay is irrelevant in the way it shows the effect of strong friendships in the wake of true, committed relationships and the sacrifices both endure to remain strong (gay or straight). People now watch it for Steve Buscemi - who was excellent - but the brilliant Richard Ganoung, subtle John Bolger, Kathy Kinney, Adam Nathan, and highly natural Kristin Moneagle are memorable. While it captures the feel of the 80s, it's truisms are timeless.
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7/10
A Pleasant Trifle
harry-763 April 2000
"Parting Glances" owes much of its charm to Director Bill

Sherwood's skill and pacing and organizing his unknown

cast in pleasant, diverting vignettes. There's not much to

the basic situation--a 24 hour period focusing on a young

professional New York man when his significant other is

planning to leave the country for an extended period.

A surprise party is thrown for the couple, some new friends are made, a mutual friend with a disease is involved in the proceedings, and various snapshots of Village life are presented in a lively collage.

Some of the scenes come off better than others (a few dream and fantasy segments are less than successful) but

generally interest is maintained by an attractive, talented young cast, which works in a lively manner.

For a low budget, independent effort, Sherwood's film is

quite pleasant.
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10/10
This movie had a huge influence on my life
johnffurth24 October 2016
I watched Parting Glances last night after seeing it 30 years ago. I had forgotten how much this movie played a part in determining the course of my life. The power it had over me then came back in a rush last night.

I was living in Germany in 1986 and after watching the film I knew I had to break up with my boyfriend at the time return to NYC and get my MBA.

After another stint working in Germany post-MBA I met the man who has been my life partner for 22 years now. He grew up on the UWS and I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever met. I returned again to NYC. I hate to say something so cheesy but I felt we were like Michael and Robert in the film - although my love for Curtis hasn't changed in all the time we've been together.

The characters and the situation in the movie capture the mood in NYC of the mid-80's - both the good and the bad. NYC has changed so much since then and in many ways I long for what seems to me to have been a freer time and place, despite the tragedy of AIDS that was taking place.
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8/10
Where modern gay cinema began.
mark.waltz29 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Forget about "Making Love", "Cruising" and "Partners". "Parting Glances" is where real gay filmmakers began putting their ideas onto screen, much like writers had been doing on stage for years. "Parting Glances" is set in Manhattan where two lovers (Richard Ganoung and John Bolger) prepare to part while Bolger goes overseas on a long business venture. Ganoung's ex-lover (Steve Buscemi, in his break-out role) is HIV positive and possibly dying, and Bolger knows that he risks loosing Ganoung while he's gone. A group of their friends (hosted by "The Drew Carey Show's" Kathy Kinney, as far from Mimi here as she can be) show up for a surprise farewell party in her SoHo apartment, and like the party of "Boys in the Band" and those in gay cult classics "Auntie Mame" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's", will be unforgettable.

It is here where the audience meets all sorts of gay prototypes, from a former priest still to shy to fully accept his homosexuality, the cute "twink" record store clerk with a crush on Ganoung, the wealthy but overweight queen who seems to "buy" companionship, and the various artistic types, both straight and gay, who interject some minor conflicts into the proceedings. There's also a visit to a Chelsea Club where the music of Bronski Beat is heard in the background to give the film a true 80's feel.

The film has some very slow moments (particularly a dinner party with Bolger's boss and his wife) which are important in setting up various plot elements, but once you get to Kinney's party, its all set to go. Kinney is unforgettable, her warm-hearted pal so comfortable that you long to have her in your own circle. (I can say, having met Ms. Kinney, that this is very close to her own personality rather than the obnoxious, overly mascara'd Mimi). Bolger, best known for his long-term roles on half a dozen soaps (he'd just come off of "Guiding Light" as Philip Spaulding), adds charm to his "Ken Doll" character, while Ganoung and Buscemi really do sparkle together in their prankish scenes as the still friendly ex's. (Their revenge against the portly queen in one of the final scenes is hysterical, even if it is a bit cruel spirited...)

This film for me had a very special meaning in the mid 1980's as it gave me the courage to open up to myself the truth of my own sexuality, and I'm sure it had the same influence on others afraid to come out during the early years of HIV. The issue is strongly dealt with through Ganoung's character who vows to fight Washington while dealing with his knowledge that Buscemi might succumb to AIDS eventually. These characters are really identifiable in the gay world of Manhattan (pre-technology obsessed), and as a film, this remains an important piece of art that has now become a gay classic.
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10/10
A gay classic
preppy-322 June 2013
It's about a couple living in NYC--Michael (Richard Ganoung) and Robert (John Bolger). Robert is moving to Africa for 2 years for job related issues. The movies follows the last 24 hours of their life before he goes.

There's no real plot but this caught (I heard) just what it was like to be a gay man in NYC in the mid-1980s. They're dealing with AIDS and various other issues but this is not an AIDS drama. Only one character has it (beautifully played by Steve Buscemi) and he deals with it in a humorous way. The movie deals with relationships (gay and straight) and how to deal with the various complications that arise within them. It's beautifully filmed in NYC with a wonderful script and sharp performances. There's also classical music in the background which helps the easy-going mood and feeling. It all leads to a happy (and believable) ending. Definitely a gay classic of the 1980s.

This barely got released back in 1986 (it was made on a VERY low budget) and went nowhere but it became acknowledged over the years and is now held in high acclaim. One sad note--writer/director Bill Sherwood died of AIDS in 1990 so we'll never know what he might have accomplished.

Well worth catching.
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Just Great!!!
Brandy-2810 May 1999
I really don't have that much to actually say about this movie. Except I thought it was great and handle the issues of AIDS - not by jamming it into our faces, but laughing it up and enjoying life. I really don't have that much to say. See it for yourself, you'll be smiling in the end.
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