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Reviews & Ratings for
Keep the Lights On More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

an extraordinary movie

Author: richwgriffin-227-176635 from United States
26 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Puzzled by the strange reviews of this movie: I have to wonder if they somehow saw a different film than I did! (: This movie gripped me from the very first moment to the last; the acting is beyond superb, and not only Thure Lindhardt, but also Zachary Booth. I understood both of these characters, while admittedly am more like Eric than Paul (albeit I've never done any drugs at all). My only discomfort with this movie was the drug use; I need gay-themed movies than don't have drug use in them, but this particular movie is about a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs, so it was necessary in that sense (but I wish Eric hadn't done drugs). I could relate to scene after scene - telling someone you like what they are doing when you don't. Staying in a dysfunctional relationship because you love them and learning that it's best to say goodbye; and the mistake of putting too much importance on sex. I've been in a very similar situation than these two characters with a drug addict back in the 1990's and could completely relate to it. (This is why I find it odd that some of the reviewers said this didn't reflect gay culture - perhaps not for them but certainly it rang true for me).

Ira Sachs direction is superb - and artistic. So many gay-themed films are entertaining but not very artistically satisfying, which makes his achievement here all the more special. The script is spot on. All of the acting performances are wonderful (the bit with the guy being interviewed in the documentary Eric is making was particularly great). The chemistry between the two leads is astonishing. The sex scenes are vivid and real (and hot too). I'm surprised this film is so low-rated - it was #7 on my top ten films list of 2012! (:

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Well acted, slice of gay life movie, but a bit flawed.

Author: scootmandutoo from Long Island, New York
14 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie at the LIGLFF Out at the Movies event last night. As it happened, I liked it better than most. I thought it was a nice mood piece, with good acting, and an involving story, for the most part. I definitely would recommend it.

There were some flaws, though. The biggest one was the time changes. For very little apparent reason, we flash though about 9 years of the main character's lives, and yet they look exactly the same from beginning to end. They have the same hairstyles and have not seemed to age at all. It just seemed non-sensical to make a big deal about the passing of years and not have it impact at all on the appearance of the actors.

Also, other issues pop up that seem to have no relevance to the movie at all in the end, like the results of an HIV test.

While I did like it, I thought it was definitely way too long. It was not as if each yearly segment had some significant action attached to it. Sometimes they didn't. The movie sometimes lurched jarringly ahead a few years, seemingly without valid reason. Since the movie's outcome was obvious in the first half hour, it played out way too long. Still, I did find the characters involving.

As for the person who commented that they had never seen a gay crack addict, this film begins in the 90's. There were gay men who did crack. And not every gay man in this movie did drugs. In fact, the movie made that point quite clear. One of the 2 main characters tried it but did not like it. There was a definite validity to some of the drug culture the movie was referring to. I think more surprising to me was that the person in the movie who was very addicted still managed to hold his high-level job, without repercussions.

One more thing, I did love the soundtrack in this film. It totally matched the movie.

This film was not especially deep, however it was a bit of a melancholic art film that was an interesting look at the decade in the lives of 2 gay men.

It is what it is, and not all that much more.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: tomhashes from .
6 June 2015

I had high hopes for this movie because it has overwhelmingly positive reviews, some even called it the "best film of 2012". I didn't watch the movie until now, and I am really disappointed!

I was dragging myself through most parts of the movie. 30 minutes into the movie and I was thinking, "I'm not interested, what's so interesting about this movie?" Things only became slightly interesting midway through the movie, and so I tried to finish the movie to see if there's a really great ending or something. But sorry, no.

I guess there are two things you can learn after watching this movie: first, the gay hook-up culture (and how it hasn't changed 20 years later... cough... Grindr... cough...); second, the overused "drugs ruin relationships" cliché. Come to think of it, I don't really see the point of the use of drugs in this movie. What's most frustrating is that not much is known about Paul other than his drug addiction! Let's draw an easy comparison: "Weekend" (2011). I don't get how "Weekend" was dragged for filth for featuring drug use, when it actually carries weight and adds an excellent level of depth to the characters! Yes, Paul is a druggie, so what then?

Go see this movie if you want to see a rocky relationship that may or may not work out in the end (no spoiler duh). But don't get you hopes up cause you'll be just as disappointed as I am.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not developed enough a times but succeeds in providing a sense of sadness

Author: jerry07 from United States
26 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this movie driven by many good reviews depicting the story of complex and difficult relationship, dealing your drugged partner while full of self-uncertainty and an unfulfilled life. Gay themed background or not, sounded worth a detour. This Indie movie (low budget) so I will not grade with an eye out for an outstanding choreography and impeccable script. It has some anachronistic oddities (character not changing style over many years, New York City scenes out of era, interior not changing a bit over the course of many years) but also a few artistic shot that may catch your attention (playing with lights, framing or softness). There is a reasonable balance of both your sensitivity or attention to detail may find either enjoyable or disappointing. Again, an Indie movie - don't be too harsh.

With that in mind, the final product does fairly at treating the topic especially with the character of Erik well developed and believable. But it also has gaps and short comings. The second main character of "Paul" as the closeted gay lawyer with a secret side, fails to develop beyond that. By the end, we know nothing of him and it is not all clear if this was intentional or not. Without this development, it is hard to judge of the depth of the struggle - when the "intervention" scene comes to the forefront, we realize there is a real in-depth problem but have not been driven into it but we cannot relate to the depicting of Paul as a "loving and carrying character". We have to feel this as real through Erik.

The movie has also holes and the side scenes and stories do not add much to the thread but raise more questions. From under-developed characters to shallow in passing add ons, we often miss the point and the value added to the threaded theme. OK, we get the idea that Erik has an unstable love life and fall for phone based dating and hook ups. But take the character of Igor for example. Who is he? Do they have a relation? Does he present a better alternative for Erik? This is so brief that the intent is unclear. And what about Erik's BFF? They often travel together but at no point in time are we sure of the nature of their relation - why the friendship and dependence? The confidence? How instrumental is she to his life's story? We are left in our unanswered thoughts.

The performance of the main actor, Dane Thure Lindhardt (Erik), is one to remember for a movie which is not very deep and at times, treated with flaws, omissions and unexplained or unclear characters. The whole atmosphere succeeds to give you a sense of sadness and disconnect but comes short to an in depth drama.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nicely shot, but unbelievably boring

Author: lcf02139 from Boston, Ma
22 October 2014

I saw this with a group of other filmmakers. The film was loosely constructed and most of us found it tedious and boring. One person left mid film and I can say I can't blame him.

The scenes seemed to be edited in a haphazard manner,and the story moved so slow that at times it appeared that there was no story at all. We failed to connect to the characters and were not invested at all. I found myself wanting the main character to hurry up and die so I could go home.

Coming from such an esteemed director, I think we all were expecting a deeper, more emotionally intense cinematic experience. It was a festival hit, including Berlin, and I am not sure why.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not Good

Author: ty_lattimore2007 from Dallas, TX
22 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Beyond disappointed with this film. The DVD cover looks intriguing. Unfortunately the film wasn't. The characters did not make much sense. I found myself having questions and more questions as the narrative just did not make sense. For example it was not clear why the character changed the sheets during sex. The main character using drugs after having so many issues with his partner having a drug problem made no sense. I just did not get through this film easily. It was difficult to make sense of this relationship, this film and the storyline. The character did not engage me to want to root for them or even really care. Definitely a missed opportunity considering the themes the film explores. I also found the movie was almost all white except one black minor character. The film did not at all reflect the diversity of the city it is set in.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sad and depressing, but well acted.

Author: johannes2000-1 from Netherlands
5 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm convinced that this is a very sincere production, but it left me rather depressed and unsatisfied. It's the story of two lovers who are followed through a period of like 10 years. Erik is a bit of a sullen and insecure film-maker (who works with financial support of his father forever on one project); Paul a more world wise and intelligent lawyer who gets hooked on all kinds of drugs. While Paul slowly but deliberately glides away from his lover into his own drugs-filled universe, Erik desperately tries to hold on to what he sees as the love of his life. We see them love and bicker, parting and coming together again and endlessly talking to save the remains of their relationship, until finally (and understandably) Erik gives-up. The end.

Both actors (Thure Lindhardt as Erik and Zachary Booth as Paul) do a fine job and are convincing enough. And the script may not give us an optimistic point of view but it's authentic and painfully realistic. My biggest problem though was, that I couldn't feel sympathy for either of both men. Paul is aloof, egotistical and doesn't seem to have any empathy; of course you know that his personality is marred by the abuse, but still you want to smack him for treating Erik so bad. On the other hand Erik is extremely passive and lets Paul walk all over him again and again. One important scene illustrates this poignantly: Paul (who had disappeared for yet another long period) suddenly calls Erik up and invites him to a hotel room, where he (heavily influenced by drugs) receives him but at the same time has an escort come over and has sex with this guy, with Erik sitting miserably next to the bed.

It didn't help (at least not me), that both men aren't really good- looking, which all the more made me wonder what they saw in each other to begin with anyway.

To sum it up: definitely good performances but a depressing experience.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Good on the technical side but a boring story

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
29 August 2013

This film tells the turbulent love story of a filmmaker and a drug addict.

The storyline looks great on paper, but "Keep the Lights On" dos not manage to captivate our engage. The two leading characters are poorly developed, especially the drug addict as we don't see who they really are. We seldom see them outside their relationship, so their portrayal is so narrow and one dimensional. As a result, I don't find myself caring for them. Their dysfunctional interaction only annoys me. And there are too many unlikely plot details, I just don't understand how Erik could be allowed in the room while the boyfriend and another guy is having sex.

"Keep the Lights On" is well made, with great sets, lighting and scene composition. However the story is not engaging and I couldn't wait for it to end.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not enough story for the length of film

Author: euroGary from United Kingdom
3 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Keep the Lights On' tells how the romance between two men is damaged by the drug addiction of one of them. It has the feel of a short made for film school that's been stretched beyond reason to feature-length, featuring lots of conversations that contain little of substance, lead nowhere and resolve nothing. And the conceit it takes place over several years is betrayed by the characters having the same hairstyles and clothes (including underwear!) at the end of the film as they had at the beginning. Not even the younger of the two men (who looks very much like Mrs Sting, Trudie Styler) getting his bum out every twenty minutes or so could save this turkey, I'm afraid.

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

better than average, but not by much

Author: ekeby from wisconsin
30 July 2013

As others have pointed out here, there are good performances, and the Dogma-style cinematography gives us the feeling that we're seeing some serious fare. The story is not necessarily UNbelievable, but the motivation of the characters seems missing, and ultimately, that's what sinks the movie.

By missing motivation, I mean the love story itself. I saw the effects of the love story, but I felt like I never saw the actual love.

I saw nothing in Paul that would have really and truly held the interest of someone like Erik. I mean, really--are there any worldly gay men around who would not cut loose a crackhead attorney post haste? It's one thing for an artist like Rufus Wainwright to admit he was mainly attracted to straight heroin addicts. That's so f**ked up, it almost makes sense. But a European filmmaker obsessed with a white bread American lawyer?? Sorry. Not buying it.

That being said, there were some compelling scenes throughout. E.g., I was impressed with the hotel room scene, which felt real. And I'll admit, the movie held my interest enough that I wanted to see how it turned out. But the flaccid ending seemed consistent with everything preceding, making me feel a bit of a sucker.

Like I said. Better than average, but not by much.

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