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Never Again (2001)
This movie is touching.
First off. I would like to state I have never written a review in my life, let alone, one for IMDb. I watched this movie and felt so strongly that it needed a fair review on this site. There will be no major spoilers.
The movie centers on Christopher and Grace. Both of whom are in their early fifties and love lorn, even though they won't admit it. Through a series of strange events (Chris's botched attempt to have a new sexual experience, to Grace's attempt to blind date) bringing both together at a gay bar.
What's great about the film is the writing, first and foremost. Some may be put off by it's candidness. Some may also find it heartless at who it pokes fun at. I can assure you that the writer/director Eric Schaeffer gives everyone a chance to be the butt end of a joke. His characters tend to have imperfect qualities. Especially his lead male characters (i.e. Starved or Mind the Gap). He gives such respect to the sexuality of an older man and woman that has never been represented in Hollywood. They are portrayed as sexual, feeling creatures. He shows them as human beings looking for love and tenderness. Not just the typical older man/woman who can't let go of their ex or their kid who went off to college and that's what their life is about. The forever the parent without an identity of their own. These people go on with their life... like real people do. Outside of the writer/director are the performers. The characters are given direct, BS free dialogue. They are very open at any given moment to asking for what they want from each other. Which what I'd imagine ones demeanor to be when reaching their age. This especially comes out when dealing with their sexuality. Jeffrey Tambors portrayal as a disaffected bachelor is a quiet, sweet performance, but one that also has these moments of assertive strength that you are not used to seeing out of him as an actor. He's usually used as a goof or some weaselly character. As a lead, the man shines. Jill Clayburgh is wonderful as Grace, the spurned, icy divorcée that is ready to open up and love again. There is not much I know of her work, but her willingness to give herself to the role is something you don't expect on face value. Bill Duke is absolutely great in this film as Chris best friend and music partner. He there to give Chris' levity and does so in a very endearing way. While the rest of cast does a fine job, the last person that really stood out was Micheal McKean . I won't spoil where and how he shows up, but let's just say it's twelve hours since I watched it and my ribs still feel a little sore from laughing.
The movie is sad. The movie is funny. The movie is touching. Is the movie sappy? Yes. But not in the way you'd expect. The movie has this Hollywood like ending but is justified because it's completely with the realm of the characters, and not forced. The movie makes you believe that getting older doesn't preclude the loss of desire and sexuality. Everyone should watch this movie. Teenagers, adults, senior citizens, they should all watch to see that being older doesn't mean your dead from the waist down.