Holding the Man
Will you go 'round with me?
Cinema Nova - Tuesday 1 September 2015, 6:30pm
Running time: 128m
Classification: MA15+ (Strong sex scenes and nudity)
Release date: 27/08/15
Cost: $0 (AFI member screening)
Rating: 8/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4.5/5)
When theatre geek Timothy (Ryan Corr) meets football player John (Craig Stott) at an elite Melbourne Catholic school in the 1970s, they form a lifelong bond. As the friends become lovers they face resentment and discrimination from their families, school friends and society in general. Based on the 1995 memoirs of Timothy Conigrave, Holding the Man is a tale of love and loss in the time of AIDS. When the book first appeared in the mid 90s (soon after the death of its writer) it provided a deep insight into challenges of being in an openly gay relationship during the 70s and 80s and how AIDS challenged the world to be more understanding and compassionate of others regardless of their sexual orientation. Thing have changed significantly since then but the film is as relevant now as they book was then.
The performances are good as the actors bring an interesting mix of humour and hope to a story that is essentially tragic. Suspend your disbelief as the leads portray their characters as teens in the 1970s with mixed success; they look too old and the hideous wigs are more a distraction than anything, but try to get past this and enjoy the character development. Guy Pearce seems a strange choice as Timothy's father and doesn't seem to fit, while Anthony LaPaglia brings his brooding best as John's devoutly Catholic father. Jumping around with the chronology provides some interest to the story but it never strays too far from where it is ultimately heading. While it is a story of the loved shared by two people, it is also a complex tale of fear, guilt and a sad indictment on a society that wasn't prepared to respond to AIDS. (ME)
5th AACTA Award