|Index||10 reviews in total|
No queens, no histrionics...other than a deliberate put-on one. Lots of
laughs with gays laughing at themselves or, rather, the picture that society
would have of them. I had never understood before how men can make love
face to face. And the scene between the dyke and the queer (it's OK, they
use these words) trying to make love is PRICELESS!!! Talk of forests and
lollipops. The boy and girl dancer are really best friends.
What's really poignant is the scene in Greece....was it the Delphi ruins? The timeless beauty of the place, and the definitely known finite-ness of the visitors was a juxtaposition you'll seldom see. As he throws the ashes of 2 AIDS victims out in the beautiful Aegean (?) Sea, the wind blows it back upon them. "I've got Ramon in my eyes" the dancer responds. From the georgeous Grecian landscape back to the burning wrecked cars in a junkyard of London was a GREAT seque.
Judy Tutin has died, which is why I bought this movie. Her line "Don't be sad because you won't grow old." as her self-knowledge about her Altheimer's becomes more obvious, is even more touching.
So, we have a comedy about dancers and AIDS. What other profession has been so struck by this horror?
The lines about living life to its' fullest till you die are tremendously inspiring, and the comedy all around keeps the beautifully shot movie from being doleful. See it with a gay friend...one who dances.
AIDS movies formed the core of queer cinema ten or twenty years ago, and there were many memorable ones (The Living End, Parting Glances, World and Time Enough...). This British movie came out near the end of that 90s period, just about the time new drug cocktails were beginning to change the life course of HIV sufferers. The movie is set just before that time, and its gay characters are too familiar with the dying of their community. As one of them here says when challenged by a hospital nurse during a friend's last hours, "We've done this before." I first read about this movie in a glowing NY Times review when it received its very limited American release a decade ago, and wished I could see it. Now I have, thanks to Netflix. Though the AIDS epidemic is always in the background, the center of the movie is the unlikely but all the more believable relationship between a handsome, sexy young dancer played by Jason Flemyng, and an overweight, alcoholic therapist played by Antony Sher. The actors and the screenwriter take care to help us understand how these two mismatched souls become mates, and in doing so, elicit sympathy for these two deeply flawed individuals. This may have been a low budget indie flick, but it features the virtuoso acting that we so often associate with British thespians, not only from Flemyng and Sher, but in a lovely turn by Dorothy Tutin as a batty old dance company manager who is sinking into dementia even as the younger members of her company are dying off. This all makes the movie sound pretty grim, but in fact it's lively and funny. The movie's chief asset, aside from its performances, is its snappy and sophisticated dialogue by Martin Sherman (who wrote Bent). This is an adult love story, though no one ever says "I love you." The two lovers are both painfully imperfect humans, like all of us, who cannot manage their interactions with anything like the smoothness that psychobabble books (or Hollywood movies) suggest they should. Even the therapist who helps other folks manage their traumas cannot manage his own with grace. The highlights of the movie are the sharply written "duets" between the two protagonists as they navigate their very rocky relationship. My chief reservation about the movie is a plot dive into some sappy melodrama as the dancer's climactic farewell performance approaches, but even so, the movie earns its sentimental wash more than most with the careful, sophisticated development of its characters. I forgave alright, I even succumbed to the last act sentimentality. And finally, I can't resist a brief reference to Mr. Flemyng's attractiveness. I first noticed him oozing sex appeal in Stealing Beauty, and then playing the bully villain in Hollow Reed. Alas, in recent years, he seldom seems to turn up on American screens doing anything much worth watching. Pity. He's plenty worth watching in Alive and Kicking.
Kudos to those bringing this incredible breathtaking film to the public. Director, Nancy Mecker, is one who understands the story, the actors and her audience. She brings this sometimes funny, sometimes awesome movie to a level of intelligence and honesty not often seen in the gay-themed run of the mill flicks. AIDS is certainly an issue here, but not the focal point. It only introduces us to a more in depth understanding as to why some who are stricken with this disease take certain paths of survival. Having lost so many friends and fellow performers to this illness, I am very sensitive of what happens to those stricken. How nice to see strength and courage in this movie. And the dancer, beautifully played by Jason Flemyng, never stops trying to achieve that perfect dance, that place in the sun of perfection. The final dance is probably the finest dancing ever filmed. The second time I saw this film I took a good look at those that were helping the dancers by lifting them. Their eyes spoke their love to the men they held in their arms. It had me weeping and loving and wanting to express my feelings towards someone. As the dancer's lover, Antony Sher was a terrific partner for the ego of Flemyng's character. He certainly wasn't what the typical gay film goer would expect to see. A bit on the chunky side, balding and older, Sher was a joy. And, yes, those ice cream and hot fudge treats made me horny too. What a wonderful understated performance. The two men together were classic. The trip to Greece was perfect for this film, adding yet another level of beauty of the male form in motion. The sex scenes were well played. Just enough but always keeping in mind the characters they were and their needs. I loved this movie so much, I went out and bought it for my collection.
Shown here on HBO Signature as "Alive and Kicking," I've seen this film
twice now, and I marvel at how well it was put together, and how
incredible it is that it never received the notices or exposure it
should have...but not that incredible. My guess is that States-side
audiences, gay and otherwise, weren't quite ready for such an
unconventional love story, in which AIDS is definitely an issue, but
not the sole focal point of the story.
The tale revolves around the coupling of an HIV-infected, self-absorbed dancer (is there any other kind?) with the bearish, balding, hard-partying AIDS therapist who was treating one of the dancer's closest friends, who has just passed away as the movie unfolds.
Gay American filmmakers who didn't get a clue from movies like BEAUTIFUL THING, PRISCILLA or THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRANES should've paid more attention here. The barriers between these two radically different people are given an honest presentation, and AIDS just happens to be one of them. No one is more surprised or stunned than these lovers are, (except maybe the audience), at the level of passion, tenderness, concern and brutal honesty that they unearth from one another's bodies and souls.
Rather than the idyllic romance of two Soloflexed beauties, the differences in personality and body type both clash and compliment the two men, and the excellent performances by Jason Flemyng as Tonio, the dancer, and the curmudgeonly-yet-cuddly Antony Sher as his new love keep the scenario real without disintegrating into queenly histrionics or maudlin manipulation.
The entire supporting cast is excellent, but special mention should be made of stage-and-screen vet Dorothy Tutin as Luna, the founder and lioness of the dance company of which Tonio is a part. Experiencing her own 'Indian Summer', the once-innovative choreographer is only spared the agony of watching in helpless anguish as this century's plague continues to decimate the ranks of her once vital company, due to the ironic cruelty of an ever-advancing case of Alzheimer's. Tutin never plays the role for obvious laughs, and the ghost of a once-great creative force that she shows us does elicit smiles, but sad, nostalgic ones.
Lovers of films "off-the-beaten-path" of any sexual persuasion should give this one a try. The rewards are worth it.
This movie turned up late night on Cinemax, and there was nothing else on so I stuck with it. Being an open-minded moviegoer, I wasn't taken aback by the story of this conceited gay dancer who can't imagine letting himself get involved in a relationship, particularly not with the aggressive therapist. Once the two start talking, it's funny how they pull themselves closer by pretending to push each other away. Their unlikely pairing goes from heat to companionship to frustrations to resolve. The most hilarious scene involves the dancer and his female best friend, when they play scientist with each other's "lab equipment". The most dramatic scene is when a somewhat-expected tragedy is turned into a powerful performance before an audience. This is a funny and easygoing movie about letting go of life's frustrations, then remembering to live.
The best AIDS film I've seen and one of the best dance films. Antony Sher and Jason Flemyng are perfect as the paunchy drinker and the bitchy dancer destined for a love match; the music is gorgeous and the film funny and moving in equal measure. Deserved a lot more exposure than it got.
I really enjoyed this movie. As someone, who has been in the dance world, I thought this movie really showed what its like pretty realistically. The whole tone of the film was tender and sweet, and all the actors were very likable. I was impressed with Jason Flemyng's work and loved the character he created. Anthony Sher was a perfect match for Flemyng, and they were lovely together. This film dealt with the issue of AIDS in a very tasteful way. This movie had sweet, funny, sad and bittersweet moments. The movie shows you how no one should take life for granted, and you really feel the joy that all the dancers get from dancing. A powerful film for dance lovers, and anyone else.
As former ballet, jazz dancer myself, this movie really hit home for me. First, the struggles of everyone you know dropping dead from this _ _ _ _ ed up disease. Second, the struggle of just dancing everyday to be perfect. Third, the need for everyone to love me and of course my dancing. The final scene will tug at your heart. I've seen this disease up close and it can really do this to a person, but this guy's guts and determination to not give up just gave me goose bumps during the final dance. You can just see the passion, love, strength, energy, commitment, determination, and guts that this guy had up until the end. It will truly amaze you. Also I loved the whole idea of this beautiful sexy blond dancer falling in love with the not so beautiful therapist (fat, balding and not a blonde). See it.
One thing I look for in a gay based movie is whether the actors either
gay or straight, can give a realistic performance. Jason Flayming and
Antony Sher gave a convincing dialog, and romantic scene, after scene.
All the actors were good and the dance sequences were outstanding, (and
I don't like ballet) .
The ending dance is very sexy and the cast really seemed caught-up in the dream-like-naked-torso-writhing and really enjoyed themselves.
The fact that this was about aids and people dying could have smothered the whole movie, but, it didn't dwell on the morbid, rather it gave everyone hope to carry -on with their lives.
Jack knew that if Tonio was not dying, he would not have given him a chance at the romance they have. And Tonio knows that there is a certain infatuation that Jack has for the fact that Tonio is dying.
They have their spats and both men need extra room now an then. Jack from the everyday dealings with aids patients (he is a therapist) to Tonio's hurting, aching body and the pressure to perform one last show.
I got wrapped-up in these characters and was able to have genuine feelings for them. I saw this on VHS and I understand it is available on DVD which I will add to my collection. ciao yaaah69
but new product. a film about gay world, AIDS, dance, vulnerabilities, need of love and protection, shadows of fear and fall. a fragile universe who becomes, in this case, more than link of clichés. because the fundamental note is honesty. the movie is just a confession. not cruel, not pink, not sarcastic, not full of cries. just honest, clear, realistic and profound in basic nuances.a film about connections and fight against sickness. a beautiful occasion to discover the roots of dance as sacrifice, testimony and gift. a film like a drawing. only pencil lines. a sketch like glass door. a piece from a biopsy. and the other like sense of next step. all is in good place - humor, pain, hope, fear, limits, joy as butterfly circle. a film about life. about art. and a man. like part of central character for who death is more than ordinary end.
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