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Gregory invites seven friends to spend the summer at his large, secluded 19th-century home in upstate New York. The seven are: Bobby, Gregory's "significant other," who is blind but who loves to explore the home's garden using his sense of touch; Art and Perry, two "yuppies" who drive a Volvo and who celebrate their 14th anniversary together that summer; John, a dour expatriate Briton who loathes his twin brother James; Ramon, John's "companion," who is physically attracted to Bobby and immediately tries to seduce the blind man; James, a cheerful soul who is in the advanced stages of AIDS; and Buzz, a fan of traditional Broadway musicals who is dealing with his own HIV-positive status. Written by
Dennis Lewis <email@example.com>
This perceptive drama - written by Terrence McNally, adapted from his award-winning Broadway play - starts out as a warm-hearted examination of the lives and loves of eight middle-class gay men during three eventful weekends at the isolated country home of ageing dancer Stephen Bogardus and his blind, youthful boyfriend Justin Kirk (ANGELS IN America). As it progresses, however, McNally's snappy screenplay begins to expose the faults in his principal characters, as well as their virtues, leading inevitably to fireworks and revelations. Set in a beautiful lakeside house somewhere in upstate New York (filmed in Quebec, though you wouldn't know it), director Joe Mantello - also responsible for the original Broadway production - and cinematographer Alik Sakharov take full advantage of the area's natural beauty, moulding a defiantly cinematic template from the material's inherent staginess.
All but one of the fine ensemble cast was culled from the stage version, including Stephen Spinella and John Benjamin Hickey as a staid yuppie couple, and Randy Becker (LIE DOWN WITH DOGS) as the handsome young stud whose overt sex appeal creates emotional tension in a household dominated by middle-aged men. However, the film is virtually stolen by "Seinfeld"s Jason Alexander (in a role essayed by Nathan Lane on-stage) as the archetypal Broadway-loving queen who lives in fear of his HIV status and masks his anxiety with outrageous humor, and John Glover in dual roles as English twins, one of them noble and humane (and dying of an AIDS-related illness), the other a mean-tempered bitch of the highest order. McNally's script finds something deeper than mere stereotype in these disparate characters, and he examines the many ways in which they love each other, despite their differences. The full-frontal nudity which characterized the original stageplay (causing a minor stir at the time) has been toned down for the film, but not completely erased, and Becker in particular seems entirely at ease during his frequent nude scenes.
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