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Keep the Lights On (2012)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 27 July 2012 (Taiwan)
2:09 | Trailer

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In Manhattan, film-maker Erik bonds with closeted lawyer Paul after a fling. As their relationship becomes one fueled by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries while being true to himself.


7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marilyn Neimark ...
Marilyn Neimark
Sarah Hess ...
Katie's Mom
Jamie Petrone ...
Katie's Cousin
Stella Schnabel ...
James Bidgood ...
James Bidgood
Alassane (as Souléymane Sy Savané)


It's 1998 and New York City is in a state of intense flux when documentary filmmaker Erik Rothman (Thure Lindhardt) first meets Paul Lucy (Zachary Booth), a handsome but closeted lawyer in the publishing field. What begins as a highly charged first encounter soon becomes something much more, and a relationship quickly develops. As the two men start building a home and life together, each continues to privately battle their own compulsions and addictions. A film about sex, friendship, intimacy and most of all, love, Keep the Lights On takes an honest look at the nature of relationships in our times. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

27 July 2012 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Deixa as Luzes Acesas  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,574, 9 September 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$245,138, 21 December 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Modern iMac box. See more »


Karen: [in Danish] In your twenties, it's charming to be up-and-coming. In your thirties, dear brother, it's pathetic.
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Features In Search of Avery Willard (2012) See more »


Tower of Meaning/Rabbit's Ear/Home Away From Home
Written by Charles Arthur Russell Jr.
Performed by Arthur Russell
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User Reviews

Keep The Lights On
5 August 2012 | by See all my reviews

A KVIFF screening of this year's Teddy winner in Berlin International Film Festival, from American director Ira Sachs. It is a detailed dissection of the a tug-of-war gay relationship between Erik and Paul, which soldiers on almost a decade in the present-time (1997-2006).

Thure Lindhardt, the Danish out-of-the-closet actor who has shown the immense stretch in the skin-head gay-romance BROTHERHOOD (2009, an 8/10), transforms himself into a young immigrant documentary director Erik living in NYC, probably sex-addictive, met the dandy boy Peter (Zachary Booth), first time for sexual intercourse, then the mutual attraction brings both into a relationship complex, which encompasses an overt hindrance, Paul's drug-addition, a cliché default even makes for the consistent trappings of gay life, thanks to the barren soil of the genre.

It's hard not to compare this film with last year's indie darling WEEKEND (2011, an 8/10), both stand out among other numerous lesser achievers, but in very disparate ways. KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is a sultry relationship conundrum exhausts one's vigor even dignity to sustain the suffocating love; while WEEKEND concentrates on the bad-timing symptom after a casual sex date which one must cut off his feeling and affection. Different terms, same payoff. Nevertheless, both films have a cracking two-hander cast, in this case, Lindhardt and Booth are fervently suited to their tailor-made roles, especially Lindhardt, literally carries the film on his shoulders to elaborate a not-so-extraordinary script, I do hope he will not be stereotyped into the gay-actor-can-never-act-straight category for his future career.

The film at large is a mean-well, sincere work with some uneasy aftertaste, but never accomplishes itself as a boredom, a welcome 7 out of 10 is my indulgence.

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