Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

21 January 2012

Weekend

I really liked Andrew Haigh's Weekend – I had read other gay internet commentators say that they loved it and so I definitely wanted to check it out.


Weekend is a realistic relationship movie about two gay men who begin an intense love affair that lasts over the period of a few days. It captures so much of the way I understand my interactions with other gay men, and for my money it portrays these men in a realistic, generous, and fleshed-out way, that struck me as honest.

I didn't quite love the film. I thought it conventional in many ways, but I really enjoyed it, and I liked it a great deal. Weekend is a film that believes in love, in the ability of people to truly connect in a very short span of time, and in the power of honest, open communication. Weekend believes in love, though, not in a rom-com kind of way where we know what will happen at the end of the film and the heroes (in this case) kiss sweetly and walk into the sunset as the credits roll. Instead, Haigh's movie manages to understand baggage and the sacrifices we make for those we love, and the complications that real life places upon the notion of love conquering everything. Love does not conquer all in Weekend, and that's because it doesn't always conquer all in our real lives.

One thing that I completely loved about Weekend is its camerawork. When the two men are in public together, chatting or riding the bumper cars or on the tube, Haigh shoots them from the perspective of other people in the public place. Frequently our view of the two is slightly obstructed. Sometimes we only slightly hear what they say to one another. The effect, here, is one that communicates that these two men are always being watched. What I love about this is that gay relationships that move in the public sphere are always spectacular relationships. The men are literally always being watched by the camera, and when they are in public, they know (and we know, too) that they need to watch themselves because other people are watching them. This double watching is simply a fact of gay relationships (both male and female) and it factors into the way that these men fall in love. How can it not? Their behavior with each other is constrained by the fact that they are in public and people are watching them. It is a bold and fascinating choice for the director to make, and I appreciated it.

At any rate: it's totally worth seeing if you're a gay man. If you're not... you probably won't be into it.