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Based on Michael Chabon's novel, the film chronicles the defining summer of a recent college graduate who crosses his gangster father and explores love, sexuality, and the enigmas surrounding his life and his city.
The gay screenwriter Robert, who is grieving the recent loss of his lover, writes a screenplay based on his biography and tries to sell it to the Hollywood producer Jeffrey. He offers one million dollars for his work, provided changes in the story replacing the dying man per a woman to make a commercial film. Jeffrey shows the screenplay to his wife Elaine, who loves to write and to plant flowers, and she is also delighted with the story. Robert works introducing the required modifications and Jeffrey, who is bisexual, has an affair with him. Meanwhile Elaine finds the gay website where Robert writes and she creates a fake profile to have conversation with him pretending that she is his deceased lover. Soon she learns the affair of her husband and she decides to leave him. But when the gay Robert discovers the truth, he has a breakdown and takes vengeance for Elaine with tragic consequences. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
How do we honor those we love? What kind of therapy can words provide?
I didn't understand the title of this movie but was eager to see it at the Austin Film Festival because it features such an exceptional cast. Campbell Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, and Patricia Clarkson consistently do interesting work and are appearing together for the first time. "The Dying Gaul" is one of the best movies I've seen in awhile.
In one of the first scenes Robert (Peter Sarsgaard) elaborates on the title of his screenplay, "The Dying Gaul," with studio executive Jeffrey (Campbell Scott.) The screenplay and its meaning to the writer becomes a catalyst for the story that unfolds.
This story of lust, manipulation, betrayal, and revenge is - not surprisingly - set in the Hollywood of 1995. But it's a story that could take place elsewhere, it just wouldn't be as captivating or beautifully photographed - and there are some lovely and interesting scenes and unusual close-ups.
Robert has turned the loss of his partner to AIDS into a screenplay that studio executive Jeffrey will pay top dollar for, with one significant change. Jeffrey's wife Elaine (Patricia Clarkson), also a screenwriter, adores the original script. She is drawn to Robert and wants to know more about the forces that influenced his talent. Her shocking discovery propels the story in unexpected ways.
Don't leave until the credits roll or you won't know who screenwriter and director Craig Lucas dedicates his story to. You may think about it in a different light. Lucas also wrote the screenplays of two other movies I liked very much: "The Secret Lives of Dentists" and "Longtime Companion." He is quite good at exploring the mysteries of the heart and dynamics of relationships. Don't miss this movie. I intend to see it again.
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