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David O'Neil, a plasterer and mature student Theo have been best mates for fourteen years and are practically inseparable. However, their friendship has become strained as Theo is about to move in with his long-term girlfriend, photographer Hannah. A raging jealousy awakes in David and he starts scheming to break up the loving couple using Hannah's insecurities against them. When the couple eventually separate David is in a quandary about his next move and is forced to confront his long-hidden homosexuality and feelings towards Theo. Eventually, David decides to reveal his sexual orientation and deep love for Theo very publicly by arranging for them both to appear as guests on Judith Adams' talk-show, "forgive and forget", with tragic consequences for their friendship and David's family. Written by
Mark Smith <email@example.com>
FORGIVE AND FORGET was originally written by Mark Burt and directed by Aisling Walsh as a TV movie aimed at a straight audience in the UK. That fact is important to remember as it makes this excellent film more credible to the audience that is finding it negative. The world at large remains homophobic as is evident not only in the US with all the measures before the voting public about gay rights, but also with the unrelenting gay bashing around the world in virtually every country. FORGIVE AND FORGET attempts to defuse some of that irrational behavior, yet sadly it only succeeds on some levels: some are still either incredulous that this story could happen and end the way it does while others quietly nod in recognition of a an atmosphere that remains essentially unchanged with the apparent passage of time's enlightenment.
Working class plasterer David (Steve John Shepherd) and perennial student Theo (John Simm) have been best friends (mates) for fourteen years, David the larger of the two being Theo's protector and defender. They are devoted to each other in the best sense of the word. Theo begins seeing artist Hannah (Laura Fraser) who is still recovering from a broken relationship with an unfaithful guy. As the couple's relationship intensifies, David sees his mate moving away from him emotionally, a fact that is made more difficult due to the fact that David is a closeted gay man, still living with his virulently homophobic parents, and in truth is deeply in love with Theo. Theo tries to bring David into his new life with Hannah, but David resists, begins having meaningless sexual encounters in Soho, and gradually finds ways to weaken Theo and Hannah's new relationship by playing on Hannah's insecurities. David's attempts at finding time together with Theo result in weakening Hannah's trust and she leaves Theo. As the truths of David's desperate attempts to retain Theo to himself become apparent, Theo questions David's motives. David, unable to talk with anyone, opts for going on a popular UK confessional TV show ('Forgive and Forget') where he admits he is gay and declares his love for Theo, a public announcement that results not only in David's being disowned by his parents but also in being beaten bloody by Theo, a sad dénouement stopped only by Hannah's intrusion during the beating. The only positive aspect of David's public confessional is that at last he is free of the lie he has been living, and though he has seemingly lost everything, he at last has some peace of mind - a tragically confessed happiest day of his life.
The cast is homogenously excellent, but the quality of acting by the exceedingly handsome and charismatic Steve John Shepherd and by John Simm and Laura Fraser is exceptional. Whether the audience is deeply disturbed by this film or closely aligns with its message, the film as an artwork cannot be faulted. It is a brave little movie that dares to hold a mirror up to the audience, hopefully enlightening at least a few as to the perpetuated homophobia that maligns the lives of many citizens. Recommended viewing. Grady Harp
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