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Kent S. Leung,
Lewis is a closeted gay man throwing a bachelor party for his straight best friend and secret crush, Cooper. After a night of drunken sex together, the two men decide to meet in the same hotel suite on the same night each year to hook up and catch up. Over the course of twelve years, we see four additional nights that depict how the two men grow and how their friendship changes. Written by
Sadness, heartbreak & regret permeates "The Last Straight Man"
A very involving film from filmmaker Mark Bessenger, "The Last Man" standing is a therapeutic treat for anyone who's been involved in truncated relationships. From the outset, both leading men are aware of their feelings for one another. Lewis (Mark Cirillo) is a closeted man throwing a bachelor party for his straight best friend and secret crush, Cooper (Scott Sell). However, they also realize their relationship is doomed due to to the marital circumstance surrounding Cooper. Emotions run high as both men agree to schedule a yearly one night stand reprieve from the grind of life. During this interlude they are both allowed to ask three intimate questions to be answered as truthfully and as authentically as possible. That opportunity allows both lead characters to exchange confessions on their true feelings in addition to giving each other the needed updates they crave just to see where their relationship stands. You would think that Lewis is unilaterally suffering through the bulk of heartache this unrequited love situation is generating. However, much suffering is to be had by Cooper who is torn between his family and his real belated love found for Lewis. This is the type of love that has grown so out of bounds, Cooper does not know how to deal with his emotions.
The beauty of this film lies in what is not said. Both Lewis and Cooper are deeply in love and their non verbal exchange speaks volumes. Their jokes fall flat whenever they come close to addressing their real feelings forcing one or both to change the subject.
"May your hair never fall, your dick always rise and your kids never call your brother-in-law daddy" is only one of the many witty dialogue shared by both Cooper and Lewis in what may seem at times to be funny banter translate into the men trying their hardest to convey their deepest sentiments. Their language, muddled by the restrictive code of silence men as a species have been known to observe in order to preserved the stereotypical macho front, is made to cover any an all possible honest feelings that may withdraw true emotion leading to a defensiveness that would expose and possibly lead to the outpouring of one's authentic self.
In the form of a visual collage, the film skips to several progressive life events as both men evolve with the passage of time. As the men age w life experience, so does their love, affection and understanding of each other, which only seems to grow stronger with time, until Lewis realizes that at some point he has to be the better man and do the right thing for the benefit of Cooper's family. Such selflessness is what makes Lewis a likable character. He's always the reasonable one, where Cooper just wants to take their opportunity to let loose, and be who he really is. During their exchange of emotion in the bedroom, you can't help but to feel the plight and internal struggle they both face, but it is Lewis, who most of the times seems to be relegated to make the difficult choices.
Production values are satisfactory for this digital production. However, at times misplaced music becomes distracting in some very key moments that demand full attention for the words being exchanged between the two leads. Performances are courageous and engaging as both actors flawlessly perform with due diligence even during scenes of pervasive nudity and very explicit sexual situations. Kudos to Mark Cirillo & Scott Sell who create admirable performances, and also for their bravery in choosing to stay true to the story with some very demanding and at times difficult moments both leading men share as they emote during their intimacy.
"The Last Straight Man" is a delight of a film, with an involved story that will leave you pondering on many underlying themes dealing with the way men express themselves and treat each other, and how not knowing to express true feelings can have long term and irreversible consequences on a life that should have been with the one.
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