Longtime Companion was one of the first mainstream films to follow the devastating effects of AIDS on the gay community in the 1980s. The plot follows a number of gay characters, happily getting on with their (sometimes hedonistic) lives, until they hear of other gay men succumbing, one by one, to a deadly disease termed as 'gay cancer' by the press.
The film continues over the years in a soap opera/documentary style, and deals with each issue so subtly and delicately, you are faced with a series of truly heartbreaking, realistically emotional scenes.
Bruce Davidson was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of an actor living with AIDS and the film was panned by some critics because it only focused on white 'middle class' men - ironically, exactly what it was supposed to do, in an attempt to shatter the 'it will never happen to us' syndrome.
Longtime Companion is a fantastic film that struck so many chords with me growing up as a gay teenager in what were terrifying and uncertain times. It highlighted the sensationalist, knee-jerk reaction of the media and brought home that this was not a gay disease, but a worldwide threat to everyone.
More than that, it also depicts how the fear and prejudice of society was turned around and challenged, leading to an empowered gay community who stood up for itself and refused to be ignored.
This film is a piece of gay history.