Review of Eighteen

Eighteen (2005)
EIGHTEEN: The Masterpiece
31 August 2006
I'm a 55-year-old fairly jaded gay white man. Since I don't watch TV, I watch at least 250 films a year, most on DVD. I keep notes on all the films I see and rate them. Since December 2003, I have seen only five films as great as EIGHTEEN. So, I've rated EIGHTEEN better than at least 700 other recent films. Mr. Bell is far too modest in his film commentary. EIGHTEEN is a Great Film. And, it also resulted in two "firsts" for me.

I watched the film, the first time, and I was riveted throughout and weepy during the last half hour, something that's only happened to me three times before. (Five minutes into the film I knew it was going to be very good.) When Jason began reciting Whitman, I lost it, and then... The Kiss. Well, that is one of Film's great kisses, and that scene among Filmdom's most poignant and unforgettable. When Pip blows out the candle at the end and the credits rolled, I clapped. I cheered. I love happy endings. I wept.

Then I watched the trailer and the TLA previews and thought, "Okay, is this $800,000 or so Indie really that Great?" So, I immediately watched EIGHTEEN again, something that's only happened three times before. And, EIGHTEEN blew my socks off yet again, even more so. Then I watched "The Making of EIGHTEEN" documentary and was completely charmed by the cast and Mr. Bell.

So, I thought I'd watch EIGHTEEN again with the Director's Commentary. I have never before watched a film three times in one night. After the third time, at 3:00 AM, I knew I had just experienced a Great Film; EIGHTEEN now ranks #10 on my Top Twenty Films of all time. And, in the very small universe of great gay or gay-subtext film, there is Brokeback Mountain, EIGHTEEN, Mulholland Drive, and Maurice.

Thank you Mr. Bell! EIGHTEEN is brilliant and fully-realized, with a magnificent cast, a wonderfully moving, understated score, excellent cinematography, an entertaining, touching, totally appropriate and hummable song. I can go on, but I won't gush too much more.

This film should have received Oscar nominations, certainly one for Best Picture. The performances, without exception, were all wonderful. Ms. Gill's lovely, sultry voice was a surprising epiphany. And Sir Ian McKellen? 'Nuf said. Awesome.

EIGHTEEN is the reason I slog through over 200 mediocre to utterly horrendous films (some in the $150 million plus range) a year, to find that one treasure, that one exquisite, magical, unique and enchanting, perfect "Faberge egg" enfolding an unforgettable heart.

Finally (I promise), my second "first" -- I've never before posted a commentary on any film I've seen.

Thank you again, Mr. Richard Bell! Breathtaking genius. Give this man $100 million for his next film! He made $700,000 US into one of the top 50 films of all time. If I had the cash, I'd grant him $75,000 a year living expenses and match any funds raised for his next film. Mr. Bell is already a great director at 31-years old. Can you imagine him at 45-years old?

Wise and witty, tender and brutal, poised, poignant, understated yet edgy, chilling and thrilling, mesmerizing, haunting, unforgettable: EIGHTEEN, THE MASTERPIECE.
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