The Boys in the Band (2020) Poster

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cockezville1 October 2020
As a young gay man coming out before Stonewall, I saw the original movie and was blown away with the intensity and truth in this film. It was a pivotal movie that showed me the self hate that we all had during that time, and how that hate manifested in our relationships with self and others.

This revision of that film with a 2020 cast was every bit as powerful and poignant, with an excellent direction by Joe Mantelo. Thank God they did not try to modernize the film and kept the original 1968 time. Jim Parsons is just an amazing actor as is Zachary Quinto who captured Michal and Harold with intensity and focus. The whole cast was amazing.

In some ways the play has a certain dated feel but that does not distract it enhances. The Gay men's community has been a work in progress and Mark Crowley wrote this decades before liberation, AIDS, gay marriage, wrote this when being gay was a crime. Thank God we don't have to embrace the self loathing we did back then. This still is a difficult film for me to watch, very confronting, but definitely a gem of a production.Awards are waiting I am certain!
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Good cast, but low energy - no comparison to Friedkin's version!
johnbthomasiii8019 October 2020
I wanted to like this film. No, I lie. I was dying to LOVE this film. After all, I was only 6 when the original came out and saw it for the first time at 22 on VHS. It was a revelation to me -and hilarious - and a "Debbie Downer" because it made me realize I was an outcast. I've watched the original film at least once a year. I've bought it on VHS and on DVD. Then I heard that a cast of well knowns from my era (even if a bit younger) were a huge hit on Broadway with it and it was being made into a movie. Well, sign me up!

I watched it the night it premiered! After all, it was going to be the really great actors (both Broadway and TV and film) performing roles they knew inside and out. It was going to be better than I could imagine.

Imagine my disappointment. I waited. I did. I waited. I waited and waited for it to get better. It didn't. It was as flat as the lasagna.

There was no energy. Oh, Matt Bomer was more than fine - in fact, he was a bit to handsome for the part of Donald, but he delivered a good performance, if not one with enough energy.

Jim Parsons was a somnambulist, sleep walking through the most intricate of the characters - Michael. No energy in the first half and zippo in the last half - he really was not much more than Sheldon Cooper outed. Shrill.

And Charlie Carver as Cowboy, well, he was far too innocent and no at all streetwise. No comparison to Robert LaTourneaux.

No. I think the problem with this movie was timing...Don't get me wrong all the actors in the 2020 version had impeccable timing. It's just that a lot has happened in the 52 years since the play premiered. Stonewall had just happened back then. Now, it is taken for granted by most. Being gay was dangerous and illegal in 1968. Now it's largely legal as is gay marriage and consorting with other homosexuals is not dangerous nor a cause to be arrested.

Being gay is mundane today. There's no excitement (unless you enjoy having your blood pressure go up watching a Trump rally). Hell, gay is just one of the letters in the acronym that defines us. And no one is merely "gay" any more. They are bisexual, gender fluid, Asexual, Polyamorous, etc. It's all quite tedious to me.

But I suppose equal rights means equal boredom. Because none of these actors ever lived in the era (as adults) where same sex love was not only a sin but a crime, they just can't channel the internal emotion necessary to pass along the energy that the original does. And to give Friedkin and the editor of the original their due - the original feels more like a film than a filmed play.

Good job guys, but I'll stick with the original.
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good depiction of the struggle for self-acceptance and of friendship
e_k_cinephile1 October 2020
I'm sure some might find this film "outdated", too depressing and pessimistic. But it must be taken into consideration that it depicts gay life and identity in 60s. If it had depicted them from a very 21st-century point of view, it would probably have betrayed the authenticity of the period. Here, the characters are trying to come to terms with their identity, to find their place in a society that mostly rejects and bashes them, and remain a closed group of friends despite their personal differences. It touches upon issues like beauty, aging, depression, self-rejection, self-hatred,relationships (romantic and friendly), religion, race as they all relate to gay identity. Nine characters all representing different aspects of gay identity, when brought together, present a comprehensive and multi-faceted understanding of being a gay man in the 60s. The acting is good and the roles really fit the actors playing them. (Matt Bomer is such an eye candy, I wanna see him more in movies!!!) The dialogue of often witty and sassy. I must admit that while the overall sassiness was quite fun for the first half of the movie, in the second half, where things get pretty serious and dramatic, it felt a bit cruel. I have also seen the 1970 Friedkin version. What new elements does the 2020 one offer? It has scenes ourside Michael's house. The film opens with little scenes depicting each of the characters in their lives and contributing to character development from the start. During the phone call game, the film also has flashback scenes, which make the past memories somewhat more concrete. It also has a few sexually explicit scenes. Other than that, the story and dialogue are pretty much the same. Lastly, we must not expect all queer stories to tell empowering, optimistic stories. Yes, this film is very dark and depressing, but it is just another prespective on life and individual experience. No queer character represents or talks on behalf of the whole queer community, nor do the characters in this film. They mostly manage to feel real within themselves, which is more important.
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Thoroughly immersed in this
rkelliott-653-5506171 October 2020
Love how this was shot and it was extremely emotional. Beautifully acted and I loved some of the directing choices and music choices. Respect to all the 'boys' they were all fantastic.
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Evocative of a particular time period
montymonvieux30 September 2020
I read the screenplay which was published in book form decades ago-maybe in the mid-seventies-and recall finding it depressing.

Just finished watching this new Netflix film and must comment on the terrific casting and production-the clothing and set design were as "spot on" as possible, but more importantly the acting was superb. Each character was distinct and believable. The setting was close and intimate, but not claustrophobic. In revisiting this drama decades after first reading the screenplay, I would describe it as sad, rather than depressing.

Fortunately the LGBT community finds much more visibility and acceptance today. This production clearly depicts self-loathing, repression and invisibility felt by some in the sixties. A good period piece with some light moments, but still very sad.
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An incredible cast and an incredible script.
SnobReviews3 October 2020
Funny, compelling, and emotionally resonant; "The Boys In The Band" shines and continues to inspire tons of viewers fifty years later.

In this drama based on the award-winning play, a birthday party takes place in 1968 New York, when a surprise guest and a drunken game leave several gay friends reckoning with unspoken feelings and unknown secrets.

An A+ cast lead by an incredible performance from Jim Parsons really puts the icing on the cake. Mart Crowley's screenplay is sharp, evocative and draws you in from the start. I'm a huge fan of films that take place in one setting and feature a killer script. "The Boys In The Band" is that film. There's no chance you'll want to steer away because you'll want to know what happens next. Even though set in the 60s, everything is still relevant today. It's an excellent look at gay men and the struggles they face daily. I really loved this film.

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Cutting Dialogue
marshall-lambert3 October 2020
A bunch of queens together in 1968 is still the same as a bunch of queens together in 2020. Full of gin and regret.
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I don't think I got the point
michaelr-0721726 October 2020
While the actors were all very convincing in their roles, and the art direction was satisfying, I still don't think I got the point of this film. So, regrets and arguments abound amongst a group of gay friends, how is this the fodder of film? Maybe I just don't get "slice of life" scripts. It kind of left me feeling empty.
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A journey of "Happy-Fun-Comic" to "Dark-Sob-Drama" Birthday Party Ever
charanjeet15062 October 2020
How amazing it is that this story is basically about "What was it to be a Gay Man back in the 1968's" and it is still relavant to us in Year 2020. Coz, this talks about much more than that!!

Thank you Ryan Murphy!

Best Part: 1. The Ensamble cast: Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carvaer, Robin De Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Micheal B Washington, Tuc Watkins. All of them were fantastic.Everyone one got their respective shining moment in the film.

2. Dialogues: They were funny, mean, metaphorical, dramatic and what not! This is a dialogue driven film, and the dialogues keep you engaging.

3.Script, Screenplay and Narrative: The way you can see, how one hell of a "funny-happy-dancing" Birthday party gets turned into a "Dark-dramtic-realistic" aka one of the worst party ever....!!! This transition is amazing!

4. Authenticity: The overall look, costumes, art design, cinematography, everything was perfect.

5. Songs/Sound Tracks The songs during the film were so beautifully and smartly chosen and they just adds up to the flavor of overall narrative.

I wish the ending was more powerful.... but overall it was a great film. I could write a thesis on it lol

My Fav Scenes: 1. When Larry (Played by Andrew) pours his heart out during the calling game.

2. When Micheal (Played by Jim) brakes down in the end. 3. When Emory (Played by Robin) teaches everyone dance in the party

Summary: A journey of "Happy-Fun-Comic" to "Dark-Sob-Drama" Birthday Party Ever 9/10
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The Boys in the Band is so good it makes me want to watch the original play!
msbreviews1 October 2020
If you enjoy reading my Spoiler-Free reviews, please follow my blog :)

So, first and foremost, I didn't know a single thing about this film nor the play it's adapted from. As usual, I also didn't watch the trailer or any clip. Based purely on the cast and the synopsis, I actually expected a fun, lighthearted movie, where an important story about sexual orientation and homosexuality would definitely be developed. While I'm not entirely wrong on the last part, The Boys in the Band is far from being one of those Sunday afternoon's flicks people occasionally put on their TVs to entertain guests for a couple of hours.

It possesses two distinct halves. The first contains one of the most captivating introductions to the characters and the overall narrative I've seen this year so far. From the very start, Mart Crowley and Ned Martel's screenplay is packed with interesting conversations, and every actor is able to elevate their script by being incredibly realistic and spontaneous. Each character has a clear personality, and their relationships are cleverly established. It's definitely one of the best films of the year regarding character development since every single one is explored beyond just one or two lines of characterization. Technically, the one-location set always pleases me, and it works beautifully in the context of the movie since it never deviates the focus from the characters and their personal stories.

However, the second half couldn't take a more shocking turn. The once lighthearted tone drastically changes after Alan (Brian Hutchison) enters the party. An uneasy, uncomfortable atmosphere fills up the apartment, and it never leaves, not even after everything's over. It's an emotionally heavy, even tiresome story that takes every single character to their absolute limit. Secrets are revealed, omitted truths (those that everyone saves deep inside not to hurt their friends) come out, and alcohol plays a good part in all of this. Nevertheless, it's not really one of the film's central themes, even though there's a clear message regarding that subject as well.

Homosexuality (how it was and still is treated by society) is undoubtedly the narrative's primary topic, but I believe "sexual orientation" to be the ultimate theme in The Boys in the Band. In fact, an even more general analysis concludes that the main message follows the "accept who you are" and "don't be afraid or ashamed of what you enjoy" guidelines. Consequently, it becomes a more accessible movie since it never feels like it's closing itself, excluding people outside of the target audience. Everyone can (and should) enjoy the film's thematic component since the debates that characters have with each other are extremely meaningful for today's society.

The chaos that dominates the apartment feels surprisingly genuine and natural, creating a comparison with what occurs daily, everywhere in the whole wide world. The writers' treatment of homosexuality and sexual orientation is profound and really well-developed, exploring those phases that thousands of people go through: confidence, shame, uncertainty, acceptance, and so much more. Honestly, if someone feels uncomfortable while watching this movie, then someone must be wrong with that person. Yes, it deals with preconceived notions, sexual discrimination, and many other aspects related to this subject. However, in the end, it's not a film exclusively about homosexuality but about people accepting themselves for who they are without fear or shame.

The cast and the characters they portray are what make The Boys in the Band such a great movie. I can't go into details about everyone, otherwise, this review will never end, but I do have to mention a few. Zachary Quinto (Harold) portrays Jim Parsons' (Michael) frenemy and his weird, philosophical, enigmatic interpretation as the birthday boy steals the spotlight on several occasions. Brian Hutchison is incredible as Alan, the "ugly duck" of the whole situation, whose sexual orientation is questioned throughout the entire film. Hutchison does a great job of never leaving the viewer clearly see through him. Everyone else is terrific, but I offer a final shoutout to the hilarious Robin de Jesús (Emory) and the always fantastic Matt Bomer (Donald).

Jim Parsons delivers a performance that's on a whole other level, though. If he doesn't get awards buzz, I genuinely don't know what else an actor needs to do to achieve that. Just like the narrative's structure, Michael also has two distinct personalities, depending on the level of alcohol in his blood. When he's sober, Parsons shows that quirky side of him with his funny facial expressions. When he's drunk, he becomes verbally violent, aggressive to his friends, and a terrible host. He's the catalyst of the story, the engine of the whole movie. Without him, nothing happens. Parsons takes that responsibility and delivers a memorable performance, one of the very best 2020 has to offer.

As mentioned before, Crowley and Martel's screenplay is exceptionally well-written, possessing tremendously entertaining dialogues. I don't think I've ever watched an adaptation of a play that actually convinced me to want to watch the latter. However, it's precisely due to The Boys in the Band being a play-to-cinema adaptation that I have the following issue. The moments where a live audience is supposed to clap or repeat a catchphrase are way too obvious, taking me out of the film on those occasions because I feel like something's missing or a character is forced to "replace" the nonexistent public.

My other issue is related to Michael's game in the second half of the film. It pretty much occupies the last hour, and while it starts in an interesting, emotionally compelling manner, it gradually becomes monotonous and way too predictable. It becomes a tiresome cycle where everything that's supposed to happen, occurs without major surprises. Some unnecessary flashbacks also stretch the runtime, besides being the only moments where the viewer leaves the suspenseful, tense apartment, which I didn't really appreciate. In the end, two storylines are left open to interpretation, and I couldn't love these narrative decisions more. There's no right answer, only our own interpretations.

All in all, The Boys in the Band is one of the best play-to-film adaptations I've seen in quite some time. It actually convinced me to see the original version if I could, which is a statement to how much it impacted me. Yes, it's a movie that focuses on homosexuality and sexual orientation. However, it never feels exclusive to LGTBQ+ viewers, much on the contrary. It transmits a general message of acceptance and self-worth, something everyone can connect with. Mart Crowley and Ned Martel deliver a screenplay that treats its themes in an astonishingly genuine, meaningful, natural way, creating a clear analogy with not only the 60s but also today's society. Every conversation is fascinating and engaging. Characters debate essential subject matters that everyone should listen to and learn from. Regarding character development, Joe Mantello's film explores its characters more than any other 2020's flick so far. Every actor incorporates his role perfectly, but Jim Parsons deserves a few awards for his emotionally powerful display. Occasionally, the adjustment of moments where a live audience would interact doesn't quite work. The second half's game becomes repetitive and predictable, extending the runtime for a tad too long (also due to unnecessary flashbacks). The two ambiguous storylines that end the movie are the cherry on top of a really good cake, which I definitely recommend to everyone to take a bite. You'll undoubtedly get something out of it.

Rating: B+
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Absolutely LOVED this
zobooby2 October 2020
I had seen this play on Broadway with this cast and it was amazing, good acting and very memorable. Was excited to hear it was to be a movie so was happy when it was finally released Loved the movie version, too. Jim Parson's acting was incredible and loved all the casts' chemistry, especially Parsons and Bomer. Will be watching this again Is there a way there could be a sequel?
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jackgriffiths-297431 October 2020
I really enjoyed this film. If I'm honest it was my most anticipated film for September and let me tell you it was worth the wait. The film is split in 2 let's say with the first hour of build up and character inductions and right on the hour mark the real events finally begin and I laughed so hard, Emory is by far my favourite character and Hank came a close second. I love that the film tackled a number of things like depression, discrimination and the horrible truth of what it was like to be gay in the late 1960's. Jim parsons gives an outstanding performance as he always comes through but the acting that stood out for me was Zachery's, his presence filled each scene he was in and he really played this character so well from the body language, emotion and dialogue. The drama and comedy blend in so well together. I will absolutely return to this film over and over again.
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A Pale Imitation of the original
hampersnow-289054 October 2020
I had never seen the original 1970 version and decided to watch both in one afternoon. The original is a classic, much better then I ever thought it could be, with excellent performances. I thought this would be an updating , but like the original, the dialogue , place and time, plot, actions ( NYC late 1960s) are very much the same although this has been edited down. Unlike the original , which was engrossing , this contains none of the spark and fire of the original, performances that are for the most part, not as well done and cuts some dialogue to throw in some flashbacks, including nudity ,that add nothing. Did they feel they needed to add brief full frontal nudity to appeal to a 2020 audience ? Jim Parsons does not give the outstanding performance in the lead that Kenneth Nelson did in the original. Even worse, how did so many of these characters , that came across as real people in the 1970 version become more flamboyant stereotypes in this updated version ?? Is this some type of progress ? I found nothing offensive about the 1970 version having grown up in NY at that time. This film in no way captured the time and the actors just came across as actors acting. Only Tuc Watkins and Brian Hutchinson were as good or better then their 1970 counterparts. If you have to see only one version , see the 1970. Some movies do not need to be remade.
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Fine Until You Forget About It a Day Later
sweidman-2801620 October 2020
"There's a nothing quite like feeling sorry for yourself."

Even with the stellar setup, The Boys in the Band misses a mark. I expected something but got a different story instead. The movie has an all-star cast with great performances, with the exception of two a little too over-the-top actors, and a story that should be a good time. What comes is strange tonal shifts and not enough emotion to care as much as we should. The experience of watching is fine but what follows is a mainly forgettable movie.
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Nice actors, no chemistry
nycruise-12 October 2020
I really looked forward to watching this so-named "remake". Kudos for the production team trying to re-capture the pre-Stonewall atmosphere of the play. Unfortunately, the actors - and ultimately the director - are all victims of the current age where we gay men feel "comfortable" in our homosexual skins. There was not tension, no notion that the party as well as Michael's apartment was a space where the boys/"girls" could "let their hair down" due to oppressive mainstream attitudes about being gay. Furthermore, what was also lacking was - and I say this as a gay man who was in his prime during the 80s before the current LGBTQ "openness" was in full-swing - a sense of "competition", where gay men were always trying to "out-clever" one another with swipes at their identities. In this age of "Everyone needs to feel safe", gay men have abandoned - for better or worse - that self-deprecating attitude that united us back then. Yes - it's good that we don't embrace that attitude anymore - but it's deadly when you're trying to revive a gay play - in fact THE gay play - from the past/pre-Stonewall era.
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And the point is?
aldiboronti30 September 2020
The Boys in the Band, 1970, directed by the great William Friedkin and with a matchless cast is one of the greatest films ever made about gays. This version is an exact shot-by-shot remake with a less-talented director and a cast which, while doing their utmost, cannot match up to the original cast. My question is, just as with Gus van Sant's remake of Psycho, who on earth would watch a reproduction when the real thing is readily available? Do yourself a favor, go see the classic original not the copy.
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Why a shot for shot of the original film. I was hoping they would have filmed the stage production instead. At least it would be a different version.
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Who knows?
gsygsy1 October 2020
Perfectly cast and well acted film of a stagey stage-play. It's been opened out a little here and there, but since its claustrophobia is part of its power, I don't know that letting us out of the New York apartment in which it takes place is particularly helpful.

The play has historical significance, in that author Mart Crowley aimed at and succeeded in capturing the self-loathing of a then despised part of the American population. It was particularly galling that the gay community of New York City was treated with contempt at the time, given the central role it played in much for which the city was admired and famous for throughout the world. Within a year of the first production, the worm turned at the Stonewall Inn. The Boys in the Band is what life was like in New York before Out and Proud became an option. Twenty years later, the wider population, led by the American government, turned its collective back on gay people to devastating effect, casting the community adrift to face the AIDS crisis. That period's chronicler was Larry Kramer. who died just a couple of months after Mart Crowley in this year of pandemic, 2020.

So much for the historical gap. That between Crowley and Kramer as writers is largely one of dramatic self-restraint. Kramer had no talent for it, whereas Crowley seems trapped by it. THE NORMAL HEART is a prolonged howl of pain and anger, while THE BOYS IN THE BAND, its one moment of violence aside, is dedicated to sharp stiletto stabs. So many, that the overall trauma endured by this group of birthday party guests is submerged by slow-death melodrama.

The playscript, then, its truths notwithstanding, is creaky. That was just as true when the film with the original, off-Broadway cast was made in 1970 as it is here, with its 50th anniversary revival cast. What we do get, because all these actors know these roles inside out, is a detail and depth in performance that most Hollywood films never achieve, because film actors get so little chance to rehearse. But look here at Matt Bomer, in the under-written part of Donald, listening to everything being said with the attention of someone who is really in the room. Same with Michael Benjamin Washington, who is nuanced and truthful in another of the less flashy roles. Which is not to undersell those whose lines do flash: Jim Parsons, Robin de Jesús, and Zachary Quinto are all excellent, as are Andrew Rannells, Tuc Watkins, Brian Hutchison and Charlie Carver. Joe Mantello, no mean actor himself, directs what was undoubtedly a first-rate theatre production, but as a film it primarily has historical value, just as had producer Ryan Murphy's parallel project of THE NORMAL HEART. Historical, but not irrelevant.

I write this when to be gay in certain countries in the world carries the risk of a death sentence. In Poland, the rights of gay people are increasingly curtailed as the government finds it useful to find scapegoats. As is the case in Russia, too. I write this before the Supreme Court in the USA is likely to face a new direction. The battles may well have to start anew, and yesterday's historical document may need to become tomorrow's manifesto.
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thtpc230 September 2020
A pure piece of art. I laughed, I cried and cried and cried some more. Love it!
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A (poor) shadow of the original
mcbrion2 October 2020
As mediocre as it gets. Wow, they should have left well enough alone. Those who think this is "good acting" need to understand the difference between acting and mimicry. Jim Parsons barely transcends the character he plays in "The Big Bang," including his vocal intonations. It sounds like Sheldon - and that's no compliment. He barely has any change in intonation or volume in the entire play.

Enjoy it, especially if you're under 35, but don't confuse this with great acting or the reality of the original film, which was explosive when it came out. It's not a failure, it's just a scene the lines. Don't "BE" them, which is the essence of acting. As for those who deem it depressive, it was an accurate representation of the psyche of many gay men of the time: self-loathing. And there's still plenty of that these days, sadly. I'm listening to it, as I type, and even without seeing the expressions of the actors, it sounds bloodless, as in "devoid of LIFE." Everyone except Quinto is a caricature of a real actor. Or even more, a real PERSON. This is nothing more than a rehearsal reading. They should have left well enough alone...
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Overacted to the Nth degree
qui_j2 October 2020
This was disappointingly done. They might as well have positioned the cameras around the stage of a Broadway theater since it's like a made video of a stage play. The overacting by Jim Parsons is excruciating to watch, almost like Sheldon in "The Big Bang Theory". That characterization fits that series, but just doesn't work here! I guess the writers wanted this to be true to the play hence the length of the movie. This theme might have been relevant 50 years ago but somehow has lost much of its impact.
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very homolytical, edible for everyone
ops-5253530 September 2020
I'm not into lgbtq+ stuff, i'm straight as a castrated cat, but viewing these kinds of films does weird things to me and the big question in the end, in a world of genderistic liberalism and a quick shift from gay to bi wont cost you a penny, is... why am i not gay???

well that was an existential sigh from a grumpy old man, but there are some very good gay feature movies that everyone either lgbtq+ or not should see in a life time, the most teardripping is'' torch song triology'' and , yes , the boys in the band is a good succesor. its clearly a theater stage play that has been adopted into a feature lenght movie, by netflix and others. its a good , allthough a bit slow on plotspeed, film that happens in 1960's new york, where gay and lesbians where treated as criminals, and the lock on the closet had not been oiled for years, so to many a life as gay was and still is a well hidden secret. this film shows you the archtypes of typical gays as people usually thinks they are.its almost like the 7 deadly sins, each and everyone has their own segments, but they are all sinners according to the laws and religion in this era of history.

its a 99% one location movie, it cant have cost alot to make, and the production do not share great extravaganza . but the caracters goes deep and youre feeling extremely sorry for everyone either you will or not. it has its funny moments too, and the comments and dialouges are good. and its enhanced by a cast of rather good looking male actors, that knows their proffesion very well.the choice of score are smitten by dark bourgeoistic cloaked jazzclubs environment, and its music every aging citizen will recognize

there are a lot that i would like to analyze and enhance in this review, but my limitation of birthlanguage do stop me from doing that in english, but one thing the grumpy old man thinks, its a recommend for sure...
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jeanette_fjeldheim30 September 2020
Well played! Great performances by the actors. Luckily we've come far from 1968 when it comes to LGBT rights and how we see gay people and how they see themselves. Or have we? It's a funny movie, but first and foremost It's sad and it makes you think.
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Dunnarunna17 October 2020
A tough watch, but compelling. Jim Parsons and the rest of the cast are brilliant.
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Boys In The Bland
tennavision5 October 2020
Shockingly bad. Like a first time table reading. Zero chemistry . Friedkin not at the helm directing , actors seem lost. Im still puzzled as to why it was even remade. I gave it 2 stars because they used Herb Alpert's "this Guy's in Love With You". This remake just lays there , all dressed up and no place to go. Oh Mary.. dont ask..
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