Longtime Companion (1989) Poster

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John13 August 2003
I saw this film one night on my local PBS station not knowing what it was about. When the film opens on a crowded disco soundtracked Fire Island (1980) and I realized it was a gay themed film I was about to turn it off being a hetero male, I figured nothing here to relate too. WRONG. I stuck with the film and probably have to rate this as one of my top 10 movies ever. WOW did this film floor me! It follows a group of gay friends and lovers (and a hetero gal pal)through the AIDS plagued 80's decade. This film is truly written with insight and compassion. I found all the characters interesting and realistic with the actors portraying them excellently as well (especially Campbell Scott and Bruce Davidson). The scene with Davidson bringing his lover to his death is heartfelt and emotional but the scene at the end with the 3 survivors walking now on a silent deserted Fire Island beach as all their friends(and others) who died from AIDS milling about as they remembered them brought a lot of tears to my eyes. It is how all of us as humans try to remember those we love who have passed. I recommend this movie to all people both gay and straight because it is a film that transcends these labels and speaks to us as just humans,all in this mystery called life, as one.
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Still very, very good
cspjenkins3 May 2003
I was a physician in New York City from 1989 until 1992, and saw a tremendous number of people with AIDS. I feel that this movie, although it may appear to be dated, is an excellent portrayl of events that were all too common at that time. It gives a good sense of the confusion, misinformation, sense of being lost, and of not knowing what to do for those suffering and for their friends and companions. The actors did an excellent job in showing this. I believe that this movie is still important and merits being shown often.
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still packs a punch
benson86513 January 2005
i bought the DVD and watched it the other night. cried like a baby. i remember the fairly gay crowd i saw it with originally in the movie theater. two scenes are especially going to stay in my mind forever. the ICU scene and the bedroom scene with Bruce Davison telling someone that its okay and let go. i can believe why he was nominated for an Oscar, i am amazed that he didn't win. does anyone remember who did??

The film faithfully depicts an era of gay life that shocked some people and was applauded by others. its frankness was one of its best features. it was not a soap opera but a slice of real life, both joyous and tragic. as thousands still die every year, apparently a lot of people missed the point. it had no apologies and its many relationships: brother and sister, partner and partner, friend and friend are as vital today as then. gay in those days was based on sexual experimentation, it is unfortunate that the results were/are so deadly. i really suggest young people today find this film and pay attention. and if you haven't seen this, rent it/buy it/watch it. you won't soon forget it.
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A milestone of gay cinema
timleemail14 February 2001
A landmark film, not only in that it is the first film to deal with the AIDS crisis, but also in its portrayal of gay men and their friends. Sitting on the cusp between earlier depictions of gays as murderous or suicidal and later caricatures of funny, sexless "best friends", the men shown here are very real and very honest in their decade long struggle with death and illness. I defy you to watch Bruce Davison's heartbreaking farewell speech and not be choked up on some level of emotion. And Mary Louise Parker add a special touche. This movie has arguably the greatest final scene in gay cinema.
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The Human Face of AIDS
gbheron24 September 2000
Longtime Companion chronicles the lives of a group of gay men during the 1980s. The focus of the film is AIDS, unknown to the men when the film opens in 1981, but by the end of the story in 1989, it has become the central defining event in the lives of the survivors. Shot in almost documentary style the story is told almost matter-of-factly. But the reality of the lives of the men in the story is not matter-of-fact; they are dying and dying in the prime of their lives. It's heart-rending. In this, the movie succeeds very well, raising awareness of the effects of AIDS, and putting a human face to its victims.
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Fantastic Look At Gay Life During The AIDS Crisis
rogers-c9 May 2004
This film is a brilliant look at a group of people who band together to get through the crisis of AIDS in the 1980's. I was touched with the drama shown as members of the group die, the riveting emotion shown as lovers and friends suffer from the effects of the disease.

This film is truely an excellent portrayal of companionship, and love.

Showing the world, that gay men are equal to straight as ever, and that everyone is exposed to life ending diseases. We learn that its important to love life every day, because there may not be a tomorrow. These are great rules to live by. Well Done!
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Bring out your hankies...
domino10037 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Watching "Longtime Companion" for the umpteenth time. It still makes me weep. To watch the well knit group of friends at the genesis of AIDS is heartbreaking. Best performance is Bruce Davidson's portrayal of a man that, at first denies the disease, then has to deal with it on a personal level. In a way, this film pretty much describe the general feeling of many individuals that, at first, denied that AIDS would affect them, then have to face it head on. The issues of the film reflect society's views on the disease and the backlash that followed due to the lack of knowledge of how the disease spreads (One character's hospital visit is a perfect example).

***SPOILER ALERT!!!*** (If you haven't seen this film yet, don't go further!!!)

People talk about the ending, when the 3 remaining friends (Campbell Scott, Mary Louise Parker and Stephen Caffrey)are on the beach, you can't help but cry, because their friends had died from AIDS. In a way, it reflects what anyone that has lost someone close to them: If only the disease never existed, my friend would still be here. Poignant, touching and heartbreaking film. Bruce Davidson was robbed of a richly deserved Oscar.
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A heartbreaking film
rivkah1222 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This is a truly heartbreaking film about how a group of friends is affected by the onset of AIDS. It takes us from the belief that AIDS is a "gay cancer" to present day (meaning early 90s), when gay activism for increased research is becoming common. This film will anger you at the fact that Reagan denied the existence of AIDS for so long, refusing to even mention it, and that that omission may have furthered the spread of this disease.

This is a brave film, one that doesn't flinch from eroticizing the relationships or from the horrors of dying from AIDS. ***Spoiler***Watch in particular for the almost wordless scene in which Bruce Davison (rightly nominated for an Oscar) sits by the bedside of his dying companion.

The cast is nearly pitch-perfect, including Campbell Scott, whose own relationships with his lover and friends are challenged by his own fear and misunderstanding of AIDS. The scene where he visits one of his friends in the hospital but is afraid to use his friend's bathroom speaks volumes about the misperceptions of AIDS in the 1980s.

The movie ends with an epilogue that has been criticized as too hopeful, almost tacked on. I would disagree with that. The ending doesn't minimize what came before it, but holds out hope that with activism and attention to and funding for research, a solution may yet be found.
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Well acted film on A.I.D.S.
guil fisher15 December 2001
Following in the footsteps of AN EARLY FROST, here is yet another film with an AIDS theme to reckon with. Unlike FORST [which actually dealt with a gay couple and their parents] this deals with the gay community and several lover relationships. What I like about this film, and I did like FROST, was the honesty in telling the story of relationships. We are introduced to a group of gay friends and their mates, who spend much time together in vacationing on Fire Island, the gay resort, and in the hospital visitng each other when stricken with the unknown disease that has become a plague amongst us today. The actors brought their own individual depth to each character. I couldn't find a bad performance in the lot. Notably Bruce Davison stands out. He brings such an understanding and compassion to his work. You really believe him as he becomes his partner's companion in the last days of his life. The scene when he tells him it's okay to leave, was awesome. How can you separate the good actors from acknowledgement. Campbell Scott and Stephen Caffrey, Patrick Cassidy [and that famous kissing scene on the soap he was acting in] gave such a wonderful scene when he's in his lover's hospital room and begins to break down. The face of his lover as he listens to him cry broke my heart. John Dossett, Mark Lamos and Dermot Mulroney [and I'm not sure what actor played what role] all gave so much honesty to their work. A great ensemble of players, a delicate and honest script about a controversial disease that has by this time taken the lives of millions of young people [gay and straight], excellent direction and well photographed, I highly recommend this to everybody to see. You'll come away with a different attitude about not only gay life, but the killing disease.
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...touchingly real...
ToooNman2 November 1998
As far as I know, Longtime Companion, released in 1990, is the first American motion picture to deal head on with AIDS (whereas Philadelphia (1993), staring Tom Hanks, receives the honor of the first STUDIO film about AIDS). Made on an obviously minuscule budget, this film nevertheless captures an honesty about AIDS and its effects through touchingly real vignettes of a the lives of a group of friends. Some of these mini-stories fall a bit flat, and the film's politics at times seems overly optimistic -- we're supposed to believe that on a TV soap opera a full and deep man-on-man kiss would have happened in 1984.

The unfettered filmmaking and straightforward acting (especially by the subsequently Oscar nominated Bruce Davison), however, keep both the story and the audience grounded -- there are several scenes that seemed so very real that my heart truly ached for these characters. In today's age of expanded understanding of the homosexual heart (that it is, in fact, in no way different from any other heart), the Longtime of Longtime Companion may not seem too terribly extraordinary; within the context of American cinema, however, I have a feeling that history will see this film for the landmark it truly is.
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