Paul, a handsome and talented music student is employed as the page-turner at one of the world famous pianist Kennington's concerts in San Francisco. Not only is Paul diligent but also extremely attractive, a fact noticed by Kennington and his agent Mansourian, two men at the top of their chosen careers. Kennington and Paul meet again in Barcelona, where the boy is on holiday with his mother, Pamela, who is trying to get over her husband leaving her. Paul and Kennington fall in love but this has very different implications for both men. Kennington rushes back home escaping from commitment. Pamela, meanwhile, begins to recover her self-confidence but Paul is no longer a child. Back in the United States Paul learns that his musical career is not going to progress as desired; he simply is not talented enough. Paul and Pamela will learn through their living experience how to build a deeper relationship.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I wanted so much to like this film, and I tried very hard to do so. But it is so inept, and has so many flaws, it is hard to know where to begin.
The basic story is simple enough: piano student Paul is seduced by and falls in love with his idol, fortyish concert pianist Richard; he gets dumped inexplicably and spends the rest of the film trying to make sense of it. But add these extra ingredients -- Paul's neurotic mother also falling for the pianist, Richard's lover/manager seducing Paul while the boy is being kept by yet another older man -- and you have a rather heady Freudian stew, indeed.
What these noxious, self-absorbed characters have in common, keeping the handsome 18-year-old confused and depressed, is their duplicity. Nobody tells Paul the truth, rendering him unable to make a decision in his own interest. His beauty makes him desirable. His ingenuous nature makes him an easy mark.
The dialogue is oddly disjointed though lifted directly from David Leavitt's well-written novel, The Page Turner. For some reason, about half of Mr. Leavitt's lines have been deleted, making those that remain a crazy-quilt of non-sequiturs. Adding to the confusion are British actors playing American refracted through the eyes and ears of a Spanish director. Then there are the Spanish actors who have learned their lines phonetically, wildly inflecting words incorrectly. Finally, a classical music consultant could have insured the proper pronunciation of composers' names, or pointed out that most of the pieces Paul plays are embarrassingly inappropriate.
What the film does do well is to depict the haute-gay classical music demi-monde of New York, and the predatory older men who rule from lofty Central Park West enclaves. This exclusive oligarchy devours the seemingly unlimited supply of hopeful young artists, like Paul, who want to succeed but cannot due to inexperience and inaptitude for the game. A 'civilized' veneer covers, but never quite hides, the self-serving artistic Darwinism.
Exquisite Kevin Bishop, who plays Paul so perfectly, is a real find. He has a low-key style, lovely body, and astonishing blue eyes. Barcelona is exotic, the photography is beautiful, and the original score is well done, but the DVD itself has problems. The dialogue is somewhat out of sync, is overly loud in some places (mainly due to Juliet Stevenson's histrionics), and nearly inaudible in others.
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