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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Mainly Forget

Author: B24 from Arizona
12 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although I rate the directing and acting high, this is ultimately a detestable story, full of logical holes and homophobic animosity. To take a heroic character of basically good intentions and essentially destroy him because of flawed judgment is worthy only when the writer redeems the character in some revelatory denouement. In this case, that never comes.


First, we are treated to a guy who could be the envy of any woman's or man's eye -- a decent, hard-working, fundamentally ethical young man who carries a big secret behind the facade of machismo. That secret -- the tragic flaw, if you will -- is that he is in love with his best buddy (or "mate" in the parlance of the U.K.). Although he tries to find appropriate ways to deal with his emotions, he falls into the trap of bending the truth more than once in an effort to break up his buddy's relationship with an unstable but attractive woman. The result is inevitable: he loses the friend and almost loses his life. End of story. Crude homophobic jokes, gay stereotypes, and fag bashing thrive.

What could have been a nice twist in this made-for-TV play involves the cathartic "outing" of the main character, David (splendidly played by Steve John Shepherd) on a TV talk show much like the old Jenny Jones show. This is an obvious ripoff of the infamous case in the U.S. where a young man did indeed lose his life a few years ago. Instead of allowing David to reveal the complex entirety of his subterfuge, however, he is made out to be a complete fool, which sets up in turn the ineffectual, gratuitous, and needlessly violent ending.

How David's Greek God could fall for a heterosexual nebbish like Theo (played well by John Simm) with almost no redeeming qualities really begs the question. Theo's girlfriend is similarly two-dimensional, Only by some ironic aspect that the audience is never made privy to can there be any sense in this. Likewise, nearly all of the supporting cast consists of stock characters and blatant stereotypes, like the angry Dad and the swishy design consultant supervising David on the job.

But the directing and editing values are good for a TV production. My only complaint is that it could have been so much better. Give this one a high mark for technique and a pass at the same time.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Looking for the Happiest Day of Your Life

Author: gradyharp from United States
26 February 2006

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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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Author: Jed from Toronto ( from Toronto Ontario
10 November 2003

I gave this movie an "8" when I voted for it. It has a tight script and it's extremely well-acted, especially by the closeted gay actor. The ending was thoroughly stupid. It is still worth watching, but be prepared for an ending that is more 1963 than 2003.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Playing hard to get, film makes you think.

Author: Remco van Schellen (vanschellen) from Vlissingen, the Netherlands
17 October 2004

A person can do strange things when in love. David is a working class boy. His friendship with 'mate' Theo seems to be indestructible. Until Theo is starts living together with his girlfriend Hannah. Nobody knows David is in love with Theo. And very jealous, as it turns out…

David plays 'hard to get' by trying to break up Theo and Hannah's relationship. He succeeds, but his lies are uncovered at the end. Especially after the weekend in Brighton when Theo can only think of Hannah who has left him, while David wants to make fun. When David, still very deep in the closet, expresses his feelings for Theo in a Jenny Jones-like program on television the shit really hits the fan. David is kicked out of the house by his father and Theo's friendship for David turns into pure hate.

Forgive and Forget is a film about friendship an jealousy. You can really wonder why David doesn't come out of the closet earlier: his life would have been easier. The end of the film is quite sudden and the question pops up why there has to be a fight involving an iron bar. Where did Hannah come from in the last scene? Even though: Forgive and Forget is a nice and very well performed film that makes you think.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

More Forgettable than Forgivable!

Author: synergistic from United States
6 September 2001

Note: contains spoiler.... 'Forgive and Forget' is on balance, more forgettable than forgivable. Made for Scottish Television (and a boring, Scot version of a BBC drama) by a married female director from a screenplay by a hetero male film student and starring a hetero actor (get a clue here!), the story goes on interminably about how a working class Brit is hopelessly in the closet and jealous of his best mate's live-in girlfriend, whom he's out to undercut by exploiting her paranoia and dislike of his male camaraderie with her boyfriend. It's the British version of a Jerry Springer mentality in the working class subculture which leads, inexorably, to a disastrous coming out on a true-confessions-type TV show called (would you believe) 'Forgive and Forget.' What's sad is that our hero is so naive (and hopelessly inarticulate) that he thinks coming out to his romantic interest on TV will somehow produce a happy ending. No way, Jose. Hetero Sex Object wields a lead pipe and almost kills the guy before girlfriend, appearing miraculously just in time to stop him from murder, leads hetero heartthrob off stage (and, we imagine, to a 'happily ever after'). By this point, since she's already dumped him, she's almost a deus ex machina, and her appearance has no motivation except to save male heterosexuality from life imprisonment (where, no doubt, he would be forced to become some macho guy's 'sex object'). Sorry, but I really didn't like the 'film' (shot on video, no less), including the videography, which was brightly lit and boringly, competently uninteresting. Next time, I'll think twice about believing the hype (here's a clue: the video retailer--whose blurb rating the film I didn't question--is also the film's distributor) and give a movie the old eyeball before showing it to my friends. If you want a far better, and yet more gritty story of coming out in a British working class context, try 'Beautiful Thing'.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A promising start but let me rewrite the ending.

Author: Havan_IronOak from NYC/FL
4 September 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Caution contains spoilers)

This movie started with an interesting premise and had some brilliant moments but then failed to live up to its promise.

David and Theo have been mates for 14 years. But, David, the handsome self-assured alpha male has a secret. He's gay and is in love with Theo. Now Theo is moving in with his girlfriend and David is feeling left out. David sabotages Theo's relationship by playing on the girl's insecurities and then consoles Theo on the break-up.

The crisis of the film comes after the breakup. David is consoling Theo and seems genuinely sad to see his friend in the pain that he knows he himself has caused. When Theo is crying on David's shoulder as he asks, `How do you tell someone you Love them'. The look of recognition on David's face makes the whole movie worthwhile. Theo is asking the very question that has bothered David for so long.

The romantic in me started anticipating a noble, tear wrenching ending ..

David would sacrifice his own feelings for the man he loves. He would go on TV come out and confess to breaking up the couple. Even the jealous girlfriend would have to believe such a public confession. Theo would get his piece of happiness even if it meant that he may never Forgive David or Forget. David would be sadder but wiser and see that there are other men out there other than his straight mate. And Theo would eventually recognize David's sacrifice and the healing would begin.

Well forget it. David opts for another approach and much of the pathos of the film escapes

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Contrived, poorly written and directed soap-opera.

Author: ENRIQUE-3 from Ohio, USA
28 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My first feeling was that I had already seen this kind of stuff too many times already and much better (even in TV). Although the cast was good (most of them deserve better), characters were so unconvincing and the dialog so cheesy that it was impossible to feel any sympathy for them. It is the typical script written with old recipes in the hands of an inept, extremely heavy handed director. Every scene was irritably predictable, except when towards the ending, the film goes overboard, with a total misfired "tour de force." I am sure that this flick will be very successful among family values audiences and the final bloody and extremely severe beating that the gay character gets from his 'straight' friend would be a real treat for hate and neo-Nazis audiences.

I am not giving a 1/10 rating out of respect for the actors (the only reason that I saw this TV produce until the end): I feel sorry for some of them.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This could have been a contender

Author: cpto from New Jersey
8 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed watching Steve John Sheppard and John Simm in the lead roles. They handled their parts as competently as the script allowed.

The script, unfortunately, is the problem. It appears that homophobia is alive and well in the UK, as is the convention that gay romances must end in violence to show how unspeakably nasty the gay character is.

Boy comes out. Admits to his best friend of 14 years that he loves him (on a Jerry Springer type of show, no less). Father throws boy out of house. Ex-best-friend assaults him with a pipe. End of movie.

This is formulaic to the point that reactions are not developed. The scriptwriter assumes that the audience will use their own prejudices to help advance the development of the story and, thus, things occur without background exploration. They just happen, in a typical homophobic way.

The mother makes a homophobic comment about an ex-schoolmate, but it's she who supports her son when he comes out. The father--for no reason we're given--throws the boy out of the house. The best friend of 14 years seems to have ignored the signals that must have come from a close relationship of that length. If this is typical of UK television, I'll stick with HBO and Cinemax, thank you.

Rent the movie if you must, but don't buy it. That will just encourage more of this type of tripe being produced in the future.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not Very Convincing, Despite Good Acting

Author: baker-9 from United States
30 June 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Forgive and Forget" will certainly generate mixed feelings. The central character of David, a closeted working class guy who's desperately in love with his best pal Theo, is interesting in that David becomes the equivalent of a jealous lover when Theo gets increasingly serious about his new GF Hanna (who's not so different from David in some respects).

A jealous lover who has to conceal his feelings, which leads David to some actions that are less than sympathetic. While the film tries to show how David is suffering, the script and the lead actor rarely succeed is making David both wrong-headed but sympathetic. He glowers so much and is so clammed up emotionally that he almost becomes a villain. Theo really is the most sympathetic character in the film, a man victimized by his unreasonable GF and betrayed by his best friend.

(Spoiler alert): The penultimate scene on a TV show called "Forgive and Forget" is unbelievable to me. Even given David's need to tell Theo how he feels, it's hard to believe that someone as closeted as David would come out in such a public, spectacular way. The writer and director don't build David's character in a way where such a gesture seems inevitable. And the film never thinks to explore why the TV show would cooperate with such a surprise admission.

The ending has upset viewers - frankly, I didn't believe Theo to be the type to engage in such brutal behavior. And the Hanna's sudden appearance to stop Theo from inflicting further damage to David made no sense at all, given that she and Theo had already broken up.

Given David's actions it's easy to interpret the beating as David getting what he deserved for betraying his pal...and for daring to fall in love with a straight man and humiliate him by declaring that to him on TV. I can certainly imagine many hetero men readily taking that away from the film, especially as we see Theo and Hanna walking away hand-in-hand leaving David laying on the floor to fend for himself - not even asking if he's OK. As for the last shot of David, who can say what it means? He's learning how to move on? He's still in a dream world?

Anyone familiar with the gay-related murder that resulted from a similar occurrence on the Jenny Jones Show will wonder just what the filmmakers intended here. I understand that the writer of this film makes special mention that he's straight, so you never know.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: yawnmower1 from New York City
4 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is surely one of the nastiest, most misleading, films ever made.

The only redeeming factor is handsome John Shepherd who plays David, a very closeted London construction worker. Secretly in love with his life-long mate Theo, David's covert problems escalate when Theo announces he is moving in with his girlfriend. Unable to share Theo's time and attention, David will do anything to undermine the couple's relationship.

David, with a misguided fantasy of 'sharing', gets the bright idea to come out of the closet on a talk show. An unwitting Theo joins him and is utterly embarrassed when he is told, in front of a national audience, that David is in love with him.

That the plan backfires goes without saying, and the pretense of light comedy ends abruptly. David's ghastly father pronounces him sick and summarily tosses him out of the house. Theo hates him and, to show him just how much, beats David senseless with a lead pipe. I kid you not.

It seems that Theo and his girlfriend are a perfect match after all: they are equally smug and hateful. Looking back with pity and loathing at the wretched, bleeding David, they walk off into the sunset together. A perfect ending for a mean-spirited film that gay-friendly TLA should be ashamed to have produced.

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